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Tim Wilson

Creative Graduate

UCOL Creative Graduate Tim Wilson next to his artwork, My War.

You wouldn’t necessarily pair search and rescue, an army career, a registered charity and art exhibitions all in one story, but after speaking with Tim Wilson, you realise all these elements are part of an extraordinary journey.

“I signed on to UCOL after a challenging 16 year military career. I wanted an experience that was so far removed from the military environment that I chose to do the Certificate in Art and Design course at the UCOL Whanganui campus.”

“I had grown up in an arts environment and had always had a passion for it, I felt like needed to give it a go and know more about it.”

“Halfway through my certificate I was approached by an aviation company to apply for a job in Papua New Guinea, my curiosity got the better of me and I just had to take a look. The job was a month on/off roster so I had to negotiate with my wonderful UCOL instructors to accommodate my new opportunity around assignment due dates - which they did and I will always be grateful for.”

“Three years later I am still involved, it’s a diverse job with its own set of unique challenges. My Arts and Design qualification has also seen me traveling to Vietnam, Cuba, Panama, Mexico, and the USA. “

While undertaking these other roles, Tim also finds time for a first love – the arts.

“I fell in love with Whanganui and the Arts school as a teenager and knew that I would one-day study Arts there. Since graduating I have had three major art exhibitions, the majority of my work has been in bronze sculpture and print and has been exhibited locally as well as part of an exhibition at the Bowen House Gallery. “

Tim found an added benefit in his pursuit to be an artist and that was the mental and stress release that it gave him following his military career. His work in the arts gave him another outlet to communicate and express himself. 

“A few friends and I were talking about the large number of veterans struggling with life after being in the military – having had our own experiences we wanted to build something that would provide ‘a first response’ to support veterans in crisis or critical need.”

“So we co-founded and continue to manage a registered charitable trust for Veterans and veteran welfare in NZ - No Duff.”

Tim was involved in a major exhibition held in Bowen House (Parliament) this time last year that brought No Duff and his art together.

“The exhibition was a great success and raised a lot of awareness not only for our charity but also for the importance of arts, to the contemporary veteran.”

My War artwork by Tim Wilson
My War artwork by Tim Wilson

“No Duff, has an extensive network of volunteers across New Zealand, hundreds of inquiries have proven the real need out there, and we have just secured funding from PM Jacinda Arden and the government to support No Duff financially for now and into the future”.

“As an artist - what’s next? I want to start experimenting, I will try adding mixed media painting into my repertoire going forward, and I am sure this isn’t the last time my art, military, and charitable career will overlap in the work I produce”.

Tim is pictured above in Cuba.

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