I have exciting news! I will begin my second Chicago residency in less than a month and things will be hectic from day one. A large portion of the low-residency MFA students at SAIC have put together a collaborative pop up show, which will take place on Saturday June 13th in downtown Chicago. I am so excited to be a part of it!
I’ve been home for a few days now and it’s hard for me to grasp that August is already here. I just spent a little over six weeks in Chicago beginning my grad school adventure at the School of the Art Institute and it was crazy. This is the inaugural year for the Low-Residency MFA program at SAIC so a few things were figured out along the way and we were asked to give a lot of feedback on our experiences.
My class consists of 37 amazingly talented individuals from all over the world, of all different ages, and with a range of experiences. One of my favorite parts of the program was getting to know them and learning about the work they do. Several of the students are also art teachers so I had lots of conversations with them about the challenges of maintaining an art practice while teaching full time.
The 6-week residency was super intense because there was so much going on all the time. I took a total of 9 credits during the residency and then there were workshops, authorizations (so we had access to different resources), local artist lectures, visiting artist lectures, meetings, critiques, museum visits, etc. Of course I also had to find time to work in my studio, so you can see in my calendar how I blocked off most of my free time for that:
I can’t give an adequate summary of the residency without leaving out a lot of important things, so I’m just going to make a few points and then I’ll elaborate on those in future posts.
- I’m the third youngest student in my class (the average age is mid-30s I think) and I was constantly surprised/inspired by the level of thinking I was surrounded by. The discussions and conversations were so intellectual and the questions and ideas I was constantly confronted with were mostly things I had never thought of before. I often felt overwhelmed and I did a lot more listening/thinking/reflecting than speaking.
- One of my biggest reasons for going back to school was so that I could get feedback on my work from lots of other artists. Something I’ll talk a lot about soon is the use of sugar in my work. I don’t experiment much with non-traditional materials, but I was talking to one of the other students early on in the residency and he suggested I try painting with sugar. Why sugar? Well it makes a lot of sense actually, and I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself. I was doing research on diabetes myths and also thinking about my childhood and how I and also other people thought about diabetes. The idea of sugar came up frequently and it wasn’t until I had that conversation that I actually thought about using sugar as a painting medium. More on that later though.
- Conceptual vs. Formal. This is something I thought about constantly in Chicago and I’m still thinking about it. I would definitely call myself a formal artist, but I’ve been venturing into the realm of conceptual art and it’s something that scares me. Again, that’s a conversation for another day.
- Living in a big city was an experience in itself. I loved Chicago, but living downtown had its ups and downs and I can’t see myself living there for much longer than six weeks. The noise was something that took me a while to get used to, but the food was amazing <3
- Faculty + Local Artists + Visiting Artists: it was incredible being in the company of such passionate and successful artists. I learned so much from them.
- Aside from the sugar discovery, my “Yes” wall was an important turning point for me and I will dedicate an entire post to that.
Overall, I had an amazing experience and I feel like I grew significantly as an artist. I’m still in a state of transition and life slowed down quite dramatically when I came home, but I’m glad to be back and I look forward to continuing my studio practice and interacting with my classmates and teachers online :] Thanks for reading!
So I meant to write this a lot earlier, but I’ve been so busy! I arrived in Chicago on Saturday morning and since then the days have been blending together. I’m loving the city so far, although I’m still getting used to the noisy nights and the crazy drivers. There is so much to do and see here, it’s a little overwhelming. So anyway, here’s a brief rundown of my experience so far in Chicago and The School of the Art Institute.
I’m living on campus for the six-week residency, and the dorm rooms are incredibly spacious. Each room has a kitchen and bathroom as well (they’re supposed to feel like apartments):
I’ve also received my studio assignment, but I’ll share pictures of that in a separate post when I’m a bit more settled in.
The schedule so far has been pretty hectic. We had a long orientation on Monday where we were welcomed by the dean of the school and many other faculty members. We also toured the campus and learned about a lot of the resources that the school offers. Today I had my first class and also attended a poetry reading by Nathanaël, a well-known writer and translator.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I hope to accomplish here, and mostly I want to produce a lot of work and get a lot of feedback. The students in this program are so awesome–we’re a very diverse group. There are people from all over the world, of all different ages, with different levels of experience and it’s been really inspiring to get to know them. I’m looking forward to getting feedback from both them and the faculty.
I’ll share more details whenever I get a chance, but I think my posts for the next few weeks will consist mostly of photos. Tomorrow I will get into the studio and start making work so I’ll share some works in progress soon. Thanks for reading :]
Hey guys! I have two exciting things to talk about. I mentioned both of these things in my last post, and as promised, I’m here to give you more info.
First of all, I finally opened my Etsy shop! I spent many, many hours working on things to make it as “official” as possible. I listed several items that I’ve had done for months now, but I also created a collection of pieces just for the opening (The Dragonfruit Collection if you want to check it out). I also came up with a logo design and hand-printed it onto tags for the clothing. My sisters and I even modeled the clothes, which was really fun :] Right now I just have clothing (and one tote bag) for sale, but I’ll be putting up small drawings and paintings in the near future.
You can check out all the excitement HERE
My second announcement is that I’m having an art show in August in downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia. My work will be displayed in Larkin Arts for the whole month of August. Larkin Arts is a really cute school/store/gallery/studio that just opened last year. I’m so excited to show my work there. The opening reception will take place on Friday August 2nd from 5-8pm and the work will be on display until Tuesday September 3rd. The gallery hours are 11am-7pm Mon-Sat (they’re closed on Sundays).
The work that I’ll be showing is once again a collection of dress pieces that reflect my life with Type 1 Diabetes. Some of the pieces were included in my last show, but I’ve also been working on new things since then. If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it! I’ll be there for the duration of the opening reception.
Bonus announcement: I’m going to be in another magazine! More info on that later :] Have a great day!
For the past 4 months, I was blessed to have the opportunity to display six of my paintings in Duo, a clothing store in downtown Harrisonburg. Duo offers a very stylish selection of clothes, bags, jewelry, shoes, and so on and they also buy gently used clothing. They participate in the First Friday events downtown and try to have new artwork each time. They love having student artwork. I was asked to be the artist for November last year and gladly accepted the offer. I ended up leaving my art up for the months of December, January, and February as well because First Fridays die down a little during the winter months. I felt super fortunate to have my art up longer because that just means more chances for people to see it. A huge thanks to Sam and everyone else at Duo!