Student Internships: Conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Michaela Paulson working on an Etruscan sarcophagus

Michaela Paulson working on an Etruscan sarcophagus

SMFA’s Office of Career Services supports and guides students in securing internships each semester. For students with a serious passion for art conservation, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s (MFA) Conservation Pre-Program Internship offers an incredible opportunity to work with objects from the Museum’s comprehensive collection. Michaela Paulson (Diploma ’15) has been interning with the MFA’s Objects Conservation Lab since September 2012. We caught up with Michaela to learn more about her experience.

What program are you in at SMFA, and what is your artistic focus?

I am a second year Studio Diploma student. I am not at the School to become an artist, per se. I am striving to become skilled at working with many materials and making the objects I will be faced with fixing during my time as a conservator.

What got you interested in conservation?

My degree in archaeology took me to London on my year abroad and to a dig in West Dean, East Sussex. I realized then that the objects unearthed by archaeologists are quickly given to the conservators to receive treatment and hands-on attention. I wanted to explore that aspect instead of the research and digging faced by archaeologists, though I would love to eventually work as a field conservator on an excavation.

How did you hear about this internship?

Pre-program internships are advertised by many institutions, especially those like the MFA, Boston with large collections. I had applied to the internship twice before I was accepted on my third attempt.

Tell us about a few of the projects you are involved with at the MFA.

The first project I began and saw through to the end on my own with minimal supervision was a ceramic jardiniere currently on view in the Art of the Americas wing. The process included cleaning, removal of an old fill, reconstruction, and inpainting of a new fill. The largest project was assisting mountmakers, engineers, and the design department in the mounting of an Etruscan sarcophagus in gallery 117 of the Museum’s Behrakis Wing. I was able to use skills I learned in the welding and wood shops at the School to be really useful to the staff. Currently, I am working on four ceramic plaques, cleaning them of dirt and aged overpaint and retouching them to obscure the old fills.

How will this experience benefit you moving forward?

The staff as asked me to continue with them next year and have offered to help me with my applications for graduate programs where I want to focus specifically on objects/archaeological materials. This internship has also helped me to better understand the processes going on behind the scenes in large museums. The skills I am learning with these conservators will be essential to my time as a graduate student and beyond.

Thanks and best of luck, Michaela!

Visit the SMFA Internship blog for more ideas and opportunities.

Posted in Blog, Internships | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Traveling Fellow Gonzalo Fuenmayor (MFA ’04) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Genesis III, 2013. Archival inkjet on metallic paper. 44x66 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Genesis III, 2013. Archival inkjet on metallic paper. 44×66 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

SMFA‘s Traveling Fellowship program was created shortly after the School’s founding in 1876 to encourage post-graduate travel and independent work for select SMFA artists. Ten artists were awarded Traveling Fellowships in 2013. In October, Gonzalo Fuenmayor (Master of Fine Arts, 2004) was selected from this group by the Fellowship review committee for a solo presentation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) in the spring of 2015. We caught up with the Miami-based artist to ask a few questions.

Congratulations, Gonzalo! Tell us a bit about your experience as a Traveling Fellow. Where did you travel and what was the focus of your work?

With the generous support of the Traveling Fellowship, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Leticia, Colombia located in the epicenter of the Amazon. I was able to navigate along the mystic Amazon River, and gain a better understanding of the jungle, its people and culture by staying at a secluded indigenous village. Being immersed in this natural environment and isolated from the conveniences of modern life helped me to experience first hand the dynamics of acculturation and better understand how exoticism is constructed.  The surreal panoramas of my new work are influenced by the ways in which popular culture adapts and transforms itself in such remote places. This incredible experience has opened up new possibilities and problems, which have begun to impact my creative process and work in general.

How did you feel when you found out you were selected for the solo presentation at the Museum of Fine Arts?

I felt honored to have been selected!  A solo presentation at the Museum is a dream come true and an invaluable opportunity to showcase my work in Boston.  It is a great responsibility and an exciting challenge.

What are your thoughts and plans for the Museum presentation?

I am still thinking and day-dreaming about the kind of show I will have at the Museum.  For now, I foresee a combination of drawing and photography, highlighting the experiences from the Traveling Fellowship.

Thinking back on your experience at SMFA, what was your focus as a student? Were there any faculty members who were particularly influential?

