And just like that, it’s finals time! In a mere matter of days I can officially say that I’m *halfway* through grad school. I have to admit, it’s crazy to think about what is still yet to come (THESIS) and surreal to think about what’s already been accomplished. Instead of reminiscing or getting too far ahead of myself I’ll stay in the moment for this blog post and talk about the life consuming force that is FINALS.
The past week has basically been a blur of to-do lists and walking freezing wind. I finished one final yesterday, I’m almost done with another, and I have one more that needs lots more work. This fall, I’ve noticed that I enjoy the flow of the semester. Don’t get me wrong, these final weeks are a ton work with so many details and stressful unexpected plot twists (my scanner is officially dead). But it’s really rewarding to see so much finished work emerge all at once and have my vision become reality. OK so, without further ado, here is what I’ve been working on:
A Test of Endurance
In The Body we’ve been studying the history of performance art and exploring embodied experiences. Over the course of the semester everyone in the class has completed three separate performances. My final performance was last week and was a test of endurance. My performance lasted 5 hours and 4 minutes. I created a sort of hybrid form by combining my interests in collage and improvisation. I’ve also started to investigate the ways I use systems and constraints in my practice. I’m drawn to habit based practices whether it’s a daily collage practice or the creation of work that utilizes a very specific set of organizing principles and processing information. For my final piece I made nine 18×24 inch collages using 3 newspapers from the day of my performance while watching Fox News for 5 hours and 4 minutes. It was utterly exhausting.
In Print Media we have been focusing on learning letterpress and offset printing. Both of these techniques take years to master, so I treated my semester long class as a introduction and space to experiment and play. When I got an idea for a piece, however small, I just went with it and made it. I set aside one day each week to put in studio time. I’m nowhere near mastery, but I feel more proficient and I’ll be incorporating these processes into my upcoming work. Columbia’s print facilities are really amazing and the staff is always incredibly supportive and interested in what you’re working on. This semester—besides putting in serious time in the letterpress studio—I’ve used the laser cutter in the fabrication lab. For my letterpress final I made a book out of a set of surreal writings I did in the moments between sleep and waking. For my offset final I made a zine using collages created by dissecting various topics in a fashion magazine from December 2017. Beyond my finals I made a series of broadsides that explored topics such as Artificial Intelligence and family truism.
In my Entrepreneurship and New Business Creation course my final consisted of giving a 20 minute presentation about the venture I’ve been developing all semester. In this course we learned the process and research need to make an idea into a business. I choose to focus on developing my art career and I developed a tangible product using my artwork that will be on the market in early 2018. This class was challenging because it forced me to think about business and my career in a way that is not often discussed in my studio classes. Considering target markets and factors of production is not something that generally gets discussed at critiques. I found this shift to be really refreshing. I can’t say that in the studio I’m making thinking about the marketability of the piece but I will say that I’ve gained a much greater understanding and insight into the business skills needed to have a sustainable career as an artist.
All and all, it’s been a pretty good semester with it’s own set of stresses and challenges. I try and remind myself that it’s all about growth and not about reaching some final destination (except for the across the stage at graduation). I’m proud of where I’m at in the process and looking forward to whats to come. Now, for a much needed break.