MFA Rankings = A Whole Lot of BS

Been researching more MFA programs lately, and attended the SFAI Graduate Portfolio Day yesterday.  A few observations:

Image

The view from SFAI is both beautiful and ominous. Symbolic in many ways.

1. Researching MFA programs and MFA prospects is inherently depressing. But I was given great feedback on my portfolio, particularly by Scott Hess, from Laguna College of Art + Design, Yolanda Hester from Art Center College of Design, and SFAI. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2. I met this 20-year old girl from Fresno who had a solid graphic design portfolio, who wanted to learn more about MFA programs but was totally shut down and discouraged by CalArts and Art Center. I told her she’s already ahead of the game by just showing up and putting herself out there, because most artists find excuses not to show up (for a myriad of absurd reasons). This appeared to make her feel better, but it brings me to this point: Art Schools, you are not doing anyone justice by being jerks. Your role is to educate and help. Quit being snobs.

3. Why is US News.com still considered a reliable source for school rankings? Their ranking methodology looks largely like a whole lot of bullshit: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2013/03/11/methodology-best-fine-arts-schools-rankings

“Schools in the specialty rankings, which are based solely on nominations from school officials, are numerically ranked in descending order based on the number of nominations they received as long as the school/program received seven or more nominations in that specialty area.” 

….Um, Are you kidding me? 

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Regrets Only

What I’ve been working on recently…

An addition to the series, “Regrets” shows the dichotomy between sex and love, comfort and pain. It is the moment after desire turns to lasciviousness, and the conflicting emotions of want and regret. The imagery depicts a haunting turbulence, a calming euphoria, and the need for intimacy.

Regrets
Regrets Only
26″ x 22″
Oil on Canvas

Also inspired by Dorothy Parker’s poem, “The Red Dress”

The Red Dress

I always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I’d have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,

To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there’d be one to see me so
And flip the world away.

And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.

I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood….
I have the silly gown.

   —Dorothy Parker

Social Practice Art as a Necessary Product of a Global Means to Connect

 

In the United States, it appears though social practice art is no longer fashionable, and issues like identity and feminism have fallen out of favor. Despite this, social engagement in the United States is more important than ever, as our government systems continue to erode and our country struggles to understand our role in the world economy. Social practice and representational art that communicates and connects to a view is harder to measure than reducing Art to a particular style or a personal brand. However, if you listen carefully to the voice of emerging artists, the global tide is beginning to change. Social practice art is making a comeback.

For seven years before becoming an artist, I worked in the tech industry. While the work was not inherently creative, I learned to collaborate and generate ideas, to implement projects globally, and work in an environment of “organized chaos.” Like the Internet, the tech industry is open and generative. People are no longer confined by their location, and are free to collaborate and execute ideas on a global level. Most of us were frustrated with bureaucracy and the status quo, but we were no longer satisfied with voicing our concerns. We were determined to use our resources, build stuff, and fix it.

I plan to bring this attitude to the Art world, because I believe we need fewer restrictions and voices, and more hands to create change. I am discouraged by the status of social Art in the United States, but I am no longer satisfied with merely complaining about it. I am determined to not simply be a voice, but to be the hands. One way I believe I can be a part of the movement to mold and shape the status of Art, is to start by bringing back social relevance, because one important way Art derives meaning is through its connection with people.

In fact, contrary to what it may seem in the mainstream, I believe we’re on the cusp of a global, post-feminist movement. This is evidenced by growing list of successful international female artists such as Hung Liu, Wangechi Mutu, and Lee Jinjiu rising into the art scene and demanding global attention. In their own way, each of these women were able to rebel against their own pressures imposed on them, build upon the work done by generations of women before them, and create their own identity.

I am inspired by these women, and the fact that women across the world are finally being seen as individuals, not just a faceless, mass movement. I am excited to be join this movement because we now have the motivation and the means through technology, to connect with women across the world. I refuse to believe that Feminism was a passing fad because it is far too important to be disregarded. I believe we owe it to the generations of ordinary women who have paved the way, simply by existing, by suffering, and letting their brave voices be recorded and heard. These women put the wheels in motion, and it is now our duty to listen to those voices from the past, use technology to connect and collaborate globally, and finally, use our hands to create.

–October 10th, 2013