As a grad student at SMFA I focused primarily on painting, but flirted with drawing, printmaking, and video. My experience at SMFA was wonderful; I look back and remember it as a time of intense experimentation and dialogue between media.

I value the friends made at SMFA and am eternally grateful to classmates and faculty, who influenced me and my practice in so many unexpected ways.  I remember my thought-provoking conversations with Jane Hudson, Sandi Slone, Ann Craven, Diane O’Donoghue, Julie Graham, Mary Ellen Strom, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Adriana Zavala.

Tell us about your current projects. What is ahead for you in 2014?

This summer, I will be attending an artist Residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska for two months and will focus on developing new work for the Museum show in 2015.

Thank you for taking the time to chat! We look forward to seeing your show!

Gonzalo Fuenmayor, God Save Latin America, 2014.

Gonzalo Fuenmayor, God Save Latin America, 2013. Charcoal on paper. 44.5×94.5 inches. Courtesy of the artist and The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art for Rollins College.

Posted in Alumni, Awards, Blog | Leave a comment

Q+A with Brian Reeves, Graphic Arts faculty

Brian Reeves in the classroom

Brian Reeves in the classroom

We recently had a chance to ask Brian Reeves, a Graphic Arts faculty member, to tell us more about Graphic Arts and what it’s like to study in this area at SMFA.

How did you get involved in Graphic Arts; what’s your background?

I’ve always made publications of some sort to give away or to sell. I started out with ball-point pens on stray paper, and then graduated to Xeroxes and traditional printmaking. When computers arrived in my classrooms, I began using them to design and color-separate what would have otherwise still been hand-pulled prints. I soon started adding type to those prints and using inkjet and professional offset printers, where appropriate, to make some of the publications, which increasingly incorporated my written ideas. During that time, the World Wide Web was born (!). All these delivery systems have allowed me to share work—in all media, including interactive work with video, sound, 3D models, and programming—with an audience broader than could ever be found in an art gallery.

I’ve also worked for various companies, newspapers, and magazines as a designer and illustrator, so I use the skills and sensibilities gained through those experiences toward making my (capital-A) Art more engaging and accessible.

What classes do you teach?

I teach Print MattersArt Commercial, and net.art: Intro to Hacking.

Tell us a bit about your students.

My students tend to be brilliant and driven, each in their own way. They come from so many directions, so many different parts of the world, and possess a wide range of visions for what they want to accomplish.  Many arrive in my classes with a desire to put the artwork that they created in other media (photographs, drawings, comics, music, video, performance) to work in print or web media. Others find specific inspiration in each individual medium we explore, such as the cheap flyer, the sticker, the postcard, the pamphlet, the label, or the interactivity made possible only by the computer.

Some are particularly interested in using the web to more efficiently engage people, and some are motivated by the promise of making their own custom solutions using open source software and hardware tools. A few examples that come to mind are an automatic document redactor, Bob Ross happy-little-cloud painting application, a randomly timed lock-box for one’s mobile phone, custom programmed musical instruments and a 3D printed orb that reacts with colored lights to light, tilt, and temperature.

Some arrive with little or no experience with digital tools, but have a solid drive for bringing their visions to life—by the end of the class most seem to have gained a level of comfort that took me years to achieve on my own. They rightly seem to see technology as merely a means to accomplish the end goal—which is the art.

If I were a new student at SMFA, what would make me want to try one of your classes?

You’d get to focus on establishing or expanding upon your public voice beyond the confines of the art gallery.

All three of the classes I’m teaching involve “hacking” existing systems of distribution, not as in breaking and entering, but as in being playfully clever, to use Richard Stallman’s definition (see his short On Hacking essay). Naturally that’s a big part of the focus of the Intro to Hacking class where students use the web and other tools to deliver quality experiences.

If you were in the Print Matters class you’d be asked to indulge in making work to disseminate via the freebie dispensers seen last year in the School’s entryway.  For that, you’d develop your own Xerox-able, agenda-laden “image viruses,” stickers, and feedback inducers. Last semester you’d also have collaborated to conceive and publish a mini-magazine, the T Times, as a response to the challenge of figuring out what type of public service to place between the ads. In that case, the ads were primarily created by students in the Art Commercial class.

