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Student story

Daniel Shaskey

20 July 2023

"I spend a lot of time making work, from printing and binding publications to creating animations..."


Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

“I am a creative person at heart and I have always wanted to make something of my skills,” Daniel says about studying Graphic Design. “I’ve been interested in art and design from a very young age and always knew I would seek a lifestyle down this path. I originally intended to study Painting but found that I have a real passion for Graphic Design, and struggle to see how I could have fit any other discipline better.”

Word from his high school art teachers encouraged him to study his Fine Arts degree with UC, receiving a UC Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship for his NCEA results.

“I already knew that Ilam had a really good studio structure and reputation. Once I saw the School for myself I knew I had to come here, I was blown away by the facilities and the work that I saw being produced by other students.

“The close studio structure is really important. The biggest studios only have about ten students in each year group, so everyone is able to get really close and bounce ideas off each other. This can make for a really productive environment.”

Staying on campus in his first year with Ilam Apartments was especially useful to get as much time in the studio as possible.

“This was an interesting experience, allowing for personal space while still giving a valuable sense of community. Being so close to campus was really helpful for getting involved with clubs and School of Fine Arts openings. Ilam Apartments was also really good to get to know some fellow students and find people to flat with in my second and third years. Staying on campus was one of the best decisions I have made.”

The majority of Daniel’s study is spent in the studio, preparing works with research, and producing a range of different design materials.

“As the year draws to a close I spend a lot of time making work, often designing and producing things through a bunch of processes, from printing and binding publications to creating animations and experimenting with modes of displaying them. I can get very engaged in the process of making things.

“I love that I have the chance to make something real, not hypothetical projects, but ones that can exist inside and outside of the studio environment. This is so valuable for taking the skills I am learning and using them in the real world.”

Daniel is also completing an internship with Ilam Press, a publishing house operating on campus that have printed a number of award-winning publications.

“I have found this challenging but useful. It has allowed me to showcase my work in the real world and make connections to other institutions, such as the Christchurch Art Gallery. I would recommend doing an internship if you know it is something that will be of benefit to the rest of your degree, or your future,” he says.

Another opportunity for his studies has been through SKUB (UC fine arts club) where he was Vice-President in 2017.

“SKUB in particular is really important because of the community it creates in fine arts. Something that translates well into the actual arts community.”

Taking these opportunities is something he advises other Fine Arts students make the most of to better support their degree.

“Keep an open mind, be critical and get involved as much as you can, both inside the School and out in the arts community. This is really important to building a practice that will succeed once you leave the School. Also, make the most of the facilities and lecturers’ knowledge, they are amazing!”

Meanwhile, Daniel also enjoys spending time in the outdoors snowboarding and hiking in the South Island, and practising freelance photography.

“I try to intermingle these interests with my studies as much as I can. Letting my interests influence my practice and my practice influence my interests.”

This goal leads towards establishing his own style and future graphic design career plans.

“I would love to get some more experience and build on my existing practice. Eventually, I would like to set up an independent publishing studio, either here in Christchurch or overseas.”

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