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Jono Cuff

Bachelor of Design and Arts Graduate

A photograph of UCOL Bachelor of Design and Arts Graduate Jono Cuff.

Jono Cuff has always had an artistic side, but it was at UCOL where Visual Arts really turned into his passion and he developed his own personal style.

Jono had spent years working in mechanical engineering, however a serious motorcycle accident meant he wasn’t able to continue to do that kind of physical fulltime work anymore.

“I was at a crossroads. I didn’t really know what to do because all of the experience I had in the workforce was physical. So I started to look into what I wanted to do, instead of what I had to do,” says Jono. 

He had always been artistic and drew a lot while growing up, so he enrolled in UCOL’s Certificate in Arts and Design in Whanganui while he figured out his next step.

“I fell back in love with Art during the Certificate programme and discovered I still had a fair bit of talent for it even though I hadn’t been practicing.”

Jono was hooked, and has since worked his way through the Bachelor of Design and Arts, and is now continuing his studies at UCOL with the Postgraduate Diploma of Design.

Jono approached the Bachelor of Design and Arts with his passion for drawing, but his areas of interest changed as he was exposed to more disciplines. 

“The programme exposes you to a wide range of artistic disciplines. I’ve discovered things about myself and my ability that I did not know existed. I got into painting, so I shifted my focus to that, but by the end of year one I shifted again when I really fell in love with sculpture.”

“The programme gave me such a broad understanding of art disciplines, and insight into art history and what people are doing now.”

“I’ve found my passion, which is working with glass. Being able to work in the New Zealand Glassworks hot shop has been a real highlight.”

Over the three years of the degree Jono found his own style, which is mixed media sculpture combining glass and steel, which incorporates his industrial background.

“The thing I like about sculpture is that I get to utilise my experience working in engineering and welding, working with heavy steel, and using calculations to figure out how structures are made. It’s like a second go at life for me.”     

“The beautiful thing about glass is that the glass community doesn’t say ‘No, we can’t do that’. The ethos is, ‘How do we achieve that?’ or ‘Let’s try it and see what happens’.

In the long-term, Jono wants to gain his Master of Design and work as a fulltime artist. 

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