How did you get started in visual arts? Originally, I began ceramics to fill my elective requirement freshman year. However, as the year progressed, I began to realize how much I truly enjoyed creating 3D artworks. Because of this I decided to enroll in the next years class (even though it meant adding a zero period to my schedule) and have been doing it ever since.
Describe the training you've received as a visual arts artist. Please include specifics on how your training has helped you to grow as an artist. As you know from my resumé, all my training has been at Mater Dei under Ms. Davies. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with her. I say work with, rather than work under, because Ms. Davies has always made the studio a very open place where we are free to explore and experiment without incredibly strict rubrics or rules, so it feels as though we are collaborators rather than student and teacher. She is always around to offer advice or if we have a question, but I think the best thing she has done for me and my fellow classmates is not being constantly present and hovering. She encourages us to problem solve and learn how to work things out ourselves. By fostering an environment of openness and trust she engenders a mutual respect between instructor and student. Thus, my training has been much more of a self-discovery that has allowed me to discover what I am truly passionate about, which inspires all of the work I do.
Describe an experience you had in visual arts that helped you to develop a passion for what you do. What was it about that experience that made it impactful for you? One impactful experience for me came early in my ceramics career. It was freshman year, and I was working on my first coil pot, which is actually in this portfolio. Having not yet mastered the virtue of patience in regards to clay, I built my pot up much too quickly, leading it to collapse. I was no stranger to the collapse of my early attempts at a project, because this had happened to almost all of my prior projects. I was understandably frustrated, having spent the past week of class working on yet another failed project. However, Ms. Davies encouraged me to slow down, and keep working on that pot, not to throw it away. Although seemingly annoying and trivial at the time, I realize now that this experience influenced who I am as an artist today. I ended up creating one of my favorite pieces and discovering my love for texture, especially the inverted scales I use on many of my pieces. I learned to love the organic form, the imperfections that give pieces character. More deeply, this event taught me not to despair a failed attempt, but to embrace it and create something beautiful out of it, both in art and in life.
Tell us about how your work in visual arts has influenced other non-visual arts parts of your life. Working in the studio has had a much more profound effect on other aspects of my life than I had originally anticipated. Being able to have a space in which I can channel my creative side has allowed me to be more perceptive toward beauty and organic imperfection in everyday life, opening me up to even more artistic outlets. Also, having time to work in the studio is always a great time to decompress and tune out the stresses of my academic responsibilities, which in turn makes me more productive once I return to my academics. Working with clay has taught me patience, as well as the sense of independence that comes with learning how to problem solve on one's own. Both of these virtues can be applied elsewhere in my life, wether it be waiting in a long line at a sale or dealing with a difficult math problem.
In looking ahead, what do you want to do as an artist? Specifically, what kind of work do you want to do in the future? Generally, what kind of impact to you want to have on the world? I hope to be able to pursue a minor in 3D art in college and be able to continue working in clay well into my adult life. I also would like to be able to create a large scale installation piece sometime in the future using many different mediums, not just clay. However, more broadly, I want my work to be able to influence people into responding to the issue of pollution in the oceans. If by seeing my work, someone begins to see the majestic beauty of the ocean and is moved to make an effort in cleaning the beaches and oceans of the world, then I will have made my desired impact- no matter how small.