Grad School Week 5(?)

I’m pretty sure it’s week 5… but it also really might be week 6… Who knows…

Despite what week it is, my plan for grad school is not going as planned. It has honestly been much different than expected, but here I am! Chugging right along. These past few weeks have been filled with uncertainty and confusion and frustration and very little working, if I’m going to be really honest. It was almost like a paralysis of my brain and hands. Nothing seemed to work in its usual sync — a feeling I did not expect to have until much later.

I’m happy to say that it is changing. Slowly. But it’s changing. It would be really nice to say it was because of one thing or another, but I don’t think I can pinpoint it. Maybe the obsession of new thought? Making a new friend? Seeking out people to talk to? Forcing myself to use my hands and make quite literally anything? To schedule a kiln for firing to make sure I had something to put in it?

I think it was all of those things…

Chicago has been such an interesting city. Someone told me once that the word ‘interesting’ was an empty word. In a sense, I get why, but it is the only word I can use at this time. The challenges of being in a completely new place on my own has been a shock, and ‘interesting’ — as empty as it is — is the only way to describe the confusion, excitement, anger, loneliness, discovery, and beauty of the city. Give me a few more weeks and maybe the word will change. For now, interesting will do.

Studio has been the biggest challenge. I’m realizing that when left completely to my own devices, I get stuck… Thankfully, I am taking two other classes that give me articles that spark thoughts and ideas from years ago and studio has suddenly becomes a little easier. The turning point was probably the following phrase:

“Our mind is a leaking rainbow.” — from an article I had to read for class, and I’m forgetting the author…

It sparked an old thought about physicality, imagination, and planes of reality.

Basically, philosophy.

I always joke around that my undergraduate degree in studio arts taught me how to see. But it was true. Learning how to see has stemmed into learning how to ask questions about the things I’m seeing. And learning to ask questions is teaching me how to think.

My work in studio right now is about asking questions. Currently, those questions are about reality. Not necessarily finding an answer to “What is reality?” Rather, where does our reality exist? It’s a big question… But I’m curious. I’ve been curious for years now, but it seems approachable now. Maybe because I’m using my studio to ask the questions? Or I know more so I can handle the questions… Who knows!

I’m not entirely sure where those questions are taking me or what my work will look like. It almost feels like I’m channeling the uncertainty I’ve been feeling about my move into my work. It seems less destabilizing though…? All I know is I’m excited. I’m curious. More importantly, I’m experimenting. It’s also reminding me of an old series I worked on called “Contained” (the featured images in an example of some of the work from that). But I’ll get into that later!

Speaking about later, in the next few days, I’ll be uploading some images to the MFA portion of my portfolio and writing another post about the direction of my work in a little more detail (so stay on the look out for that). It ranges from instinctual building to drawing and working with the figure. Right now, there are a few different directions my brain is running in and, for now, I’m trying to let all of those paths play out.

Stay tuned! Leave a comment below or email me some thoughts about planes of reality. I’m always open to article or podcast suggestions if you’ve got them! Thanks for checking out my blog!

~ Reva


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