“This is the most comfortable I’ve ever felt in my life. I could do this non-stop.” – Leo Semau
Wainuiomata born and bred, Leo Semau took a chance one day and threw in his government based desk job. The frustration of working in a bureaucratic system became too much and Leo burned out. He decided to take a breather and get back to his core passions, art and creativity. He enrolled at Wellington art school The Learning Connexion so that he could learn professional techniques and explore new avenues for his creativity.“Not having a creative outlet wore me out. It was time to take a break and reassess.”
The first step which Leo took was attending one of the week long block classes held at The Learning Connexion. An engrossing week of the 3D class ‘Figurative Sculpture’ with Dennis Berdinner left Leo hooked. He enrolled part-time into the Diploma of Art & Creativity (Honours) programme, and now comes on-site to study sculpture a few times a week. He has found a particular knack for form within the medium of clay. Moving away from a government desk job has Leo feeling much happier, working with his hands and creating.“The Learning Connexion is definitely the environment to be inspired. The tutors really make it, as they have the experience and are practical.”
This is not Leo’s first time at The Learning Connexion. He first studied at the art school when he was 17. Now, the 33 year old father feels that he can fully appreciate what the The Learning Connexion represents and offers to his life, both personally and professionally. “The tutors help me be really ambitious and to have bigger ideas, and consider other alternatives. Their experience is just priceless.”
Leo is working towards a goal of being self-sustainable from his artwork. Leo’s ceramic clay works have now become his main creative outlet, his figurative organic pots mimicking the human form in an abstracted and tactile way. His work tells stories of Pacific legends, paying homage to Leo’s Samoan genealogy. “I’m taking the face value of the legend and reminding the viewer of the values of the legend.”
Coming on-site was the best choice for Leo and it was beneficial for him to be able to use the specialist facilities, as well as interact with tutors and other students. “There are lots of ranges of people and backgrounds here. It’s a community of young and old, people from so many walks of life.”
To anyone thinking about coming to The Learning Connexion, Leo’s advice is that they need to come on-site for a tour and a chat with tutors. “You really need to see it, and get the feel of the place. It’s truly freeing to be here. I can’t get enough of it myself!”
If you would like to come on campus and have a tour of the Learning Connexion: contact the Admissions department on 0800 278 769 or you could attend one of our free creativity workshops.