GEORGE AGIUS

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Georgina Agius - Antler

“Work hard, go for the opportunities, believe in yourself and let the ideas consume you…“

George Agius ProfileGeorge Agius is a New Zealand born artist whose glass practice is an exploration of emigration, culture and legacy and its contribution to personal identity.

Through the act of emigration we begin to cultivate and share experiences of place, of home and of belonging. Stories are shared, experiences reiterated, and our storylines slowly begin to entwine. “

Agius’ creative process is embedded in the act of making, her work incorporating sculptural and blown glass techniques often resulting in a whimsical aesthetic that helps convey the idea of the absent figure.

George has exhibited in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and assisted prominent contemporary glass artists.

In 2013 George completed the JamFactory Associate Training Program in Adelaide and has since exhibited in the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, Kennedy Art Prize, KIGA Illuminating Glass award and the Wagga Wagga National Emerging Art Glass Prize. In 2015 George was awarded the Vicki Torr Memorial Prize at the Australian Glass Conference.

 

www.georgeagiusglass.com/

www.facebook.com/GeorgeAgiusGlass

www.instagram.com/georgeagius27

 

Q. Have you lived in South Australia for your whole life?

A. No. I came to Adelaide in January 2012 to participate in the JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design’s two year Associate training program in glass. I have continued to make Adelaide my home as it has such a strong community of artists and makers and is only a quick flight from my homeland, New Zealand.

 

Q. How has South Australia influenced your art?

A. South Australia has greatly influenced the way I make and my technical skills in the area of glass sculpting. Completing the JamFactory program and continuing to work from this facility as a hirer and member of the community is invaluable. There are a lot of amazing glass makers here in Adelaide and more coming every year to complete the JamFactory program, this makes our community stronger as we watch and learn from each others differing practices.

 

Q. When did you know you wanted to be an Artist?

A. I wanted to be an artist when I was at high school however the idea terrified me; How would I support myself? Would I be any good? Am I that talented? These questions were enough for me to put myself off and so I went and studied science becoming a personal trainer for several years. It wasn’t until I was 25 and travelling overseas that I saw glassblowing for the first time and it hit me: this is what I wanted to do. I moved back to New Zealand and enrolled in the Wanganui Glass School, worked in a professional studio, did a year on exchange at the Alberta College of Art and Design and then came to Adelaide where I have been based since. I truly believe that coming into the arts a little older, with more life experience, has added to my tenacity and made me incredibly determined to make this work as a career.

 

Q. How would you describe your art?

A. My art is exactly like me – whimsical and fun on the surface but with a serious undertone.

 

Q. Is your art based on any particular themes &/or ideas?

A. My glass practice is an exploration of emigration, culture and legacy and its contribution to personal identity. My creative process is embedded in the act of making, her work incorporating sculptural and blown glass techniques often resulting in a whimsical aesthetic that helps convey the idea of the absent figure.

 

Q. Where did you start your journey as a visual artist (formal education)?

A. Wanganui Glass School on the West coast of the North Island of New Zealand is where I completed my training in a three year Diploma in Glass Design and production. From there I competed the fourth year of a Bachelor of fine Arts program at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada. I then went on to complete the JamFactory training program from 2012-2013.

 

Q. Who has influenced your style, during either formal education or in your personal experience?

A. When I was at University I admired the work of Karen Willenbrink, the De la Torre brothers and Tom Moore. The opportunity to work with Tom was a huge part of the reason for me coming to Adelaide – his work is quite magical.

 

Q. Who inspires you &/or who are your favourite artists at the moment?

A. In terms of glass artists I love Charlotte Potter and Beth Lipman’s work. They are both American female artists who work with themes of identity and express that through imagery and compositions of inanimate objects that result in extremely personal and beautiful works.

 

Q. Are there any other media that you enjoy working with?

A. I was lucky enough to participate in an print and glass residency last year at Canberra Glassworks and Megalo Print studio. Learning to screen print was an invaluable experience and I have incorporated that into my new body of work for my first solo show ‘Passage” at Urban Cow studio utilising both paper and screen printing imagery with glass powders onto blown and sculpted forms.

 

Q. What projects are you currently working on, if any?

A. I have my first solo show opening this coming week at UrbanCow so I have spent the majority of this year making new work for that..once that is over…mmm I will get my thinking cap on again!

