Greetings again after three very short weeks, reader!
There is a strange mix of adrenaline and anxiety coursing through me at the moment as I brace myself for my final semester of graduate school. Thoughts of mounting my thesis exhibition, co-teaching an undergraduate course, finding a post-graduation job, and managing a full-time graduate course load are simultaneously present in my mind, vying for my attention in advance of this final semester. To be quite frank, I have a bit of a knot in my stomach, but the thrilled anticipation of completing it all keeps me moving forward.
When I wrote last I was putting finishing touches on my thesis paper, which—thankfully—I can now say is submitted and reviewed. And though it is likely that I may revisit this paper before the end of this semester, I can rest assured that the bulk of my thesis writing work is behind me. Still, the actual making now lies ahead and that presents its own challenges.
One of these challenges, though not an insurmountable one, is that some of the work of my proposed thesis installation requires a type of artistic labor in which I am not extremely versed—carpentry. However, a great part of graduate school—and, truly, being an artist in general—is that you can count on a community of makers to collaborate and consult with. Where one’s strengths are not, another’s certainly are—and vice versa, in continuity—within an artistic community.
I put a great deal of creative, theoretical energy into planning my installation in the previous semester, and so with the start of this new semester, it will prove time to begin applying practical, logistical energy for its realization. In this first week of the semester alone, I am meeting with my thesis committee chair and one of Columbia’s fabrication facility instructional specialists to this end.
In addition to the task of mounting my thesis installation, this semester I am also co-teaching Making 2 with one of my own previous Columbia instructors, Niki Nolin. In the fall semester and over the last couple of weeks, Niki and I have been collaborating to create a cohesive syllabus, schedule, and projects for our class, aiming to both deliver essential course content and cultivate an independent drive for making in our students. This co-teaching experience is a new one, but planning for it with Niki has in itself already been very fulfilling, so I look forward to what we can accomplish together this semester.
Moving to my professional future, over the past several weeks I have been scouring online job boards for positions that are promising applications of the creative and teaching experiences I have amassed over the last three years. These professional resources include Chicago Artists Resource and College Art Association. In this vein, I will be attending College Art Association’s (CAA) Annual Conference in Los Angeles in a little under a month to further connect and engage with the professional visual arts community of which I would like to be a part.
This is all to say that I have a very busy semester ahead, but I’m taking deep breaths and moving forward one day (of 112) at a time!