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Deakin Visual Arts graduate, Carisa Lee, says combining her passion for artistic expression with her work in the aged and disability care industries has proven to be very rewarding.
"My employment duties are varied, I am currently juggling six different employment roles. These include being a Disability Support Worker (Arts Connection: Theatre and Visual Arts Programming), Activities Assistant (Aged Care), Personal Care Attendant (Aged Care), Creative Arts Tutor (Adult Education & Gallery Workshops), Gallery Assistant and Artist & Designer."
"I am lucky as I work with a range of personalities, age groups and abilities which have had a really positive impact on my outlook on life. I learn so much from my students, residents and clients' unique life experiences. I also have the luxury of still being able to continue my artistic pursuits through my varied roles and can develop my own creative practices."
" My primary duty, particularly in respect to my aged and disabled care roles, is to ensure my patients and clients are respected and their rights and needs are advocated. I endeavour to enrich their lives through artistic and creative expression by promoting activities such as armchair exercises and dancing, football, bingo, community outings, concerts, musical afternoons, knitting, church services, creative arts and gardening, to name only a few. With students undertaking the Adult Education Program my main goal is to ensure their creative exploration of the formal qualities of art, drawing and painting."
An academic star, Carisa graduated from Deakin Warrnambool in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Fine Arts Studio and Graphic Arts. Carisa was inducted into the Deakin Golden Key National Honour Society during her final year in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements.
Above all, this talented artist's true passion lies in the world of art. Carisa specialises in painting landscapes using acrylic on canvas and is about to embark on her fourth solo exhibition later this year. Her previously critically-acclaimed exhibits including Petula Ra, Multum in Pravo and Peripheral Nature.
"I focus on local scenes because I want to capture the beauty of the area where I live. Acrylic paint is my medium of choice as it enables me to efficiently portray the vivid tonal layers of the light and land."
"My paintings have been particularly inspired by the works of Eugene Von Guerard, Tom Roberts and other Heidleberg School and contemporary artists."
Carisa credits her family and her course in helping her to forge a career in the arts.
"The visual and musical arts have always been my ultimate passions. My parents encouraged me to follow my heart in terms of study and career, which led me to choose visual arts for my tertiary study at Deakin. The course at the Warrnambool Campus was the most appealing as it offered the opportunity to combine majors in fine art and graphic design, located on a campus that has naturally beautiful scenery, which was inspiring for my artistic mind."
"I would highly recommend Deakin as a great place to study. The peer networking and the ability to work in my own studio space was excellent. Since graduating I've missed the daily access to the range of creative practices and viewpoints offered by my fellow students and lecturers."
"Majoring in fine arts and undertaking the study of visual theory has given me more faith in my overall artistic practice and a greater confidence to regularly expose my works in the public domain," Carisa explains.
Carisa says that she has experienced many career highlights over the last three years.
"Some of my highlights since graduating have been - seeing my Arts Connection clients receive rave reviews for a recent theatrical performance and art exhibition at Costa Hall in Geelong, counting down the days to the birthday of one of my patients who recently celebrated 101 years young, undertaking three solo exhibitions since graduating and receiving a People's Choice Award for a painting I did of Lake Purrumbete at sunrise at a recent Hospital Auxiliary charity event."
As for the future Carisa is planning to commece postgraduate soon.
"I want to pursue my interest and enjoyment of working in the field of health care by undertaking further study at the University - most likely in nursing and psychology. I will also continue to develop and promote my own artistic practice through regular exhibitions and freelancing in children's book illustration," she said.
A strong supporter of the Deakin Alumni Community, Carisa encourages all graduates to join and take advantage of the great membership opportunities.
Carisa currently works with The Gordon TAFE in Geelong.