 

Q. Are there any aspects of your art that you find particularly challenging?

A. Glass is hard! It is hot and temperamental. To make anything you need at least one person helping you and so it becomes a team effort. These are all the things that both drive me crazy and that I love about the material also.

 

Q. Which is more important to you, the symbolic meaning of your work or the visual presentation?

A. The are both equally important in my work.

 

Q. Do you have favorite pieces from your portfolio? Why?

A. I still love “Whanau: A Breakfast for Ancestors” that I made for the JamFactory exhibition Generate. It was the start of my work becoming more personal and utilising imagery.

 

Q. Describe the ideal environment for your creative process.

A. When I go home to New Zealand for Christmas I relax, engage with family and this seems to be the time when my brain comes alight with ideas for new artworks and projects.

 

Q. What does a typical day at work look like for you as an artist?

A. I assist artists approximately three days a week to make their own work but this does fluctuate depending on the demand from galleries for product. There isn’t really a typical day as such, I am very project driven and spend all my time working towards a deadline, completing it.

 

Q. How has media (traditional or social) influenced your art?

A. Media has influenced my art because it has made it so much easier to touch base with family and discover ancestral information that informs my work.

 

Q. How would you describe the visual arts scene in South Australia?

A. The visual arts scene is great in Adelaide. There are many platforms for which art can be displayed and many organisations that are here to support artists and their works.

 

Q. Do you enjoy collaborating with other artists?

A. I do enjoy collaborating and want to do more of it in the future.

 

Q. Are you able to make a living as an artist?

A. I am lucky enough to pay the bills by assisting other artists in making their work. Definitely live week to week and I am not on the way to paying a mortgage anytime soon…maybe some day!

 

Q. What advice would you give someone who aspires to a career in the visual arts?

A. Work hard, go for the opportunities, believe in yourself and let the ideas consume you.

 

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Education

 

2012 – 2014 JamFactory Associate training program.

Adelaide, Australia.

 

2010 – 2011 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Glass.

Alberta College of Art and Design. Calgary, Canada.

 

2008 – 2010 Diploma in Glass Design and Production.

Wanganui Glass School. Wanganui, New Zealand.

 

 

Professional Development

 

2015

·      Artist in Residence, GLINT glass and print residency. Canberra Glassworks and Megalo Print Studio. Canberra, Australia.

·      Volunteer, AusGlass Conference. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Mentor, University of South Australia. Adelaide, Australia.

2014

·      Artist in Residence, University of South Australia. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Mentor, University of South Australia. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Participant, Nick Wirdnam sculpting workshop. JamFactory. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Participant, Charlie Cohan workshop. University of South Australia. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Studio Tenant, JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design.

 

2013

·      Participant, Karen Willenbrink & Jasen Johnson sculpting workshop. JamFactory. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Participant, Brian Corr workshop. JamFactory. Adelaide, Australia.

2012

·      Participant, Lino Tagliapietra demonstration. Canberra Glassworks. Canberra, Australia.

·      Participant, Tom Moore sculpting workshop. JamFactory. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Participant, Andrew Baldwin workshop. JamFactory. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Participant, Tom Rowney cane workshop. JamFactory. Adelaide, Australia.

2010

·      Participant, Jeff Burnette bullseye workshop. Wanganui, New Zealand.

·      Participant, Luke Jacomb workshop. Wanganui, New Zealand.

2009

·      Participant, Luke Jacomb Venetian workshop. Wanganui, New Zealand.

·      Participant, Josh Simpson cane workshop. Wanganui, New Zealand.

·      Participant, Gary Nash workshop. Wanganui, New Zealand.

 

 

Exhibition History

 

2016

·      National Emerging Art Glass Prize. Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW, Australia.

·      The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. South Australian Museum, Adelaide, Australia.  

·      Passage: An exploration of emigration, heritage, culture and legacy. UrbanCow Gallery, Adelaide, Australia.

 

 

2015

·      The Kennedy Prize. National Pharmacies Training Centre. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Drink, Dine, Design; Emerging Designer Award. Adelaide Airport, Adelaide, Australia.

·      Kirra Illuminating Glass Award. Kirra Gallery & Federation Square. Melbourne, Australia.

