Blueprint for the future

The ever-burning question…'how do I get my work out there'? This is a worry that echoes in the minds of all emerging artists. JCU’s New Media Arts student Fred Williams chats to budding artist Kate Grenenger about the up-coming Blueprint Exhibition and what the opportunity to exhibit her work means to her.

One of the biggest problems for emerging artists is getting their work ‘out there’ into the public eye and in front of possible buyers. To help soon-to-graduate New Media students achieve this goal, James Cook University has partnered with Pinnacles Gallery at Riverway Arts Centre to host a multimedia exhibition for third-year students.

Called Blueprint, the exhibition is the culmination of a year of work by Creative Arts and Media students and will put their multimedia talents (including photography, painting, sculpture and sound installations) firmly in the spotlight.

Talents such as those of Kate Grenenger, who has created horror-themed holograms for an anthology of spooky stories, called Omens, by the Townsville Speculative Fiction group. Kate got the idea from Star Wars and the scene where Princess Leia leaves a holographic message for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“I remember watching the hologram of Princess Leia begging ‘Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope!’ and being fascinated by the projected image of her,” Kate says. “It got me wondering if something like that would be possible in the future…”

To manifest her vision, Kate used Adobe After Effects to create a single computer-generated image of the omen at the heart of each horror story. She then duplicated the image four times on an iPad and projected all of the images into an acrylic pyramid to achieve a three-dimensional effect.

Having spent months of trial-and-error testing to get the holograms to work, Kate is now looking forward to showing off the fruits of her labour at Blueprint.

“For me, this project has been a crazy journey of self-discovery,” says Kate, who aspires to be an international horror writer one day and has written one of the 13 stories in Omens (Broken Home). “I’m a massive horror fan – if its gory or slasher, I love it.”

Kate with the anthology of short, spooky stories - Omens.

Kate Grenenger pictured with Omens. Source: Kylie Davis

But Kate’s fascination for all things horror-related goes deeper than enjoying the girlie screams and gore. When her father died in 2012, Kate was left with a sense of longing that fuelled an interest in ‘the other side’.

“It opened me to up to the idea of ghosts and paranormal activity,” Kate says. “The idea that people who have passed are still around in some way…”

And it’s this ‘there but not there’ concept Kate experimented with in the creation of her computer-generated holograms to complement Omens, which will be printed in the near future. “A book is not just a book. It’s way more than that – it’s a way of experiencing something that’s not actually there,” Kate says.

“And the holograms take that idea one step further. When you poke your fingers into the acrylic pyramid, you can feel there’s absolutely nothing there… but you can still see the image.” While the book itself is certainly a work of art, Kate’s computer-generated holograms further capture the imagination and show off the digital skills she has learned as part of her degree.

JCU New Media lecturer Vicki Salisbury, who many will remember from her days as Director of the Umbrella Studio, has been keeping a close eye on her students as they prepare for the exhibition opening.

“As well as creating original new works for the exhibition, the students are tasked with managing all of the administrative aspects from fundraising to promotion, curating the show, catering, design, installation and sending out the invites,” Vicki says.

“There are 33 students in the exhibition who have a wide variety of specialties – we have film makers, sound engineers, musicians, photographers, designers and illustrators. So the key here is that you’ll be seeing a range of new media work.”

Kate, who is a part of the Artistic Content team, says she’s learnt a great deal from taking a hands-on role in the exhibition’s production. “If you don’t keep on top of the job list it grows out of control very quickly,” Kate says. “I’ve learnt so much about working as a group, time management and the processes involved in putting on a show for the public.”

Kate’s also looking forward to having her work seen by not only the public but also industry insiders on the look-out for fresh talent. “It’s exciting to think that Blueprint gives me a chance to have my work seen by local creatives,” Kate says.

“This is my chance to network with people who are already established in the industry and show them what I can do.”


The Blueprint 2017 Graduate Exhibition is on at Pinnacles Gallery, Riverway Arts Centre, Townsville, from 7th to 29th October.