Teen artist bound for Fiji
THERE are two things Venus Bay’s Jacqui Connell is passionate about – art and surf.
The 19 year old set out to mix her two interests together by turning surfboards into works of art. She was thrilled with the response she received on Facebook and is now busily designing beautiful surfboard artworks.
Her artwork began as scribbling for a hobby but has grown into a love for technical drawing. She studied design in Year 12 at Wonthaggi Secondary College, which helped her excel.
“My nan is pretty artistic and I’ve always loved it. I researched what I should use and different designs before starting work on the surfboards. My mum told me about a shop that sells local artwork, so I’m hoping to make a collection and sell my work there,” Jacqui said.
“I have four surfboards at the moment and I plan to find more.”
One of the surfboards she received was rich with history – it appeared in a surf movie by ACMI, which was produced on Phillip Island.
Signed by locals who attended the premiere, Bass Coast Shire Council’s youth planning and policy officer Geraldine Archibald passed on the surfboard to Jacqui on one condition – she take it with her on her once in a lifetime journey to Fiji.
Jacqui was the recipient of a youth scholarship through council and Foundation for Young Australians. The scholarship was for the Young Australians Experience Asia volunteer placement program, which will give her the opportunity to work with a marine conservation in Fiji for three months.
“Geraldine asked me to take photos of the surfboard in Fiji and put them up on Facebook as part of my journey. This will give the surfboard more significant history,” Jacqui said.
“The plan is to draw a Fijian theme on it while I’m away and ride it over there.”
Jacqui will leave for Fiji in September. She chose the destination because of her love for the water.
“We could go to places like Nepal, Laos and Thailand and there were other volunteer opportunities like working with children, elephants or being in a disaster relief team. I deliberated my options for a long time,” she said.
“I work as a lifeguard at the local outdoor pools and I play for the national underwater hockey team, so the opportunity in Fiji was perfect for me. I will be helping to preserve things like coral, wildlife and shipwrecks.”
The Australian underwater hockey team took her to Hungary, which gave her the travel bug.
“It was amazing; I just wanted to keep travelling. I couldn’t believe it when I was selected for the scholarship and I’m excited to go,” she said.
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