It has begun. Semester number two at Columbia College Chicago. It has been a long break, but now it’s time to get back to work. I am taking three classes this semester: Art and Science Collaborations, In and On the Page, and the required Art as Practice. Art as Practice will culminate in critique week, which will be our first go at it. Essentially, everyone gives an artist talk and presents the work that they have worked on during the semester. I’m not letting myself get stressed out about that for a few more weeks.
I am probably the most excited about my other two classes, to be completely honest. Art and Science Collaborations deals with the intersection between, well, art and science. The class is mostly populated by Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA students, save for two Book and Paper MFA folks. It’s one of the great things about there being three programs in the Interdisciplinary Arts Department. It gives us a chance to collaborate and explore ideas in new ways with a different set of peers. It’s this intermingling that I feel makes these programs special.
In and On the Page is going to explore different printing processes that can be incorporated into the process of paper sheet formation. There is going to be some traditional approaches, such as watermarking and inclusion, but we will also be doing some more experimental stuff. Probably the most exciting approach is this process where we will print on a sheet using a special kind of ink, then throw that sheet into the beater and turn it to pulp. The ink is supposed to release off of the page but still hold its shape. Then you pull a sheet from that pulp, and you get free firm letterpress floating through the sheet. So exciting!
That brings me back to Art as Practice. I guess the main thing that this class is supposed to prepare us for, aside from Crit Week/presentations, is to prepare us for being artists in the outside world. There is going to be a heavy emphasis on proposal writing and the business side of art making, something that I always wished would have been even talked about in my undergraduate studies. On top of that, there will be lots of studio practice.
This semester is promising to be a lot of work and very time consuming. I am so glad that I moved closer to campus and am only thirty minutes away via the green line L. Gaining three hours to my daily schedule is going to grant me so much more working time for the tons of articles that I will be reading in Art/Science, building a body of work, and preparing my presentation for Crit Week. Thankfully, my cohort is trying to stick together though this semester, and we are going to try and meet up once a week to do informal critiques and collectively prepare ourselves. The key to this semester is going to be staying positive. It’s going to be a very busy one.