·      Summer Sensations.  Wilsons at Robe. Robe, Australia.

·      Through the Looking Glass. Red Poles Gallery. McLaren vale, Australia.

·      Illumination. Worth Gallery. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Hunger Games. Snails Gallery. Palmerston North, New Zealand.

 

2014

·      Glass X Design. Canberra Glassworks. Canberra, Australia.

·      Christmas Exhibition. Art Images Gallery. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Mansfield Art Glass Prize. Mansfield, NSW, Australia.

·      Hottest 100 Wines. Queens Theatre. Adelaide, Australia.

·      The Kennedy Prize. Stomping Ground Studios. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Drink, Dine, Design; Emerging Designer Award. JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Generate. JamFactory at Seppeltsfield. Barossa Valley, Australia.

2013

·      Domestic Renewal. JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Mansfield Art Glass Prize. Mansfield, NSW, Australia.

·      Generate. JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design Adelaide, Australia.

·      365 cups, a cup a day. Worth Gallery. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Splash of Colour. South Australian Living Arts festival. Adelaide, Australia.

2012

·      South Australian Emerging Designer Award. JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design. Adelaide, Australia.

2011

·      Overdue: Documentation in the expanded field. The Luke Lindoe Library. Calgary, Canada.

·      Open House. Alberta College of Art and Design. Calgary, Canada.

2010

·      Marion Nicoll Gallery. Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Canada.

·      Vernissage. Glass Artists Gallery. Sydney, Australia.

·      Vernissage. Te Papa. Wellington, New Zealand.

·      Vernissage. Statements Gallery. Napier, New Zealand.

·      Wanganui Arts Review. The Sarjeant Gallery. Wanganui, New Zealand.

2009

·      Patillo. The Sarjeant Gallery.Wanganui, New Zealand.

·      Wanganui Festival of Glass. Wanganui, New Zealand.

·      Re:Fracture. Sculpture Park and Waitakaruru Arboretum. Hamilton, New Zealand.

·      Vernissage. Wanganui Glass School. Wanganui, New Zealand.

2008

·      Wanganui Festival of Glass. Alexander Library. Wanganui, New Zealand.

 

 

Public Collections

 

Wanganui District Council Collection

Wanganui, New Zealand.

 

Doyle and Associates; Accountants

Wanganui, New Zealand.

 

 

Achievements/Grants

 

2016

·      Recipient Creative New Zealand Quick Response Grant.

 

2015

·      Commendation, Kirra Illuminating Glass Award, Melbourne, Australia.

·      Recipient, Vicki Torr Memorial Prize. Australian Glass Conference, Adelaide, Australia.

·      Finalist, Drink, Dine, Design. Adelaide, Australia.

2014

·      Finalist, The Kennedy Prize. Adelaide, Australia.

·      Finalist, Drink, Dine, Design. Adelaide, Australia.

2013

·      Recipient Australian Council Art Start Grant.

·      Commendation, QANTAS Spirit of Youth Awards. Craft and Object Design. Australia.

2012

·      Commendation, QANTAS Spirit of Youth Awards. Craft and Object Design. Australia.

·      Finalist, JamFactory Emerging Designer Prize. Adelaide, Australia.

2009

·      Recipient, Swarbrick Dixon Student Award for Excellence in Glass Sculpture. Hamilton, New Zealand.

·      Finalist, Pattillo Scholarship. Wanganui, New Zealand.

2008

·      Recipient, Wanganui Glass School Scholarship. Wanganui, New Zealand.

 

 

Publications

 

August 2015, MARMALADE issue no.3, Honoring Family, Victoria Kovacs.

 

July 2015, Craftarts International 94, States of Illumination, Dr Gerry King.

 

April 2015, AusGlass Review, George Agius – Vicki Torr Prize, Sharon Harrison.

 

Feb 18th 2015, New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass, Vicki Torr Prize, Kathryn Bartlett.

 

Jan 15th 2015, Canberra Times, Glass X Design Exhibition Review, Kerry-Anne Cousins.

 

Nov 20th 2014, Canberra Times, Glass X Design Concept a Smash Hit, Sally Prior.

 

August 28th 2014, CityMag, Colour Me Happy, Marie Totsikas.