Interview with successful arts graduate Astrid Jeppesen

Interview with successful arts graduate Astrid Jeppesen

When Astrid Jeppesen began her Certificate in Arts and Media she wasn't sure what she wanted to do or even why she had decided to come to NMIT. She didn't know what her future pathway would be either. Her only need was to be creative.


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Certificate in Arts and Media graduate Astrid Jeppesen next to one of her untitled pieces currently on show in G Block.


Originally from Nelson, Astrid first left home at 17 years of age. She spent time in Denmark where her family is from, enjoyed a brief stint in Queenstown, then flew to Australia where she stayed for ten years working in hospitality. She returned to Nelson at the beginning of 2016.

Despite her fears, Astrid put 200% into the year-long arts and media programme and has absolutely nailed it, performing well above the expected level for students. Her tutor, Kate Ross, and many of the staff in Creative Industries at NMIT have been really impressed.

How do you feel about the positive things Kate and others have said about you?

It makes me quite emotional, especially coming from Kate. I've never had or found anything that I wanted to do. Being my tutor all year, Kate’s seen all of us grow.

You felt unsure about your ability to do well academically - can you describe those feelings?

It was stressful for me learning how to learn again. Knowing that so many people at a younger age would be coming into this, especially at a level four. I have a lot of successful friends around the world that are younger than me. You look at yourself and you judge yourself compared to others, and I know you shouldn't do that, but you do.

Were there any early experiences that may have created this feeling?

I had a hell of a time at school. It was awful. Art and P.E -- sweet. Anything else…I just really struggled. Mum took me to tutors and private math tutorials and I just couldn’t wrap my head around the numbers and words. My parents, from the moment I left school, were like, “Go to university, go to university, go to university.” My reply was always, “There's no way I'm going back into study.” That's why it's been fifteen years since.

In your moments of frustration, what kept you going?

Paying for the course! The fact that I don't want to fail at anything else. That I can do this. There were a couple of times when I kicked the table because I was just so frustrated. I'd get up and walk outside, walk around the block, and then come back and get into it. You have to stick with it but I also had to walk away from it at first.

What was it like working part time while studying?

For the first part of the course I was at school all week and then I'd work Friday night at Rhythm and Brown, all day Saturday at Devilles, start back at Rhythm and Brown at six pm, finish there sometimes at 3am, start back at Devilles at 8am on Sunday morning and then I’d have another week of school. This went on for about two months. Sunday nights I was so sleep deprived. I wouldn't do that again. I need my sleep…I found that out.

What inspires your art practice?

I get a lot of my inspiration from nature. Plants...I love plants!  

What's it like when you're immersed in the art making process?

Time goes really quickly. Time just disappears. That's when I knew I loved it.

You’ve recently been offered a job in a local jewellery making business - do tell…

I was just really lucky! They are related to the people I work with currently. I had a yarn with them and we got on really well and, yeah! It was pretty amazing when Laurel [owner] text me. It was a really emotional time.

You said that at the beginning of the course that you didn't know your direction but you're about to work for a jeweller and you also paint, so I’m interested, have you found your direction?

Not quite yet. I still feel incredibly lost where I am but being creative has definitely become home to me. I still feel restricted in my thoughts, like, “I can only do this.” I'm going to start my Bachelor of Arts and Media and just completely open my mind and do it.  

How do you feel about yourself now compared to when you began the course?

I have more faith in myself to be able to produce something that I can be proud of. I didn't think I could produce something like that. Thanks to Kate we have been taught how to produce amazing things. That has brought me a lot of confidence. I'll definitely be painting for the rest of my life. For sure. Hands down.



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