The death of his father in 2017 provided the catalyst for Brand Manager Brendan Martin to follow his artistic instincts. The result has been life-changing. We caught up with Brendan at his home in Eastbourne, Lower Hutt, where he is studying part-time towards a New Zealand Diploma in Creativity (Level 5) via distance delivery.
Hi Brendan. Why did you choose to study with The Learning Connexion?
In May 2017 my Dad died. Dad was a talented artist and an imposing creative influence on my life. I had studied art at Hutt Valley High School back in the 1980s, and spent 40+ years in the corporate world pursuing a marketing career. Dad’s passing was the catalyst for me to re-connect with my artistic self. I attended my first evening class at TLC in June 2017, and have been hooked on the TLC experience ever since.
What do you enjoy about distance delivery study?
I love the flexibility of distance delivery study. I have a busy life and distance delivery enables me to build my study around family commitments, a full-time job, and going to the gym. Coming on-site to TLC also expands my creativity in new and exciting ways, so I attend as many evening and weekend classes as time will permit.
I have fortnightly face-to-face meetings on-site with my mentor Billy Wilson, and these sessions are an invaluable part of my development as an artist.
You work full time - how do you balance that with study?
I need to be really well organised, and disciplined. Every Sunday night I map out the week ahead, and schedule time for all of the important aspects of my life including family, work, fitness and study. Then the challenge is stick to the plan! Each day I keep track of my time and make sure that my study log is up-to-date. I constantly feel under pressure trying to juggle the different priorities in my life, but I have learnt a very important lesson along the way: making art is like breathing; for me it is simply something that I have to do every day.
Tell me about working with your mentor Billy Wilson?
Billy Wilson has been with me throughout my distance delivery experience at TLC, and I am hugely grateful for the massive contribution that he has made to my artistic progression. Billy is an incredible listener, and provides insightful feedback. Most importantly, Billy encourages me to step outside of my comfort zone, to take risks and to experience the creative process first-hand for myself. Billy has inspired and supported me to discover my true artistic self.
What are your goals with your art?
My ultimate goal is to become a sustainable artist. The first phase of this journey will be completing the requirements of the NZ Diploma in Creativity Levels 5 and 6, and the Advanced Diploma of Art and Creativity Level 7 at TLC.
Through my study, I will continue to explore new themes, new media and new techniques. I would also like to be more involved in the TLC community. I have met some amazing tutors and students at the school who have inspired me to become the best artist that I can be. It is my hope that I will be able to do the same for others.
A core driver for me is to capture moments of tension through my art. In recent times I have developed a fascination with Greek Mythology, and have produced several artworks featuring Icarus, the Minotaur and Theseus. I am excited to see where this obsession will go artistically.
How much has your creativity developed with TLC?
My creativity has developed in so many ways since I started studying at TLC. My technical skills have grown in breadth and depth. I have worked across a wide variety of media, including animation, photography, environmental art, life drawing and enamel jewellery making. I have also specialised in the areas that are of greatest interest to me, which are printmaking, painting and sculpture.
My passion towards creative expression has strengthened as well. This passion has been fuelled by the incredible staff and students at TLC. These people have been a constant source of inspiration, guidance and energy. They have all accepted where I am at in my creative journey and been pivotal in pushing me along in new and exciting ways.
What achievements are you most proud of since beginning study with TLC?
I am most proud of my participation in the Winter Connections student exhibition at TLC in June. To display my work publically for the first time was scary and exciting, all at once. I was incredibly nervous about how people would respond. Thankfully the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the opening night, which was attended by family and friends, as well as TLC tutors and students, was an experience that I will never forget.
What else would you like to tell people about TLC?
TLC is a very special place; the people are hugely supportive, the study is highly stimulating, and the programmes are totally flexible. TLC has had a significant and positive impact on my life. As a result of my ongoing interaction and involvement with the school, I have grown not only as an artist, but as a human being. Long may this continue.