Students in Art Commercial are tasked with giving some of their own artwork the mainstream commercial marketing treatment, applying the tools and gimmicks associated with more dumbed-down commercial work to support their very own less-pedestrian visions—crafting logos, print and web ads, packaging, writing manipulative copy and press releases, etc.  It’s a short class, but when they’re driven to work they can do incredible things.

Tell me about the concentration in Graphic Arts—what can a student expect?

In my classes students can expect to heighten their grasp on the technical, conceptual, and formal concerns, all in service of developing their capacity to communicate. They’ll be asked to ponder their definitions of “commercial art,” and whatever its opposite is, and they’ll probably realize that those distinctions aren’t really as clear-cut as we’ve all been led to believe. The Sistine Chapel ceiling is a favorite example, where you’ve got so-called “fine art” that is actually a client-based illustration job!

Students can expect to work hard, to get better at learning to use these evolving tools, and to cultivate their sensitivities to typography and other aspects of design and digital production. They’ll engage in rigorous critique of their work and be asked to provide that to their peers.  Technically the focus isn’t to learn how to use a particular piece of software, but to get accustomed to learning new tools, adapting to new modes of communication.  And the focus isn’t on commercial client-based work, as many might expect. Instead, students in my classes and many others in the Graphic Arts area get to focus on putting these digital tools and communications platforms to work to spread their own ideas and to ask their own questions.

In other classes students make books, both the more sculptural one-of-a-kind in Peter Madden’s courses and the electronically published multiple, as in Chantal Zakari’s Publish!, where they focus for entire semester on creating content and design for a single book that is ultimately made available in print and electronically via a service like Lulu.com

And there’s a great deal of crossover into other areas.  Students working primarily with any media, be it sculpture, video, sound, print, drawing, painting, ceramics, performance, all want and/or need to represent their work in print and online, so I’d dare to say the kind of sensitivity and skill sets we cultivate in Graphic Arts is relevant to just about everyone.

What do you think is really interesting and engaging about the concentration right now?

More than ever, the tools we use are more mainstream—and as the novelty of using them dissipates, we get to really focus on the ideas that we’re trying to communicate and the true revolution of media and efficiency in reaching an audience that they deliver. The School’s new acquisition of laser cutting and 3D printing technology will be a great stride in this direction. Also, the arrival of Graham McDougal teaching, among other courses, the new Mixed Messages: Text-Based Studio Practice sounds like it will be a rich opportunity to focus upon just text as content.

One other aspect of the area that’s been particularly engaging: I started a Tuesday lunchtime meeting called Pro-Activity Lab which is a time and place where students and faculty interested in using programming, be it for the web, using the open source tools Processing and Arduino, found hardware, or whatever else, can come work and share ideas and help one another solve problems that arise in that spirit of playful cleverness.  Some have come in to have us try to solve installation requirements, like triggering sound files when a person enters a space.  I look forward to doing it again this year and meeting more students and faculty interested in the power of programming for art’s sake, regardless of what “wet” media they’re using.

What sort of career can someone have with a concentration in Graphic Arts?

Job titles include artist, designer, illustrator, art editor, art director, publisher, programmer, pre-press specialist, provocateur. There’s also more specialized set of jobs that have emerged with the web, including interaction and user experience designer.  With such an emphasis on problem solving, content creation, communication, and collaborative efforts, experiences in this area can take off in many different uncharted directions. It all depends upon what, and where, the students choose to focus and develop their energies.

Thank you, Brian!

Read more:

Graphic Arts at SMFA

Contact Brian Reeves or Chantal Zakari for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog | 1 Comment

SMFA at Art Basel Miami Beach

SMFA students are finishing up their classes before winter break, and yes, it’s cold in Boston. But down in Miami? Not cold. SMFA faculty, students, and alumni are exhibiting their work at the renowned art fair–check out this list of SMFA artists at Art Basel Miami Beach and where they’re showing their work. Here are a few shots from the show:

Art Basel Miami Beach

 

Brian Burkhardt (Diploma '03, Fifth Year '04) gives an artist demo

Brian Burkhardt (Diploma '03, Fifth Year '04) gives an artist demo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gonzalo Fuenmayor (MFA '04) shows off his award-winning works at Art Basel Miami Beach

Gonzalo Fuenmayor (MFA '04) shows off his award-winning works at Art Basel Miami Beach

Ridley Howard (MFA '99) at Fredric Snitzer

Ridley Howard (MFA '99) at Fredric Snitzer

Posted in Alumni, Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alumni Interview: Danielle Bernstein

Danielle Bernstein (BFA/DIP ’06) founded Clear Films upon graduating. Since then, she’s produced award-winning documentary films, including “When Clouds Clear,” and has received the Cine Golden Eagle Award, an Accolade Award, and grants from New York State Council and FirstPix NextPix.

