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Our 'Emergent' graduates go on to do amazing things! We caught up with 'Emergent 2018' graduate Betty Gu to learn what she's up to now, and her advice for our current 'Emergent' cohort!

Emergent is our annual showcase of artworks from talented local VCE art & design students, and our 2019 exhibition is shaping up to be another amazing success! Ahead of the opening in the Studio on Saturday 29 February, we chatted with one of our alumni from Emergent 2018, Betty Gu, to hear what she's been up to in the past year, and hear her advice for the students involved in the latest Emergent exhibition!

Don't miss 'Emergent 2019' in the Studio from Saturday 29 February to Sunday 15 March!

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Betty and I graduated from Gleneagles Secondary College in 2018. I completed 6 VCE subjects—they were English, Information Technology, Further Maths, Chinese SLA and two folio subjects Studio Art and Visual Communication and Design.

You were both a co-curator during your Year 11 studies and featured in Emergent 2018 when you graduated Year 12. Can you tell us about your experience of both?

Being a co-curator during Year 11 was a whole new experience for me. I was able to be involved in the preparation process for Emergent 2017 with the amazing selection panel of Bunjil Place. I loved the part when we got to sit down and see all the artworks created by local VCE students and reading their rationales. It was so inspiring to see how my peers have taken so many creative approaches to delve with interesting themes. I was so excited when I knew my work had been selected into Emergent 2018! It definitely made me so proud when I saw my work being displayed in the exhibition, and it was fun to watch people’s reactions towards it.

What are you up to now?

Currently I’m undertaking a Double Degree of Bachelor of Design and IT at the Monash University. In mid-2019 the City of Casey introduced me to an opportunity to work as a trainee artist in a project with Kids’ Own Publishing, an organization based in Abbotsford that celebrates the creation of books by children for children. It was a rich learning experience for me, as I was able to experience the bookmaking and design process in the real world with all these professionals. Now the project has finished and I’m continuing to work as a trainee artist and designer at Kids’ Own.

How has your experience of year 12 folio subjects and the Emergent project influenced what you're up to now?

It was during the study of VCE Studio Art and Visual Communication and Design that I discovered my interest in digital illustration, which influenced me to make the decision of studying both IT and Design in uni. It also gave me the opportunity to develop new skills such as being introduced to the Adobe software and 3D printing. Some of these skills I acquired from my folio subjects have become essential in my current study, so I’m glad that I had a little head start. While the two Emergent projects allowed me to gain more insights into the field, and also really helped me to build up my confidence in pursuing an art and design path.

Do you have any words of advice you'd like to share with those students undertaking year 12 folio subjects this year?

My advice would be don’t waste the holidays. I found that all the breaks in between terms are perfect for folio subjects. For me it’s the best time for all the preparation work such as collecting materials and trying out new software and skills. Even when you are struggling to start, doing random sketches or going out to different places to collect inspiration is still helpful. Also don’t worry if your sketches don’t look great, your ideas will evolve over time.

Lastly, do you still have the artwork that was exhibited in Emergent 2018?

The artwork is now with the former principal of my high school. Every year my school buy an artwork from a VCE student who studies Studio Art, and in 2018 they chose mine. It was also the year when my principal left, so she had the artwork for her personal collection.


Image caption:

Hailan (Betty) Gu

Odyssey to one purpose 2018 (detail)

Acrylic painting on MDF board

210 x 26 cm

Private collection

Presented in partnership with:

Federation Uni Logo Feb 2020