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Kick Start Your Career: Tafe Graduates Asha Nicholas & Jordan Taylor

Jan 23, 2014

Did you know that TAFE graduates can apply to ArtStart  to kickstart their careers? ArtStart is a great fit for TAFE graduates wanting to use their qualifications and training to start up creative businesses.

As the closing date for Round 10 quickly approaches, the team from Early Career Artists and Producers program chatted with some successful ArtStarters from Round 9 to get their advice to TAFE graduates applying to this round, and to check in on their progress at the halfway point of their ArtStart year.

Asha Nicholas is a jeweller based in Melbourne with an Advanced Diploma in jewellery design from NMIT TAFE. Her background in architecture informs her approach to object design and use of materials, which include rough cut stone and precious metals. In the first six months of her ArtStart year she has spent time in Italy researching jewellery techniques and learning new skills from marble carvers. Her ArtStart grant has enabled her to develop a new hallmark and packaging design for her business, and will allow her to redevelop her website to facilitate online sales. Asha says, ‘The process of actually applying for the ArtStart grant helped me to collate my thoughts and plans and compile them into a succinct working set of achievable goals… Receiving the grant itself has given me the chance to inject funds into various specific areas of my young business that had a huge impact, but would otherwise be a bit of a “luxury” at this stage.’

Asha advises that TAFE graduates approach their ArtStart applications with a mind to what makes their work valuable and unique, while also maintaining a strong focus on the viability of their goals. ‘Remember that the application is intended to show the capacity of your proposal to stand as a business model, whilst communicating your passion for your particular arts field.’ She also emphasises the importance of starting your application early, in order to reflect and consider on the process, ‘Allow plenty of time for the application to get thinking before you start writing and ask someone else to read through it for you to make sure it is a solid business plan.’

Jordan Taylor, a contemporary jeweller with a Diploma in Jewellery and Object Design from Enmore Design Centre , agrees. ‘ArtStart helped me in figuring out the next year of artist life through an established timeline… Applying made me think hard about my decisions and what I wanted and where I wanted to be.’ Her ArtStart grant has allowed her the freedom to make the move from Sydney to Adelaide in order to take up bench space at artist-run studio Gray Street Workshop. Not only has the space allowed her to develop her creative practice, she’s also benefited from the support and expertise of her fellow studio tenants, saying, ‘Being able to chat one on one with nationally and internationally recognised artists is a privilege in itself but having their support and guidance throughout the design and making stages of your work is something else entirely.’ Jordan will continue her ArtStart year with a formal mentorship with Gray Street partner Catherine Truman, and will undertake an open studio residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  in Maine, USA.