Danielle was kind enough to take a few moments from her busy schedule to talk with us about her time at SMFA, what’s she’s been working on recently, and to offer some sterling advice to current students.

Read the interview

Posted in Alumni, Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SMFA students + alumni exhibit in Korea

Joo Lee Kang (MFA '11), Pattern of Life #4. Wallpaper installation.

Joo Lee Kang (MFA '11), Pattern of Life #4. Wallpaper installation.

“Forget Me Not,” in Seoul, Korea, features the work of 18 SMFA students and alumni. Developed with Carlos Noguera (BFA ’07) and co-curated by Joo Lee Kang (MFA ’11) and Eunice Choi (MFA ’12), the exhibition runs from August 1-23, 2013. We caught up with co-curator Joo Lee Kang, and asked her about the exhibition and her time at SMFA.

How did “Forget Me Not” come about?

When I started at SMFA, there were a few Korean students, and I got along well with the other Asian students. We bonded because of the fact that we had no friends or family nearby. We spent most holidays together and helped each other with our Review Boards and essays. We had always discussed having a group show because there were certain interesting common links in our works and we thought it would be a way that we could keep in touch, share our interests and support each other.

Since most international students go back to their country after graduating, so it’s hard to keep in touch.  Thanks to many, I settled as an artist in Boston and realized that how much I missed my international friends. As an artist, I knew how much it’d be worth to keep supporting each other and exchanging our stories and experiences.

As time went by, I could feel the ratio of international students in SMFA getting higher and I could actually meet Koreans who were eager for the idea of a reunion group exhibition.  I thought it was the time to make it happen. It started with Koreans this time, but I hope it can be expanded to all international or even to all students and alumni and have it be an annual event.

How did other students and alumni get involved?

I started to collect the contact information of Korean students and alumni, I asked around and searched on Facebook, Kakao Talk, word of mouth, and made a list of Korean students and alumni. I emailed them the idea of this group exhibition and had a general call for art.

What was it like co-curating an exhibition?

I’m so glad that we pulled this off.  I always had this idea (organizing a group show), but it was hard to find the right moment. Thanks to SMFA and the Alumni Committee, it happened. Stephanie Boyé, the Director of Alumni Relations, really encouraged me a lot; she introduced me to Carlos Noguera (BFA ’07), the director of Spahn Gallery and teacher in Dwight School in Seoul. Carlos was delighted to help, and the exhibition happened because of everyone’s help. I can’t thank everyone enough.

Choosing work for the show was a struggle. I think I could have been a better curator if I could have chosen based on one thing, either theme or quality. I wanted this show to be like a glue for all of us. Eunice Choi (MFA ’12) helped a lot with this process.  To fulfill the purpose, of reconnecting, communicating, supporting and inspiring each other, we decided to include both current students and alumni.

What have you been up to since graduation?

I graduated in 2011 and stared exhibiting and traveling back and forth between Korea and Boston. I had an exhibition at Gallery NAGA last fall and artist demonstrations at the Museum of Fine Arts this spring.  I also taught a drawing course at SMFA this past spring semester and working as a part-time faculty in Seoul Digital University in 2012. Currently, my work is in a group exhibition in Danforth Art Museum until August 4 and I’ve just returned from Germany for the SMFA Traveling Fellowship. I’m now looking forward to installing and celebrating “Forget Me Not”!

What are your plans for the next year?

It is always hard to answer about the specific future plans as an emerging artist. My biggest plan would be following opportunities! For now, I’ll have a group show, “Pedigree,” at the New Art Center in Newton and participate in the street piano festival “Play Me, I’m Yours” this September. For next year, I’m anticipating another exhibition at Gallery NAGA and I want to organize the second version of “Forget Me Not.”

Thinking back on your time at SMFA, were there any people or classes that were particularly inspiring?

