In mid-2019, 3D artist Jasmine Ruru will have gained her Masters in Creative Practice from EIT Hawke’s Bay. Already she has identified a path to an entrepreneurial career that will allow her creative freedom. One that will mean she can remain true to her values, environmental passion and Māoritanga.
For a young woman who left school in Taihape not thinking that art could be a career, the realisation is exciting. And it has come about in a way she considers as alchemy, a magical transformation that mirrors her creative approach.
The 23 year old Honours student describes herself as a maker, working in mixed mediums and telling stories. She uses lots of different forms to create creatures, based on reality but that evolve like alchemy. Jasmine works to keep the process of creating free and organic, focusing on what emotion a creature evokes in the viewer and allowing its characteristics to develop in the making.
Her practice is varied. Originally she thought she’d develop her photography skills through an initial 12 week certificate programme but now in the final year of her Bachelor of Creative Practice, she says that from day one, she felt she’d “found her place”.
“EIT opened me up to different materials, mediums and techniques that I didn’t know existed. I found a place where my skills were valid and I was excelling, something I had never experienced before.”
Over her study years, Jasmine has tested the technologies available to her – laser cutters, workshops, photography, and even the science lab.
Working with science tutor Amelia McQueen, she spent time examining invertebrates under a microscope. This observation provided insight into surface textures, movement, the way joints work. It spawned the inspiration behind four creatures that were exhibited in Ahua Takiwā – Space and Flow of Ahuriri, for the Te Hono ki Toi programme at Ideaschool, EIT as part of an EAST exhibition held by the Hastings City Art Gallery.
“It really excited me about the colours, textures and the composition of bodies, it’s driving the work I’m doing now.”
And in the way of alchemy, Amelia invited Jasmine to speak at an educational forum for early child and primary school teachers held at the EIT Hawke’s Bay campus. She spoke about her practice formed by her love and concern for the environment. By this stage she’d moved from inanimate creatures to those with movement, progressing into puppetry.
“They saw my work in a totally different light. I was coming from an artistic perspective while they were looking at it from an educational view point.
“My work has a child-like aspect, magical, imaginary. This appeals to children and the teachers could see how it would benefit them as educators. I’d overlooked that fact.”
And while history hasn’t been made yet, Jasmine can see her path more clearly now.
For her Masters’ research project she’ll be developing a ‘package’ to go into classrooms that’s “immersive, engaging and fun”.
Using puppets and drawing on her performance art background, Jasmine will talk about a story that’s relevant to what the class is learning, no doubt environmentally oriented. Then social interaction to encourage sharing of ideas and gaining skills in team work. And finally the “big bang”, the making, probably of their own creatures.
“Stimulation, conversation, ideas and inspiration and then getting stuck in. It’s an opportunity for me to create an experience that is different to ordinary school life. If I can flick the switch to creative energy and fun, then I’ll be thrilled.”
Jasmine already has the invite into several schools to trial and tweak her idea, then she’ll be ready to set out on her way.