Alumni post: Danny Sgro (PDVA, 2007; MVA, 2008)
In our guest post series, we invite alumni, staff and current students to reflect on their time with the VCA. Here, alumnus and private tutor Danny Sgro looks back on his student days in the Master of Visual Arts and Postgraduate of Visual Arts programs.
Danny Sgro (PDVA, 2007; MVA, 2008) completed his postgraduate qualifications at the VCA and a GradDip.Ed at Victoria University. He is currently completing a Graduate Certificate of Orientation and Mobility at Vision Australia.
Danny works as a private tutor, tutoring in all aspects of essay writing, planning, time management, folio preparation, CVs and interview skills.
Following is a reflection from Danny on his time in the Master of Visual Arts course.
My VCA days:
I first came into contact with the VCA in late 2006. I was completing my final year of a Bachelor of Arts at ACU, I did five minor art units at the end of which it was suggested that I apply for some art schools. I applied and was accepted in Monash Fine Arts (Honours) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts (GDVA) at VCA. I knocked back Monash and accepted a place in 2007 at VCA.
The PDVA was sold at that stage as a ‘benevolent’ qualification – for those returning to study with years out of the game, or like me for those who wanted to explore the world of art.
I maintain that I got in because I tirelessly pestered all the heads of the departments daily for weeks before and weeks after my interview – in the most diplomatic sense of the word.
I was given the notorious Kelly Space, a subdivided space amongst PGDVA’ers and MVA’ers. We were a mixed bunch and I wasted no time in aggravating almost all of the members in my space. I filled my area with busted monitors which were electrical hazards, I drenched my area in watercolour, acrylic and ink and didn’t wipe it out so the place smelled dank, and I used other people’s spaces when they were out. I also acted like a big, loud, spoilt child.
Many of us who came through the PGDVA entered the MVA together in 2008 at which point alliances and ‘frenemies’ had been long established. In short the remainder of the class of 2007 were comfortable with each other, and we made friends quickly with the new arrivals.
In 2008 I:
- I flooded the emergency exit of the Sturt street gates with plaster which gave a certain sculpture lecturer a heart attack, and;
- Levelled my studio mates’ space, toppling his cupboard and destroying his work with my partition (which fell under the weight of a solid plaster cast of a bed frame).
The VCA has shaped me because I feel like I had an experience which though turbulent, hectic and stressful at times was worthwhile and meaningful because leaving the VCA gives you the confidence to self-appraise your work.
I can’t incriminate my peers or lecturers – they all have international reputations to maintain – but I would like to give a shout out to Sam Muratore who through his tireless work helps those who don’t possess great technical ability realise their projects and gain useful skills which will undoubtedly serve their future practice.
My most enduring memory of the VCA came years after my departure, when walking an MFA student back to the grounds from the Sturt street entrance from the Malthouse. We were looking on at a group of 18-20 year olds walking in. One had a freakishly large afro, the other had cropped bleach blonde hair, there were piercings and Chuck Taylors in the mix and someone may have even been wearing faded pink denim. My friend said to me ‘See that group?’ He smiled and continued, ‘Not much has changed since the 70s apparently.’ Referring to a prior conversation he had with an older supervisor, which confirms that the attitude or rep the VCA maintains survives the ages.
A version of this article originally appeared on Channel, the Faculty’s previous publishing platform.