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CIT Visual Art Course Takes Leanne's Artistic Career Beyond her Imagination

Published: 08 Oct 2015

Leanne Pope
Leanne Pope - studying Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development. Image sourced from Facebook.

Leanne Pope is living proof that an artist's career, like their art, is often only limited by how far the imagination can stretch.

Needing to find a more settled career and lifestyle, she took the plunge to study visual art at CIT, despite her father's warning that art is 'not a real career'. For Leanne, it was simply a matter of following what she loved to do.

Having always been very private about her creative practice, she said it was a bit challenging at first to share her drawings and writings.

"Art is very personal. To show someone your own work, you need a lot of confidence," she says.

She says CIT has helped her develop that confidence, especially through connecting her with professionals in the art world and the encouragement and guidance of the teachers, which has had a positive snowball effect on her practice.

"Everyone is really generous with their knowledge. CIT has shown me how to better my skills and follow through with it by showing me different pathways to pursue and how to make a career in art real.

"It's great to see results. When you see results, it's much easier to go on. I don't think I loved art as much as I do now since coming to CIT. It lit the fire for me," she says.

Leanne is completing the Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development, a specialist qualification focused on providing skills to hone a creative pursuit and turn it into something marketable, which she says is "amazing".

Already, Leanne is a feature writer for Canberra art and culture magazine Big Ink, and owns a business dedicated to designing artworks and publishing books that are auctioned off by a range of charities as a fundraising activity - to mention just a couple of her current pursuits.

She is also one of 11 CIT visual arts students selected to travel to Beijing, partnering with the Beijing Institute of Fashion and Photography for an international study experience from 11 October. The study experience is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education's VET Outbound Mobility Program.

Asked what she's looking forward to about the trip, her immediate response is a little surprising.

"I'm going to go hiking!" She says excitedly, explaining the study element of the trip will be self-directed, and she'll be focusing on landscape.

She's also looking forward to taking bamboo ink lessons, hoping to incorporate this skill and cultural heritage into her next book.

It's all quite exciting for a girl who once held her art diary and musings so close to her chest. She admits she couldn't have foreseen some of her successful endeavours before enrolling to study.

"I wouldn’t have imagined publishing a book. I wouldn’t have shown anyone my writing, let alone promote it!"

Leanne's experience does seem to validate her strong belief that it’s worth putting effort into whatever you set your heart on.

"You have to believe in yourself. You have to try!" she enthuses.

Find Leanne's artwork on her Facebook page.