Second-year Visual Arts Students Discuss Open Studios
November 30, 2017
Last month, all second-year Visual Arts students had Open Studios, an event where faculty members and mentors—such as Sanford Biggers, Sarah Sze, and Rirkrit Tirivanija—as well as the artists’ family and friends, were invited to come and view the emerging artists’ work. For many students, this is their first exhibition.
Three students discuss their Open Studios experiences:
My Open Studios experience was insightful as visitors pointed out aspects of my work that I had never considered or that never came up in conversation with faculty or my fellow students. It's helpful to see this recent body of work together in the studio and gauge people's reactions to it outside the program.
The event taught me how to better manage stress, and that people like to be immersed in an experience, to be taken towards some aspect of reality, the unconscious, or an environment they do not normally get to access in their day to day lives. Doing this is an act of cultivating joy, I think. I know, as artists, we are not doing our work to please or to make everyone happy, but rather to challenge and critique ways of experiencing, living, and being in the world. However, love is a really powerful force that must come before art, and if an art object/experience I create/stage can have just a shimmer of love and joy in the process of making it for myself as the artist, and the process of experiencing it as a viewer, then I've done my job.
I had a direction in mind for my work prior to Open Studios, and having family and friends experience this new phase of my project and respond to it positively gives me fuel to go steadfast in that direction because my family, close friends, and mentors are my north star on the ocean waves of creativity.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Open Studios experience.
With the #resistgiftshop, my intention was to create an immersive context that would encourage visitors to feel that they had stepped into a unique and unexpected environment.
I achieved this goal, in terms of the exhibition that I envisioned, and had a number of engaging and insightful conversations.
Because of the busy nature of the event, I feel that there was not enough time to reflect upon aspects of my practice. That said, the individual and group critiques that I received leading up to Open Studios helped me hone my ideas and final presentation.
For me, there were two parts to Open Studios, and both ended up being very fruitful.
One was the lead-up [to the event]. I kind of looked at it as a good, self-imposed deadline. Kind of like cleaning your apartment before a guest comes over. So my attempt was to pull together, finish, and wrap up a couple of projects that interested me this semester. What ended up being so moving about this, was all that unraveled in the last week leading to it. I had really signed up to push my own boundaries and, in my exhaustion, suddenly found myself surrounded by my fellow students who, in one way or another, were in the same situation. I say all of this was incredibly inspiring because, not only were they the moving artists they’ve been all along, but we suddenly became neighbors, comrades. I can’t say enough of the sense of support and comeramarity I felt in those days. Nothing has been more inspiring than my Columba fellow students in all their diversity.
Then there was the [Open Studios] day which I had planned as an experiment. I was doing a performance right outside Prentis for the duration, which really relied on participants and good dialogue. And I was completely moved by what I ended up with in that part. Then, I was really proud of my studio, what I got to finish, and the dialogues that were created there.
I tried things that were fairly new to me, like working with wood or focusing on video [in my exhibit]. It was a chance to relook at what I have done and what I do at-large in this creative private space of mine, put them together and see how they talk to each other.
As with most big meaningful events, it will take time to really unravel and show its impact. For now, I’m making prints and letting myself totally be taken by form.