What I plan to make in Grad School.
For context, I have to give a presentation during my orientation to grad school at TCU. The following quotes are from the orientation letter for on coming grad students.
Please note that all new and returning MFAs are required to give a 3-5 minute informal presentation with no more than 3-5 images. First-year MA students bring an image of an artwork that inspired you to pursue graduate education.
My informal presentation:
This shot was taken during one of my demonstrations at my solo show, Metallängen: the metal meadow, over at TCC (@the_carillon). The show was the culmination of a year long residency, wrought with personal discovery and external life struggles. This image inspired me to take a serious look at pursuing a MFA because this scene highlighted the interactions of the students and faculty, who were fully engaged with my demonstration. They had a blast touching the art (which was encouraged) and they really enjoyed my fully exposed sketchbooks and thought process. In short they wanted more! I felt that they wanted to be involved with my art practice because they hadn’t seen anything like this before, and I was open and encouraging their questions.
Throughout the opening receptions, many of the faculty and visiting guests asked where I got my MFA and I kept responding with that, “I didn’t have one but if they wanted to pay for one, then I would gladly go get one.” It was Joshua Goode (@joshua_goode) and Adam Fung (@abfung) who told me how I could get my MFA through TCU. Here I am today.
First-year MFA students show a few images of your entrance portfolio and what you hope to accomplish in your three years of graduate school
The irony is that now that I have been accepted into this program, many of the burdens associated with pursuing an art degree, have been taken off of me. (i.e. how to justify the cost of the degree, by then making highly marketable products which will incentivize gallerists into representing my artwork, so that they can sell my art to high-cheek-boned collectors who mostly just want my work because it matches their couch and also makes them seem cultured and edgy to their friends.) But now that I have been unburdened by these “art school justifications”, I have this wonderful gift of re-evaluating my art and its impact beyond standard artistic marketplaces.
We are living in a time where we don’t know what our world will look like in a single decade. This idea terrifies me. Will the only evidence of wild green nature exist through the representations in art? Will my art, or any art matter, if we starving because of food shortages? I don’t think that I can keep pursuing the same artistic experiments that I have been, while comprehend the ecological costs of these creations. I don’t think that I can ignore all the signs, and hide in a studio anymore. I am going to have to try some different. I’m going to have to grow my art.
I have always had an adoration of nature. If you look at my portfolio, you can see how nature, specifically flowers, have influenced my aesthetic. But right now, I can’t simply make the same art in the same way that I have been. So I’m using my MFA to explore a new idea: Forest as a Sculpture.
Humans have a long history of editing the world around them, including natural spaces. My idea is to explore the functions of our current mix-use outdoor spaces, and evaluate the possibility of repairing, growing new, and editing these spaces. This will include existing park spaces, degraded lawns, irregular lots, and any overlooked or underutilized areas in suburban and urban areas. Unlike a typical sculpture, these living sculptures will have to be continually edited, cared for, and staged in order to entice viewers into these spaces (this includes, birds, bee, and other wildlife). These sculpture forests will be no different than a the accepted genera of installation art, except that you might be able to eat the decor, see a bird, and watch a leaf fluttering in the sunlight. These will be living spaces, that will be called “Art”.
The history of art has already proven that we all benefit from nature, and we all benefit from being in nature–this includes artists too. I just want to make sure that nature and art will both be around after the next decade.