Interview with jack carden

Interview By Lily Mirfin (she/her)

I’d been following Jack on TikTok before I realised that his room looked very familiar for some reason. It was College House. Little did I know that the wildly popular artist with over 400K followers on TikTok and 59K followers on Instagram was at that point a fresher living in College House. It blew my little Christchurch mind away that one of our fellow students is achieving in an area that the university often overlooks.   

The Fine Arts kids at UC are a small minority at UC where it sometimes feels like every other student is studying engineering. Studying an arts-based degree at UC was never a possibility I considered; I always assumed any arts kids go to Wellington or Auckland. But not to UC. So, when I started here and discovered that this was all in my head, I was pleasantly surprised. We have so many creatives here at UC who are producing high-quality work. Jack is a great example of this accomplished force at UC.   

I spoke to Jack over zoom two weeks before classes started back and had a good chat about how he grew this following.   

Lily: Hi, Jack! Thanks for agreeing to speak with me today.  

Jack: No worries. 

Lily: What made you decide to come to UC?  

Jack: I’m from Auckland originally, and I was tempted to go to Wellington. I was also tempted to go to Elam at the University of Auckland. But I decided after visiting UC and seeing College House specifically that it was a good choice. The art school and environment seemed inspiring in a way in comparison to others which were just in a city with big, tall buildings. I’ve always had a fascination for architecture, and that was why UC was inspiring. I really just wanted to go somewhere new and inspiring, where I would meet new people.   

Lily: What made you start creating TikToks?  

Jack: I always tried to make it on YouTube as a kid; the most I ever got was 1000 views. I started making TikToks at the start of lockdown, and my first video got half a million views. After lockdown, once I was back at College House, I tried to get another video to blow up. Eventually, I posted some of my art and the architecture video of UC, which was well received. So, it’s only been an art TikTok account for a few months.  

Lily: Any words of wisdom for students who have creative ambitions?  

Jack: To be constantly working. I’m pretty much always creating art or content in my spare time. If you want to get your stuff out there, TikTok is a super powerful tool. In New Zealand, there’s not a huge amount of competition if you’re creative, so it’s definitely worth doing.   

Lily: Where do you see TikTok taking you? 

Jack: It’s my goal to have a gallery show in New York City, so hopefully, it helps me get closer to that.  

Congratulations to Jack for capitalising on this rapidly growing platform. Jack regularly sells his artwork and recently started incorporating some of his art into a clothing line. Check out his social media for more details or to get more information about purchasing his work.  

Instagram @jack.carden.art 

TikTok @pamiathat