...I went to Art College but I didn't learn anything...

Well, our studio doors have been open for three months now, and we have students who keep on coming back, which is gratifying. Over those three months we have received numerous calls, and the reoccurring theme seems to be ‘I’m so glad I’ve found you, I went to such and such an Art College and didn’t learn a thing…’.


When I was looking for a school or college to learn my craft, I looked at every option I could think of in an effort to remain in Queensland, or more particularly, Brisbane. There didn’t seem to be anywhere that I could attend in my efforts to build on my skills to the level that I aspired to. I was lucky enough to find Wim de Voss and Adelle Outteridge at the West End Studios, where I learned a tremendous amount about intaglio printing –etching, particularly- from Wim, a true master. Wim was also very positive about the printing department at the QCA, but that wasn’t my focus, so I made the decision to pack my bags and go to the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney.


Julian Ashons was a revelation. A fantastic environment, full of hugely dissimilar but highly motivated people who had come from all walks of life to find the same thing as me. Exceptional teachers, and an environment as historic as it is uplifting. The support and companionship of some of the finest people I have ever met, a scholarship, a diploma, and the odd award later, it was time to return to Brisbane.


During my time at Ashtons, I had met many people from Queensland who were as dissatisfied with what they found here as I had been, and who had in many instances made the move south at great personal cost, because it was the only way they could possibly learn what they wanted to. Much like myself in fact!  Amongst them were Scott and Ryan.


As the number of Queenslanders I met mounted, I began to wonder how many people there were who, due to family or work commitments were unable to do what I had done and take the plunge and head south. From those encounters I formed the notion of setting up an environment in Brisbane that would cater to those needs. I knew that we weren’t going to be able to replicate one hundred and twenty years of history - and incidentally number amongst our alumni some of the finest painters Australia has ever produced – overnight, but I knew that between the three of us we had an impressive body of skills and knowledge, and the teaching experience to pass it on. I admire Scott and Ryan, not just because I count them amongst my friends, but for their knowledge, their skills, their commitment, and with just a touch of envy, what the future holds for them both.  


So that, in a nutshell, is why you are reading this. This isn’t the sort of place to come if you just want to be told how good you are. Quite simply, it’s the place to come if you actually want to learn something.


Nick L

Nick Leavey