In addition to writing articles for the Learning Connexion’s online newsletter, I am also partners in a production company called Useful Media. Last year we were granted a $90K grant from the NZ Film Commission to bring a script to the screen. This medieval short film entitled Judgment Tavern is about a young girl carrying her father’s severed living head in search of his body. It was through this project that I worked with and became friends with The Learning Connexion student Anna Jenkins.
Anna volunteered to join the art department team to get some real world work experience in a field she was interested in, helping with both construction and painting. The brief was to build a medieval tavern and bedroom inside Avalon Studio. The art department team worked tirelessly for two weeks under Production Designer Tim Holman. Anna worked under the guidance of scenic painter Lucy Muir, a scenic artist on all three Hobbit movies.
“It was cool to be there from the start, mapping things out on the ground and seeing it transforming into a tavern with so much ambience, it was almost magical really. There was a lot of pressure but we still had fun doing it and I met a lot of cool people!”
After working on this film, Anna would love to pursue a career as a scenic artist on films, while continuing with her own practice and exhibitions. When Anna came across The Learning Connexion she was working in a bakery in Gisborne and looking after her two children. She sought out an extramural art programme and found that the flexibility of The Learning Connexion’s art and creativity programmes would allow for the demands of being a student and a mother.
Being a distance student in Gisborne worked for a while but then she decided to bite the bullet and, with her children, make the move to Wellington to be an on-site student. It was important to her to show them how to pursue their passions by leading by example.
For Anna, immersing herself in art and having whole days dedicated to being creative is the most enjoyable aspect of study. When asked about the tutors at The Learning Connexion, Anna muses, “It’s good. They give you the feedback you need; they see your work through a different set of eyes.”
Working to a large scale is something Anna enjoys because it involves seeing things from the planning stage right through to completion. She has been employed by the Upper Hutt City Council to design and paint murals all throughout Upper Hutt, including Chorus boxes, Trentham Army base, walls and electricity cabinets.
Anna has more opportunities on the horizon - she was recently asked to assist with an art department on a concept shoot for ‘Rivet’ with D.O.P Matt Sharpe and she is currently developing a website to showcase her work.
When asked what she would say to someone thinking of doing the art and creativity programme, she said “Do it, there is a world of possibilities!”