artist’s statement

some rambling and some thoughts on life and art...

some rambling and some thoughts on life and art...

Just as I believe that one cannot fully understand a work of art until one touches it, smells it, ponders over it, stares at it until their eyes go dry, maybe crawls inside of it a little, and learns who made it, I don’t think that one can fully understand an artist until they’ve learned about their past, seen the present, and read about their future. 

I have always thought that first hand exposure is the best way to learn, improve, and excel in almost anything.  For me, realizing this began with my first hands-on moments when I picked up my first yellow crayon and continued through my high school and university years where I learned to create things and do things I had once only dreamed of.

Upon entering college and deciding to become an Art History and Studio Art major, I realized that everything in my life had been pointing me down this path all along in one form or another.  The physicality of art has always fascinated me, whether it is through sports, creating an object, or interacting with people.  My persistence and patience have always served me well, a good example of this being my career as a softball pitcher.  At age twelve, I began as the worst softball pitcher in my age group, but only one year later, after many tears of frustration and daily practices, I began to see the fruit of my hard work that would lead me through a successful career in high school and at the collegiate level.  Softball has always been one of a multitude of activities that caused me to never stop moving; often causing me to fall beneath the weight of my own ambition.  Although there are negative effects, in the end I benefit greatly from the exposure and subsequent mind expansion through my many activities.  Feeling overwhelmed, working through bloodshot eyes, and feeling the sweat on my back from finishing the final touches on a project are all satisfying sensations because they reassure me that I am giving over 100% of myself.  Even though my career as a softball player has now ended, I will always be able to use my pitching knowledge to teach younger girls so that they too can build a stronger, more resilient character.  I have learned that no skill goes to waste.

Another aspect of my persistence has led me to experiencing things I never could have predicted, thereby giving me more exposure.  At the age of seventeen, I learned how to earn the respect of older skeptical males in a workshop on glassblowing.  I came back the second day to finish the course after another student had everything but burned a hole in his hand on the first day.  I was beginning to learn not to be afraid to do what it takes to be what I wanted to be: an artist.  Furthermore, as a dominantly visual and artistic being, I never envisioned myself working at a desk or at a pharmaceutical company for four years in a row.  Yet, it has happened, almost ironically, and in turn helped my development as an artist.  For the first time, many older imposing figures among a company full of brilliant scientific minds were asking for my opinion.  My employers realized that I was not afraid to get my hands dirty and in turn let me get more involved.  Also, in the field of art history, I have been exposed to cultures I once knew nothing about that have changed my view of art.  After taking my first African Art History course with Peter Mark at Wesleyan, I stopped at nothing to visit every exhibit on African art that I could find, further fueling my artistic exploration.  The tool of interpreting and critiquing a work of art is acquired through practice and exposure, and I am learning to see it as one of the most rewarding and exciting aspects of becoming more deeply involved with a work of art.

An influential exposure in my life as an artist occurred in my six month study abroad in Santiago, Chile.  Here I was able to add to my artistic repertoire: an introduction to color woodcut prints, knowledge of Photoshop and its secrets, as well as an improvement in my painting and ceramics skills from previous classes.  Experiencing all of this in a completely different social and language setting boosted my confidence as I learned to better express myself.  Hearing different opinions helped me see sides of ideas I never would have considered in the U.S. university bubble-like setting.  Although not directly related to art, the aspect of virtually living by myself for the first time added largely to my maturity as a functioning adult.  I traveled to a different city or country as often as I could.  The planning, execution, and documenting of each trip reminded me of preparing sculpture projects, exhibiting the pieces, and finally recording the works such that they become a permanent part of history.

Another recent happening was my job as a TA with my advisor, Jeffery Schiff in the sculpture II class.  The class stimulated me and slowly helped to educate me about commenting and critiquing in class in regards to the form, content, and thought process of a piece.  Although I did not physically create much sculpture, the experience certainly added to my mental artistic stimulation.  Never before had I been so involved in the intellectual process of making art through the act of helping others become inspired.

In regards to my senior thesis, it is the most incredible feeling to be able to say that all of my hard work and dedication was worth the effort.  As they say in softball, I left it “all out on the field.”  It goes without saying that there are things I could have improved, but I believe that those imperfections only push me to work even harder.  One thing for sure is that throughout the entire process, it was never easy, but I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.  With this said, I know that the road ahead will be even harder still for there are many things to learn.  One of the most important things that I learned was not to get discouraged even if what I am creating is showing little promise.  I realized that there is always some amount of good in every bad idea.  At times it was hard to stay excited, but I never truly stopped believing in myself and my abilities as an artist and an intellectual.  Furthermore, I learned to not be afraid of pushing my ideas as far as I could.  For me that usually meant thinking big and making it even bigger.  I also learned that organization and planning ahead can only get you so far.  In fact, it usually held me back.  While most people have problems with a lack of organization, it was an excess of organization that structured and limited my thinking.  Whether it was coincidence or not, as soon as I stopped keeping a structured daily schedule, I started creating work that I was really happy with.

In looking back at my childhood, four years in high school, and four years at Wesleyan, there is no doubt how lucky and honored I feel to have had the chance to go through what I did.  The work intensive majors program at Wesleyan truly stands out for me. I have learned many invaluable skills in respects to viewing and critiquing other’s works, thinking about and creating my own work, learning to work with other artists and their suggestions, as well as learning what it takes to professionally plan and produce a body of work for a gallery space.

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