Aaron Kong

'I feel that these experiences are integral to understanding how Arts works in a wider context...'

  • Aaron Kong

Studying towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture

As an aspiring sculptural artist, Aaron has already made big steps towards his practice through degree studies.

Aaron found his calling during high school, where he received excellent results and scholarships in art design and sculpture. Wanting to continue his passion onto a creative career drew Aaron from Wellington to the Ilam School of Fine Arts at UC.

‘It felt natural to continue on with an art practice and education,’ he says. ‘I personally value creative and critical thinking which I feel is encompassed in doing a BFA.’

Aaron was especially drawn to UC’s programme because of the opportunity to specialise in a particular field of Fine Arts.

‘It was a major selling point as Sculpture was the one discipline I felt most passionate about. Being able to focus on a singular discipline has allowed me to hone in on what makes the discipline so special, as well as push against the conventions that form our understanding of them. I have been able to set up my own area of conceptual interest to engage with, researching and producing a body of work that relates to the key concepts that I’ve chosen to undertake.

‘I also liked that the lecturers were all practising artists, meaning that they were able to share their own expertise on any concerns we might have on a particular discipline.’

The degree has also allowed Aaron to explore the other studio disciplines to diversify and enhance his Sculpture practice. He was awarded a Bickerton-Widdowson Trust Memorial Scholarship for his second-year project works.

‘Since undertaking a BFA I found that there is a lot of room for experimentation,’ he says. ‘I had various opportunities to explore other mediums like Moving Image and was able to utilise the different facilities Ilam has to offer.’

Other unique opportunities the degree has offered include visits to galleries and art studios off campus, which gives students ‘a way of engaging with the wider arts community’ and other art practices. Aaron recommends exploring these before even starting BFA studies.

‘I feel that these experiences are integral to understanding how Arts works in a wider context beyond art school and where the degree can lead us. Christchurch has a great art scene, with tons of galleries and art openings in the city there’s always something on.’

On-campus events with SKUB, the School of Fine Arts club, has also allowed Aaron to be involved with other local artists.

Having a tight-knit Fine Arts community at UC has been one of the better parts of his degree studies, and Aaron recounts how the studio spaces allowed him to work closely with our BFA students and keep productivity and creativity at the forefront throughout project and research work.

He is also an active member of QCanterbury, a student club that promotes positivity and awareness of the LGBTQI community at UC.

‘The events they hold are a really great way to meet others within the queer community. QCanterbury also holds a lot of seminars on LBGTQI issues which is a great way to educate yourself on these issues and provides a safe space for discussion,’ he says.

Aaron intends to keep on with UC through the Fine Arts honours programme after finishing his degree, and further develop his knowledge and technique for Sculpture.

‘I feel that the skills I’m gaining from doing a BFA are transferable in being able to think critically and outside the box, preparing myself for something within the Creative Industry.’

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