There were a lot of wonderful teachers I’ve worked with at SMFA. I felt so encouraged and also, challenged. I worked with Gerry Bergstein, Magda Campos-Pons, Erica Daborn, Mark Cooper, Patte Loper, Nan Freeman, David Davison, Charles Goss, David Kelley and I bet I will wake up tomorrow and remember names that I forgot to mention. In addition to faculty, there were my classmates who I’m fond of and admire. I miss the long conversation with teachers and peers in my Mission Hill studio.

How do you feel SMFA prepared you for what you’re doing now, and where you want to go?

I would say that coming to SMFA for grad school was one of the most excellent decisions I have ever made. I was just an ambitious art student when I started; I had no idea about the art world and Boston. The people at SMFA were so supportive. They didn’t catch me a fish, but taught me how to be patient; to enjoy the work and keep each other company. I’m trying to do my best in my spot and will do my best to keep it up!

Thank you, Joo Lee!

 

 

Posted in Alumni, Blog, SMFA Exhibitions, SMFA News | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Evelyn Rydz (MFA ’05) Solo Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Evelyn Rydz, Lost and Found, 2012.

 

SMFA‘s Traveling Fellowship program was created shortly after the School’s founding in 1876 to encourage post-graduate travel and independent work for select SMFA artists. Ten artists were awarded Traveling Fellowships in 2012, traveling to diverse locations such as Austria, China, Norway, Peru and Turkey. In May, Boston-based artist Evelyn Rydz (Master of Fine Arts, 2005) was selected from this group of 10 by the Fellowship review committee for a solo presentation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) April 19–October 26, 2014. We caught up with Evelyn (busy with a new baby!) to ask her a few questions.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience as a traveling fellow? Where did you travel, and what was the focus of your work?

The Traveling Fellowship provided me with a tremendous opportunity to study, collect and document the accumulation of marine debris washed ashore at Kamilo Point, Hawaii. This is an area where tons of drifting debris washes onto shore each year. I walked for days through massive amounts of debris and plastic sands feeling like an archeologist excavating the residues of contemporary history. It was an unforgettable experience.

My interest in this subject has led me to study currents and sources of marine debris and to explore recurring patterns along different coastlines. Over the last four years I have made regular visits to coastlines to document objects that have washed ashore. To gain a better understanding of the relationship between coasts, I traveled down the Atlantic from Maine to Florida and across the Gulf from Florida to Louisiana, stopping to study, collect and document flotsam and jetsam washed ashore. My most recent research trip to Kamilo Point shifted my perception of scale from individual coastlines to the global currents and cumulative human habits that link them and us together.  I returned with a wealth of source material for a new body of work.

How did you feel when you found out you were selected?

I was incredibly honored to have been selected! Since moving to Boston the MFA has been a really significant place for me. I visited the Museum on my first trip to Boston; then as a student I spent much of my time there sketching, going to lectures, seeing films, meeting with friends. The year after graduating I was the visiting artist for their community arts initiative, the Artist Project. I worked on the Blueprint Voyage Project, a multimedia collaborative installation created by children of the participating community organizations in response to their experiences working with the MFA’s collections. The exhibition was designed and created in collaboration with children of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, the United South End Settlements, and the West End House Boys & Girls Clubs of Allston-Brighton. Being in the Museum with the kids gave me a new perspective on engaging and interacting with the work. I still visit the Museum regularly and am extremely excited to have a show there soon.

Can you tell us anything about the upcoming show? It’s still a while away, but what are your thoughts and plans?

I am really excited about my new work for the show. I am creating a new project for the Museum specifically related to my experiences in Kamilo Point, Hawaii. The work is still in process and I look forward to sharing it soon.

Thinking back on your experience at SMFA, what was your focus as a student?

I came into the program focused on drawing and painting. The first year I experimented with everything I could get my hands on: welding, animation, installation, small sculptures, painting, mold making, photography, Photoshop design work, drawing and more. I tried to really squeeze the juice out of the interdisciplinary school and I had a great experience. In the end I came back to making drawings, but with many new perspectives.

That sounds like such a perfect interdisciplinary experience! Were there any faculty members who were particularly influential?

