There have been so many times over the past year that I’ve had the opportunity to take a moment to pause and reflect about how quickly my views on life and art making are changing. It’s waking up mid-transformation to witness your own evolution. Maybe that’s what summer breaks are made for.
Looking back on my life so far, I see that I’ve often created needless divisions between my life and my art. In the past, even on the most basic level, I juggled a “day job” that I hated with my dream of being a rich successful artist. I would spend my days putting in hours to afford that basics to survive and then go home and spend my nights making art. I’d fantasize about a time when I could make a living as an artist anytime of the day. This magical distant version of me as a successful and rich artist was always off in the future. I’d dream about it, but I’d still set my alarm for something else completely.
Taking the leap and coming to graduate school was a huge step for me. It was a massive action that rejected my less than stellar status quo and allowed me to commit to creating the dream life I want. I’ve learned that was just the first step of many. With each subsequent step I take I’m learning more about myself as and artist and entrepreneur.
It recently occurred to me that I’d fallen back into some of my old habits during my first year. I’d been making a huge body of work outside of the program AND also a second body of work within the program. Both bodies of work are totally interconnected and vital to one another, they just hadn’t merged. I started thinking about how as artists and creatives we are often made to feel our dreams are impossible – that we are often told that we should find a sensible job or make work “that sells.” It’s easy to downgrade your passion into a hobby in order to live up to some societal idea of happiness.
In my experience going to graduate school and pursuing a terminal degree in art causes people to finally appreciate your level of seriousness and action…for a couple seconds. As an example, my former co-worker knew I was an artist and when I told him I was going to get an MFA he paused and said “WOW, that’s amazing! I can’t even draw a stick figure! So what are you going to do when you finish?”
It’s my hope that if you decide to commit to pursing your Masters and you’re passionate about art and living that amazing life that you dream of – then you consider graduate school as a time to undivide. A time to be exactly what you want to be, to play, to explore, and to learn things that completely change everything. For me, Columbia College Chicago had the most to offer in terms of the things I knew I wanted and the things I didn’t know anything about. This fall I’ll be taking an Entrepreneurship and New Business Creation class in the Business and Entrepreneurship department. I’m totally beyond excited for this next step and the chance to undivide some more.