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Student profile: Saturn Murray

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Saturn Murray's work is funny and smart. Inspired by manga and visual novels, this New Zealand Diploma in Creativity student is quickly developing their own unique voice. We caught up with Saturn during lockdown about their work and inspiration.

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Hi Saturn - how have you coped with the lockdown creatively?

I think I’ve been coping pretty well. I have more time to play Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side so the amount of dating sim fan art has increased.


Have you been able to continue your study and work on your own projects?

Yeah recently it’s been all computer games in the process. My computer stopped working for a while there but now it’s back again, hopefully that lasts. I’m also staying at my parents house in New Plymouth, and it’s off the grid and we don’t have Internet. So I haven’t been distracted as much looking at memes. At the moment I’m trying to make a text adventure where the goal is to get the mayor's sons bike back.

Do you think art is a good way to get through this challenging time?

Yes for sure! Even if it’s just to pass the time, you might accidentally make something really good!

Why did you come to The Learning Connexion (TLC)?

A few people suggested it to me. Mostly teachers. When I was in high school I would try to avoid thinking about the future as much as possible, that’s still true today though...

I knew that I wanted to go to some kind of school for art, and so many people suggested TLC that I just decided to go. Before I came to TLC I was living with my parents, in New Plymouth. So last year I moved to Wellington, and went to live with a friend and his family in Petone.

I came to TLC to meet like-minded people and expand my practical art knowledge, and now I don’t want to leave!


Tell us about your work - you do a lot of cartoon/comic stuff. Do you mainly see yourself as an illustrator?

I don’t feel like I’m quite an illustrator yet! But maybe one day, I hope so. Comics are very fun, but the ones that come naturally to me, I feel, are quite awkward, and messy. It’s annoying that I have trouble with crisp line-art and complex plots, but it’s nice, and I hope it resonates with people.

How has your work developed since starting at TLC?

Looking through my old sketchbooks is always interesting. Seeing phases I went through. I feel a lot more comfortable with painting than I did at the beginning. I also feel a whole lot more comfortable sharing my work with people.

What kind of art or artists inspire you?

I read manga and play visual novels in my free time mostly, so that inspires me a lot. If I like something enough I’ll draw multitudes of fan art for it. My favourite artists are Sachiko Kaneoya, and an artist who goes by @nereidere on Instagram.

What did you like about the New Zealand Certificate in Creativity (Level 4)?

Level 4 is great because it really leads you into the deep end of your art. You do so many different things in Certificate class, and it’s rare that a student doesn’t resonate with at least one thing the class does. I was going to skip Level 4 and go onto 5. But I’m really glad I didn’t. I feel like my art wouldn’t be where it is today without Level 4.


Was there any class in particular in Level 4 you enjoyed, and if so, why?

I enjoyed Dan Wilkinson's class the most! Life Drawing was very new and exciting for me, and I enjoy the chilled out atmosphere of his class.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Games and comics have inspired me to create things, but lots of my inspiration comes from friends, family, and personal experiences. I care lots about my friends and I want them to be a part of the things I create. But sometimes it’s nice to just make something about me, by myself.

So would you like to create your own games and comics? Have you created any favourite characters who you think could make for a good story or series?

I have a multitude of characters that I’ve created throughout the years. I hope to publish comics one day, but I have already created a few games that are now published. They can be found and downloaded here

What else about TLC do you like? 

It is a very supportive environment. I’ve met a lot of like-minded people, and all the tutors are very nice and helpful. Just the atmosphere of the whole place is very positive and is just a lovely place to be.

You are carrying on this year with a New Zealand Diploma in Creativity (Level 5). What would you like to achieve in Level 5 and beyond?

I would like to create more finished things to share with people :)

You can check out more of Saturn's work on Instagram.

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