There were so many wonderful creative thinkers who I had the opportunity to work with during my time at the Museum School. I felt challenged and encouraged to make my work by a diverse group of faculty. I worked with Ann Craven, Jane Hudson, Gerry Bergstein, Barbara Gallucci, Diane O’Donoghue, Ron Rizzi—and I worked especially closely with Magda Campos-Pons. In addition to the faculty, I was and continue to be very inspired by my SMFA classmates.

What are you up to now? What’s ahead for you?

Right now the focus in the studio is developing new work for the Museum show. I am also creating works for an exhibition at the Anchorage Museum of Art, Alaska called “GYRE: an expedition and exhibition with Marine Debris as Material and Message.” Outside the studio I am preparing my classes and projects for the next year of teaching at MassArt. My biggest adventure yet is becoming a new mom. This summer I am working intensely in the studio, revamping my teaching curriculum for the next year, and mostly enjoying my family and its latest addition!

What a busy, happy time! Thank you so much, Evelyn. We can’t wait to see the show.

Posted in Alumni, Awards, Blog, SMFA Exhibitions, SMFA News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Faculty Member Magda Campos-Pons Invited to Venice Biennale

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons

 

How exciting that you’re representing Cuba at the Venice Biennale! How did this all come about?

I consider myself a cosmopolitan artist, so the fact that I’ve been invited to participate in the Biennial as part of a collective Cuban pavilion is an affirmation of my belief that voices and ideas transcend national borders and become part of trans-geographical and sociopolitical dialogues. I am extremely proud that I was invited in partnership with my husband and collaborator of over 20 years, Neil Leonard, a composer, saxophonist and professor who founded the Interdisciplinary Arts Institute at Berklee College of Music. We presented “LLego Fefa” together at the 11th Havana Biennial, featuring the ideas of establishing conversation, bridges of tolerance and respect–I believe it was a defining factor for this invitation coming our way.

Tell us a bit about the Biennale, its role in the global art scene, and what it means to take part in it.

Venice is a venue of extraordinary importance—a center for discourse and analysis of practices, a hub where fundamental issues in the market and currents in visual narratives are centered, a place where practices are launched and careers solidified. All of this matters a lot to me, as it grants us a voice and a platform.

This is really a historical gesture, reaching out to the island of Cuba and the Diaspora and embracing the multiplicity of world experiences. In the pavilion will be Cuban artists living in Spain, Canada, US and the Island—a realistic picture of our time.

Being part of this is huge—an extraordinary honor, affirmation and validation of my practice in the international discourse—it means you’re on the short list in the art world. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to get there.

This past week as I was doing my site visit, Gagosian Gallery was installing Anthony Caro’s work right next to mine. It was exciting to see the display of resources and power—being Biennale neighbors is precious.

What work will you be exhibiting?

We will be exhibiting a new piece: “53+1=54+1=55. Letter of the Year. “

It’s completely structured as a response to the theme of the Biennale, the “Encyclopedic Palace,” and to our site in the Emperors Room in the Piazza San Marco’s Archeology Palace. We are hoping to get all funds we need to execute the piece.

Are your students excited?

They truly are! Last year I took my Installation class to the Havana Biennial—we did our own fundraising, which included me cooking dinner for a VIP group. The fundraising paid for all the tickets, and we went to Havana for 12 days. I believe it was a life changing experience for many of them.

Will your students get involved in the Biennale?

They are already involved! I share with them and have reported throughout the development of ideas and production. I’ve shared the high and lows. We just did a presentation at MIT at the Artist in Context Conference. Four students are working with me, and one with Neil. Both Neil and I are professors within the ProArts Consortium, so we exchange students—a true rapport of interdisciplinary practice. Engaging the students in opportunities like the Havana and Venice Biennials really solidifies their education—we call it learning by immersion, bringing students to the place where things happen. A week in such context catalyses the entire year of classroom lectures and practices.

What’s next for you?

A sabbatical, my first solo show in France at the Saint Etienne Museum of Modern Art in January of 2014, a show at Tufts, a project a the deCordova Sculpture Park, other international shows and of course mothering and being a wife and mentor. And spending few days on the beach in Cuba, don’t you think?

Thank you, Magda, and congratulations again!

Thank you for asking me.

Posted in Awards, Blog, SMFA Exhibitions, SMFA News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SMFA 2013 Spring Sidewalk Sale, May 10 and 11

SMFA 2013 Spring Sidewalk Sale – Support Art Students

It’s a beautiful day in Boston to support SMFA student artists!

