I’m a very creative person, but you might not think it based on what I study. I’m in my final year of a Master of Nursing Science Degree – and I’m always surprised at how often visual arts draws parallels with my academic studies.

The false dichotomy between science and the arts has always annoyed me. To me, science is an art that requires creativity, perseverance, patience and skilled observation. The arts require rigour, discipline, practice, and attention to detail. They are both used for the purposes of enrichment and revolution; they have so much in common.

Little things like formatting documents and visual presentations are often under prioritised in academia, but in my experience the first thing to be noticed by audiences and potential employers is the visual presentation of a project. The main skill I bring to group projects is in the final editing of presentation as I believe that the battle is half won once you’ve captivated an audience.

As a regular user of the 1888 Building, where GSA is based, I found out about last year’s inaugural Art Prize from the posters that were all over the building. I loved the idea of an Art Prize that was open to students whose primary discipline wasn’t visual art, because lots of students choose to pursue their artistic interests outside of their studies.

The painting I entered for the prize depicts my cat, Vivo (who is sitting on my lap as I type this!) riding on the back of a large dog.

My friend Fil and I have a running joke where he’s a large dog and I’m a small cat, based on our personalities. He is such an important part of my life: he keeps me motivated, supports me, and redirects me when I lose my way. My painting depicts us moving through life together, Onward Bound.

I was sitting in Auckland airport with my family when I received the news that I had won the prize. I’d been frantically checking my phone for updates over the whole weekend as I had been unable to attend the exhibition and awards night.

When I heard the news, I was ecstatic. I immediately called Fil in Melbourne to break the news, and with about five minutes until I had to board the plane I almost missed my flight.

I don’t think I stopped grinning for the rest of the week. I kept refreshing the Facebook post to make sure I hadn’t imagined the whole thing!

The 2017 Art Prize is now open for entries!

 Find out more at https://gsa.unimelb.edu.au/art-prize