We caught up with Rhiannon Jackson, a local artist and art tutor in the Waikato. With a passion towards the arts and teaching toddlers through to adults, she is also making her way into the field of art therapy.
We asked her a few questions and found out a little bit about her…
How old were you when you realised you had a passion for the arts?
“I have always had a creative flair from as young as I can remember. My most vivid memories of diving into the world of creativity would be roughly at the age of 10. This is where my creativity seed started to grow. This continued into my high school years right up until I took my passion further, going to study with Visuals Arts as my qualification. However never taking art as a subject at school, it was always something I did during my days and spare time, continuing to self teach, practice and experiment with the equipment and knowledge I had.”
What has been one of your stand out experiences so far?
“Stand out experiences, well that can go hand in hand. I have had a lot of proud moments within my personal art practice and also teaching art to students. One of my proud moments would be seeing all my art work hung up on the gallery wall after a long year of painting. Seeing all the love and hard work I had put into the paintings to finally see come together, seeing what it is I was feeling deep within and expressing that on a canvas throughout the year. Being recognised by my art, well that’s always a good encouragement and positive booster.
Proud moments with my classes – having a little boy who had a physical disability, who, when arrived at the beginning of the term couldn’t hold a pencil. To then fast-forward to the end of the term was able to hold a pencil, write his name name and control the tools and create gorgeous art. It’s little moments like these that make me know that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
When you are tutoring, what would be 3 things you would want your students to take away from your classes?
“There are many different things I try to get my students to take on. 3 main things I would want my students to remember most importantly are:
- Explore – keep experimenting with tools/mediums, new ways you can do things, exploring techniques, styles and colours.
- Keeping at it – Though you may feel defeated, now remember that there is no such thing as “mistakes” in art. All things are as you say “happy accidents”. Learn from what you have made, and learn how to use your “muck ups” to your advantage. As someone once said to me “do not throw out your art, whether you believe it’s good or not, keep it until one day you can look back and just see how far you’ve developed and grown”.
- Have fun – Don’t worry about whether people are going to like your art or not. There are a million of different art styles and people out their, someone will bound to appreciate it. At the end of the day, it is your own creation which is something very special. If it brings you joy then keep at it. For some of the most famous art work in the world today didn’t have people during the time of the artists life that took much interested or appreciate the artist work. It wasn’t until sometime after that the art work was able to help ripple people’s curiosities/emotions towards the art work and inspire people around”
If you could meet any visual artist, who would it be?
- “Salvador Dali – Very much love the surrealism and quirkiness in his artwork and personal life. I have taken that inspiration in the past with some of my artwork. I love how “strange” he was to the public and how free thinking/exploring his art work is. (I actually have named my blue tongue lizard “Dali” after him).
- Vincent Van Gogh – Maybe a bit cliche, but like most people, Van Gogh was probably one of the first artist I become familiar with. I love to teach about him and his work within my class. What I love about his work is the life within it. The movements he created with the techniques he used, and of course the bright beautiful colours, where he very much emphasises on the important colours/subjects within his work. But most inspirational is how he thrived on pushing through with his art within his struggling life, very much a beautiful tragedy.
- Seraphine Pick – A New Zealand artist, which I would love to meet and have a cuppa with. Her beautiful bright work has taken my interest and I have looked up to her and have been inspired by her work for some years. I love the sceneries she creates with the main focus of nature/figures in her work, along with leaving a curiosity about a story behind it. I have loved her work since I first stumbled upon it and will keep being inspired by the colours and style itself.”
Helping to raise awareness and show her support for art therapy, Rhiannon will be running the ASB Auckland Marathon, not only to support mental illness, which the event itself focuses on, but to personally raise money and awareness about art therapy for mental health.
“Arts For Health, is a centre located in Hamilton that strive to connect with people and helping to make a positive impact on their lives. With solely relaying on funds through the community, it’s amazing that this centre has been running for the past 32 years. By committing myself to a run of 42 kms, I aim to show people that we are all faced with mental challenges in life and with support such as Arts For Health, we can help express some of those challenges through creativity.
With such a sprint to make, I aim to raise as much as I can. In asking for your kind support, we can help this centre continue to grow and serve our community. Every donation made helps!”
Support Rhiannon’s run to raise awareness for art therapy, head along to the Givealittle page below.