Defying Imposter Syndrome. A deep belief in persistence. The Slug Collection.
We chat to Rose Campbell, who as a distance delivery student completed a New Zealand Diploma in Creativity (Level 5) at the end of 2020.
Hi Rose – why did you decide to enrol at The Learning Connexion?
I was new to studying and The Learning Connexion seemed like it would be a really supportive and open place to go to prove to myself that I'm capable of more than making art just for myself. So I enrolled to build my confidence in a genuinely encouraging/nurturing environment.
I was able to observe and challenge my habits and beliefs surrounding art and had an incentive to continuously figure out ways to do better.
What are some of the things you enjoyed most about studying at TLC?
I enjoyed the flexibility of TLC, both with types of art and with styles of studying. It's a good place to figure out under which conditions your particular creative process flourishes.
My mentor was a really genuine person and it's very refreshing to be able to have compatible discussions about niche things like medieval painters.
Being used to a state school, it was nice to have teachers who are actually passionate about what they teach and care about the experience their students are getting out of it.
Did you discover anything about yourself?
During my time at TLC, I discovered imposter syndrome and used it to my advantage to keep pushing myself forward. I've become more efficient at processing ideas and better at accepting feedback.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I like things that prompt the imagination. I like bones, skeletons, monsters, spooky stuff. I like to take traditionally scary things and make them feel familiar or friendly in a vaguely eerie way.
I love colours and I think about them rather more often than average in day-to-day life. If life were a connect-the-dots, my dots would be colours. My art is inspired by colours, spooky things and anything that can make me laugh.
How do you sustain your creative practice?
To sustain my creative practice I take breaks. Proper breaks mind you, no working while I'm resting, even if I start getting ideas. By the time my break ends I'm raring to go. If work and play don't stay firmly separated then it feels like I'm working all the time. I also rotate through several mediums and experiment regularly so I don't get stuck in a rut of the same old, same old.
I'm motivated by what the final product is going to look like, and by knowing how much my skills have developed since I first started practicing art regularly.
Are your skills and approach to creativity transferable into ‘other’ fields in your life?
Being able to physically see my skills improving through time and repetition sets a really solid example that I can learn skills I need in general. It instills within me a deep belief in persistence. Don't stop when you hit a problem —go through it, learn from it, recalibrate, try again — and that's applicable to all walks of life.
Sometimes the answer to the problem is to quit, but by confronting the problem before quitting you'll figure out why and you'll have that knowledge for future reference.
Describe a highlight, a wow moment of a recent work or creative experience?
Every time I look at art and realise again and again that art truly can be anything. That's a highlight. And the last five minutes of a piece and the first ten minutes after I finish it, when I get to do all the little details, final touches, and then get my first look at the final piece while I'm totally buzzed from focusing for so long.
What advice would you give people starting out at The Learning Connexion and wanting to pursue a creative pathway?
Dare to explore. Anything can be art. Keep creating, your style and your passions will find you. Quantity leads to quality.
Imposter syndrome is a thing. Use it to propel you, don't let it get you too deeply. You're doing the best that you currently know how and you rock, you're creating things!
Remember to take proper breaks and be patient with yourself. Your range of skills won't always be at the same level, it doesn't mean your art sucks. It means your eye skills are just a little ahead of your hand skills. They'll catch up, don't worry.
What are your creative ambitions? Where would you like to be in five years?
I intend to write and illustrate my own book, but five years always seems like a short amount of time at the end of it, so I'm not sure how realistic it would be in that timeframe.
Though not specifically art related I mostly hope in five years that I'm treating myself and others with compassion, and using the skills I have to brighten people's day and engage their imagination. I would also love to work for something like The Onion or Clickhole, because nothing brings me more joy than being absolutely preposterous.
Tell us about 'The Slug Collection'?
In January 2019 I started a project on Instagram called The Slug Collection, where I invite artists to create slugs to
a) appreciate slugs, because snails get all the glory
b) appreciate the vast variety of styles, skill levels, mediums, and creativity of artists all around the world
c) surprise my best friend, because slugs are the mascot of our friendship.
The goal was to reach 1000 slugs – which we did in August 2020.
What other creative projects have you been working on?
Towards the end of my time with TLC I wrote and illustrated a short poetry collection called Ominosity, which is available digitally on Webtoon
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