A cre­ative re­fresher

‘‘The Learn­ing Con­nex­ion is like a breath of fresh air - an oa­sis in the desert. I feel like I spent so many years miss­ing out on what I am­learn­ing now.’’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By LARISSA MCMIL­LAN

Four years ago Krzysztof Za­jaczkowski im­mi­grated to New Zealand from Eng­land. He was look­ing for some pos­i­tive cre­ative fuel. It was time to take a plunge into a pool of new artis­tic ex­pe­ri­ences. Krzysztof dis­cov­ered Wellington art school The Learn­ing Con­nex­ion and chose to do the pro­gramme part-time, whilst study­ing from home. Since be­gin­ning at The Learn­ing Con­nex­ion, he has charged his cre­ativ­ity bat­ter­ies and is now fully un­der way on a jour­ney of artis­tic pur­suits. In Eng­land, at the age of eigh­teen, Krzysztof stud­ied a fine arts de­gree. How­ever hind­sight is a fine thing and, on re­flec­tion, he feels it was an ex­pe­ri­ence that never truly pushed his artis­tic bound­aries. ‘‘The art school in Eng­land was so dry. We were never given the ex­pe­ri­ence to just ex­per­i­ment. It was too in­tel­lec­tual. Pre­scrip­tive. Stiff. Not like what I am do­ing here at The Learn­ing Con­nex­ion. In­ves­tiga­tive. Play­ful. Ex­pres­sive.’’ The Learn­ing Con­nex­ion has pro­vided Krzysztof with the path­way to fol­low his cre­ativ­ity in a free yet fo­cused en­vi­ron­ment, per­fect for any artist look­ing to push their style fur­ther. By study­ing the Ad­vanced Diploma pro­gramme, Krzysztof has been ex­plor­ing process and ma­te­ri­al­ity. ‘‘Rather than putting my ideas onto can­vas, one ex­plores the ma­te­ri­als and process. ‘‘Those ma­te­ri­als and pro­cesses ac­tu­ally start to speak the ideas out to you which is re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing.’’ Con­stant con­tact with men­tors is in­te­gral to the suc­cess of any stu­dent at The Learn­ing Con­nex­ion, par­tic­u­larly one who is study­ing from home like Krzysztof. ‘‘My men­tor helps me stay fo­cused, be­cause cre­ativ­ity is such a huge labyrinth to get lost in. Keep­ing on track is

Lcru­cial to me. ‘‘You have to work to cer­tain lim­its or else you just spill over with ideas.’’ Part-time study and cre­at­ing art from home is per­fect for a work­ing stu­dent like Krzysztof who has been work­ing as a teacher in the Steiner school sys­tem for the last 25 years. Krzysztof takes de­light in ex­plor­ing ma­te­ri­als as part of the Ad­vanced Diploma pro­gramme. His work ranges from work­ing with fire and iron, to thumb­tacks, bath­tubs, print­ing presses and let­ter sets. Re­cently Krzysztof has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the uses of a set of old wood block let­ters he found over 30 years ago. He tried rolling them un­con­ven­tion­ally on a print­ing press, which cre­ated all sorts of orig­i­nal im­prints and ab­stract shapes. The re­sults are a del­i­cate in­tro­spec­tion of pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive forms. ‘‘For me the best part has been wrestling with chal­lenges like why am I do­ing this? ‘‘That’s great, ex­plor­ing the sig­nif­i­cance. For me that’s where the magic hap­pens.’’

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