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Students in Focus

Painting his own student journey

Jamie Leonard wants to use his art to help create not only visually appealing pieces, but a special community at the University of Canberra.

Having been a fan of street art and spray painting since high school, Jamie, who is currently in his fourth year of a Graphic Design/Communications in Advertising double degree at UC, is planning to use artwork to connect to potential students at the UC Open Day on 31 August.

“I’m going to be doing live spray painting, to create a mural outside the library. It’s an abstract piece but aims to show the journey I’m going through as a student,” Jamie tells UnCover.

“Through movement and distortion, it’s about trying to make the head of the character distorted through time, and I’m using it as a metaphor for the growth I’m taking as a student. Changing the past and altering your reality.”

As he prepares to create his latest artwork in the coming weeks, Jamie likens the experience to a ‘homecoming’ of sorts, as he finds new creative outlets and ways to express himself and share his talents.

“I always painted and did art as a pastime and got into street art late into high school. I drew a lot of inspiration from the music I listened to and other artists and looking at their work.

“Funnily enough, I’ve been doing a lot more music in the last year, and I haven’t been doing a lot of painting but now I’m lucky enough to come back to that and revisit something I haven’t done a lot of since I started uni, and it was really exciting in that regard, because it is still something I deeply value.”

With a 2020 graduation on the horizon, Jamie says the chance to come to UC and see what is on offer is beneficial for anyone considering further study.

“It’s about working out what kind of things you want to do in your life, working out what things you’re good at, and what things you have learnt along the way, particularly when it comes to managing relationships and communication skills. You have the opportunity to try things out and work out what direction you’re going in.

“It could completely change, some people go through and know exactly what they want to do, and others realise it’s exactly what they didn’t want to do. And I think that realisation is equally as important for every student to go though. That’s what I’m trying to portray in an abstract fashion, with the distortion of the character in my artwork.”

Jamie hopes the day provides a chance for new potential students to reflect on which path they’d like to follow, much like it has for him during his time studying at UC.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for potential students to find out what the culture of the university is like, and what things are on offer,” he adds.

“When I first started uni, I didn’t feel too engaged because I personally was fairly introverted and I didn’t put a lot of effort into finding those exciting things but I think the more we put in and make those opportunities available early on will make it more comforting and appealing and that’s something I want to be a part of.”

To see Jamie in action creating his latest artwork, come along to the University of Canberra Open Day on Saturday 31 August. For more information visit,

Words by Amy Stevenson

Photos: Supplied

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