So here I am, in the second year of my MFA program and still trying to figure out what it all means. Admittedly, I feel much more self-assured and at ease than I did upon newly embarking on the journey of graduate school, but I am still actively working toward piecing it all together conceptually on a daily basis. How do the things I’m drawn to make interrelate? In all honesty, I’m not quite sure yet. Nonetheless, I feel more productive than ever and, in turn, all the more invigorated to find out.
My mind has been in a constant state of motion since the start of the semester. Undertaking two studio courses concurrently has yielded an unprecedented creative output for me. This productivity, moreover, has presented both its fair share of challenges and rewards. I’ve faced head-on the test of creating work in a mere week’s span and experienced–quite unexpectedly–the gratification of seeing work I’m truly proud of, which I can credit in part to not over-thinking the process. After all, invention is borne of necessity.
The above image was taken from a work I produced in my Conceptual Strategies course, in which I’ve been exposed to critical approaches for producing work, from deliberate list-making to chance operations. It’s a refreshing change of pace to have some constraints to the practice of art-making, as counter-intuitive as that may seem. Through this course, I’ve been given license to create work without the limitation of my own preconceived notions and expectations.
While I’ve largely used the course to continue my exploration of drawing-centered work, it has also introduced me to new technical skills that are changing and informing my creative practice. For instance, a few weeks into the course, one class session was spent learning simple book-making techniques and structures. In the following week, I applied this newly acquired skill toward producing my first-ever book.
In this same spirit of trying new things, I’ve undertaken performance and video work in my Body, Space, and Image course. Never one to portray myself as subject normally, I’ve cast that discomfort aside in the interest of further conceptual development. I’m thinking about the same ideas that already interest me, but exploring them through a different medium is giving them a breath of new life. Though it’s nerve-racking to be critiqued on work that falls outside of my typical area of proficiency, it’s at once exhilarating and enlivening too.
Finally, in this semester of firsts for me there’s yet another first left to address–curation. This likely will require a post all its own at a future date, but for now I can share that I’ve created my first call for artists and am waiting in a still anticipation to see what sort of response it engenders from the Columbia student community. As I await that result and–indeed–the result of all of my nascent efforts this semester, I feel the best thing I can do is to continue working with, pushing, and exploring the new set of tools now at my disposal.