Help support SMFA students today and tomorrow (and maybe find that special Mother’s Day gift) at the annual Spring Sidewalk Sale!

Hundreds of pieces of artwork by more than 50 SMFA students are for sale. The wide range of creative work includes ceramics, photography, screen prints, handmade cards and jewelry, T-shirts, paintings and much more.

Prices start at around $5 and all proceeds go to the individual artists.

The Sale takes place outdoors along Museum Road between SMFA and the MFA, rain brings the Sale inside to 230 The Fenway. Hours are 10 am – 5 pm each day.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Alumni, Blog, SMFA Exhibitions, SMFA News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SMFA Students Intern at LouisBoston

Each semester, the Artist Resource Center connects students with internships throughout the city. This fall, Eileen Wang and Pepper Ellet’s credit-bearing internship was at LouisBoston, one of Boston’s premier clothing stores. Eileen and Pepper helped to construct a variety of eye-catching displays for the holiday, including a 10-foot-tall holiday tree ball gown fashioned from over 25,000 recycled plastic spoons (below). We asked Eileen and Pepper about their experience.

Eileen Wang and plastic spoon tree at LouisBoston

Eileen Wang at LouisBoston

What program are you in at SMFA, and what is your artistic focus?

EW: I am currently in my third year in the BFA program, and I would say that my focus right now is soft sculpture. I’ve been calling them my Closet Diaries, because they are a series of soft sculptures that seek to present a visual commentary about clothing. Using second-hand clothing from thrift shops as the base of the sculptures, I try to understand the personality of the clothing and build into them. While the end products still resemble clothing articles, they are transformed in such a fashion that they become no longer wearable and are viewed as a wall piece.

PE: I’m in my last semester of my fourth year of the BFA program. My work focuses on installation, performance, public intervention and event production.

How did you hear about this internship?

EW: I found this internship on artSource, and immediately applied for it!

PE: I heard about this internship three years ago from Judy Blotnick, who taught “Art as Fashion, Fashion as Art.” I then saw it listed on artSource while I was looking for internships and Louis was the first to call me back.

Tell us about a few of your projects.

EW: One project always inspires another. I took the hula hoops used for the fall installation and transformed them into the star for the spoon tree. Then because the feedback I received from the star was so positive, it then developed into a series of ceiling installations. I was really lucky to have the support of my supervisor, Khayista, in furthering each creative project. Other than the sculptural installations in the store, I also enjoyed helping to set up trunk shows for visiting designers as well as changing around the visual arrangement of the store.

PE: The best parts about the internship were the space itself, the location on the waterfront and the beautiful merchandise we were working with.

How do you think you’ll use this experience going forward?

EW: This internship actually opened a new field for me which I am really excited about. I feel that making visuals is a way to combine my two passions: fashion and fine arts.

I am constantly inspired by not just the beautiful construction of the clothing there, but also the interaction between the customers and the clothing in the store. Why are people attracted to certain clothing? What does picking a certain piece of clothing say about the customer’s personality? How can I incorporate the personality of the clothing into the visual displays of the store? This internship was not only a very relevant learning experience for my art practice, but I found a new interest in making installations for the store.

PE: It was an important experience for me in that it positioned me into a professional environment in which it was essential that I learned to assert myself and be taken seriously as an artist and not just an intern. I think that facing obstacles forced me to learn how to articulate and legitimize my creative input—and that’s what will be most helpful to me in any professional environment in the future.

Do you have another internship in the works?

EW: I do! I have plans to be in New York for this coming summer.

PE: I am not able to do an internship in my last semester at SMFA but in the future I plan on applying for internships with event coordinators.

What are your plans and hopes after you graduate?

EW: As of now, I am interested in continuing to explore visuals. I am curious about all visual aspects of a store: how it looks, how it is set up, and how that setup interacts with people. I see stores as a space where I can be very creative and have lots of people interact with my creations as well. It is so amazing to be surrounded by beautiful clothing, and be able to create a space based on them.

PE: I hope to be stable enough financially after I graduate to still make art in some way. It is not my expectation to become a working artist showing in galleries, but to incorporate and articulate the awareness and creative perspective that art school has afforded me into whatever I happen to be doing to pay the bills.

Posted in Blog, SMFA News | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments