Tertiary choices: BYO portfolio for fine arts and fx courses

Ella van Dort-Gilmore sat the HSC this year and has an impressive portfolio showcasing her photography and ceramics talents.

Elowyn Mcjames loves anime and recently graduated with an advanced diploma in game art and animation from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE).

Both are keen to pursue creative careers. Dort-Gilmore is among the 20,000-plus who annually apply for creative arts courses at universities and colleges across the country. Most achieve an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or equivalent of 70-80, federal Department of Education figures show.

Where Dort-Gilmore works in clay, Mcjames' art is entirely digital and includes the buttons, icons, notepads and menu layouts on the just-released and already popular new Australian word game PatchWord. Mcjames trained at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), Australia's biggest gaming educator where about 20 per cent of students are women and where 3D animation, design, visual effects and game design diploma students can collaborate with game programming degree students.

It's an industry worth billions. Mcjames is a self-employed and hopes to include Disney Interactive among her future clients.

Dort-Gilmore sees a future that uses her fine arts talents alongside art history, languages and social sciences.

"The jobs market is constantly evolving, with changing technologies, values and needs, and creative collaborative thinking and originality are becoming highly marketable," she says, crediting family and high school in equal measure for encouraging her to pursue creative passions.

"My major [HSC] work took six months of experimentation, trial and error. [But] sometimes the mistakes can be what makes a piece great."

School leavers receive their HSC results on December 14, and ATAR on December 15. Diploma or degree study in either fine or digital arts can lead to jobs as diverse as visual technologist, curator, exhibition designer, filmmaker, animator or games art expert. All require a portfolio.

Students seeking to enrol in fine arts at Sydney's National Art School (NAS) in 2018 must submit preferences to the University Admissions Centre by December 17.

At Sydney College of the Arts, a combined Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA)-Bachelor of Visual Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (BVA/BAS) is available to intending students. The combined course adds a year to an undergraduate degree.

UNSW Art & Design's information day on December 16 at Sydney's Paddington will have practicing artists-teachers and technical studio staff on hand to discuss study and practice options, while SAE Creative Media Institute's Sydney info night on December 14 will have experts in animation, audio, design, film and gaming for would-be new students to discuss course options with.

The AIE hosts information evenings on January 17 at its Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide campuses. AIE interviews for full-time courses are known to be relaxed and informal; its assessors open to "anything creative in a portfolio".

"A lot of courses allow you to mix and match your interests. You don't have to choose one path," says Dort-Gilmore.

This story Tertiary choices: BYO portfolio for fine arts and fx courses first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.