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Innovating your future through creative arts

Art and design student standing with painting of woman

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Words
Cloe Jager
Published
22 March 2024

From drawing stick figures to showcasing their art in galleries and exhibitions, River Mueller has found their path through art and design.

But they had to take a few detours before finding the right road.

“I originally enrolled in a more traditional Bachelor and it never felt quite right,” River said. “When I studied my first creative unit, it blew the lid off my world. I received my first High Distinction and it didn’t even feel like I had to work for it.”

River’s lecturer encouraged them to continue pursuing creative projects and with that permission, they decided to enrol into Southern Cross University’s Bachelor of Art and Design.

“I started art and design with no creative skills whatsoever. The lecturers were so amazing and taught me that art isn’t actually about your creative skills; it’s about your ideas and how you bring those ideas into the world,” River said.

“The themes of my work focus on identity, social geography and humanitarian issues. They’re really abstract and complex ideas and this course has showed me that it’s okay to allow that to come out.

“After my first year, my skills as a creative artist skyrocketed.”

River’s artwork is now being shown in the Northern Rivers Community Gallery at Ballina and has been included in numerous exhibitions across the Far North Coast.

“Studying art and design at Southern Cross has taught me that my path changes every day and that is beautiful because we live in a world that requires flexibility and innovation.”

Student standing in front of learning centre at Lismore

River is now hoping their art will help others to feel seen and heard.

“I use art as a way to process my grief about things that are happening in the world. Art allows me to take those feelings and put them into an object or an image that people can look at and share that grief,” River said.

“It’s sending a message that I’m listening and I care about these world events,” they said.

“I think also growing up as a queer person, you understand what it means to not see yourself in the media and to be left behind.”

After graduating, River aspires to launch a photography magazine exploring queer identity and storytelling before continuing their education journey to become a lecturer of fine arts.

“I get to be an innovator of my own future,” River said. “I get to design it myself. Whether that’s doing illustration, photography, working in art galleries or a corporate setting.

“Studying art and design at Southern Cross has taught me that my path changes every day and that is beautiful because we live in a world that requires flexibility and innovation.”

Learn more about studying creative arts.

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