I think that one of the best things about the ambassador program and specifically the blog that we write is that our readers get to follow along with the Ambassadors of the graduate programs at Columbia College Chicago. You get to see how we are progressing through our time here and get a candid view of what it’s like to be enrolled in our programs. That being said, I thought that it would be fun to put the spotlight on one of our Alumni in the Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts, MFA and the former Graduate Ambassador, Hannah King.
While at Columbia College Chicago, Hannah’s practice encompassed all three of the areas offered in the Book and Paper MFA; bookbinding, handmade paper, and letterpress printing. Hannah’s aerialist statement on her website reads,
“Through the use of a diverse range of mediums from hand papermaking to letterpress printing to bookbinding and digital photographic printing, I explore the fragile nature of our personal histories, calling into question notions of reality represented in the absence of an individual.
Loss of personal history is a universal experience. Everyone, through death or mental disintegration, becomes detached from the reality of their lives. Histories left in the hands of relatives or strangers will never truthfully reflect a life. No matter how much we collect photographs, letters, or objects, we can never altogether preserve. The fact of the ephemeral nature of human existence, though sad, is also extraordinarily unifying. My work is ultimately about this; about the mortality we share and the fictions we all inevitably become.”
Her thesis installation was absolutely beautiful. Entitled, Failed Archive, it was a fruition of her artist statement. “Failed Archive is an installation of two dimensional images, sculpture, and text. Failed Archive exposes the viewer to distorted photographic and textual relics of my own familial past and incorporates physically obtrusive sculptural elements representing the deterioration of accurate recollection over time.” The installation was solemn and provoking and very well crafted. I’ll admit that I probably spent the most time at her install during the thesis show last year. It drew me in and kept me engaged.
Hannah is now teaching letterpress and bookbinding at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago.
One of the best things about our program is that it does a good job at supporting you to build an individual art practice while setting you up for success. It is not unusual for alumni of the Interdisciplinary Arts MFA programs to find work after graduating. Often, this work comes in the form of teaching in the arts while being able to maintain an active art practice.
I would like to wish Hannah King all the best luck in her future endeavors and once again congratulate her graduating and carrying on the mission of Columbia College Chicago.