Recently I found this rejection letter…. from the first time I applied to ACAD in 2004. (Excuse the photo quality; the letter is a little beat up.) Anyway, I’m sure I was really upset to receive it, but looking back, I know I just wasn’t ready at that point in time. It’s quite funny to me now, as I worked incredibly hard during my time at ACAD, volunteering a lot, and putting a ton of effort into my work and my classes, eventually earning the Board of Governor’s Award for my department.
I take this letter as a reminder that just because someone else says no, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something, just maybe not in that time or way. Maybe you’re not ready for it. Maybe someone else is more qualified. Maybe you’re just not right for the situation. It’s a reminder to me that I am capable of doing whatever I want to do, but will sometimes need to fill in what I don’t have or modify my approach. It really does depend how bad you want it, and what you’re willing to do or give up to get it.
So now that I have that shiny new BFA…. what’s next? I mean, I’ve got a few shows and things lined up, but what am I really doing? I’ve been working hard on my practice, but feel that right now, no one but me is really looking at it. I suppose it is a little inevitable- that happy place full of community- classmates, teachers, and friends- seems a little far away now, and I’m feeling like I’m working in a vacuum. My opportunities to bounce ideas off people are becoming fewer and farther between. I mean, the boyfriend is great (supportive and everything he should be), but he doesn’t have the training to be of value to me to ask me the tough questions and help me push my work forward.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel like I’m in the ‘in-between place,’ the place I’m sure most graduates experience, but somehow seems worse for art students. Most programs I would think train you for a specific type of job, a job in your field. I am looking for a job, any job, to support me and my art ‘habit.’ Whether or not it’s in the arts. And even when I get one, is that what I really want, a day job (that may be interesting and enjoyable if I am lucky enough) and to have the odd exhibition? Is this what it’s really like ‘out there’, waiting for those few moments when people actually see your work, hoping to start a bit of dialog about it? I’ve been excited about my practice and busy making work lately, with the film and the website, doing some photography, making skeletons and Morphoid noises, prepping for a certain show, etc, but I feel like I haven’t really talked to anyone about it, except in the two times I’ve met a few of the Fibre girls for coffee. And even then, our practices are only a small part of the conversation.
I definitely miss the community, and seeing my best friends just about every day. I’m desperately trying to ‘switch gears,’ and get to a place where I feel somewhat comfortable again, a place where I know what my goals are and how I will continue my practice and pay the rent. I know that I will get there eventually, but right now, I feel a little…. uprooted.
Time, I guess.
And I think I need to figure out exactly what it is that I want, now that I’ve achieved my BFA (my last big milestone). I definitely want to go to grad school, but not because I don’t know what else to do. In this next year or so, I’d really like to find something of my stride, to reaffirm that this is the right choice for me, and hopefully make it a little easier for me to adjust after a couple more years of school (because I’ve done it once already).
My challenge now is to find my new stride, and trust that it will all work out in the end (because it will). I just hate limbo-land.
Panel information. There is a skin sample on the actual panel.
This is my work in the ACAD’s Grad Show. I dressed up in my lab coat and name tag, and talked to people about the Institute of Morphoid Research, and handed out my informational brochures. (Barb said her sister was confused, because she had never seen creatures like these where she lives in British Columbia. Point illustrated!)
My official Convocation was yesterday, with the grad show opening the day before. I don’t have many photos yet, because they’re all on my mother’s camera! This is a photo of my brand new BFA with distinction, and my Board of Governor’s Award! (Photo taken with my graduation present- a DSLR- a Canon Rebel T1i! So excited!)
Hopefully I’ll have more photos soon… including the ones my mother took of all the Fibre gals!
I found this via Lindsay, on the Wired to Worry blog. It’s encouraging, as it’s graduation time for me too, and although I know I am doing what I’m intended to do, and I do it well, there is a lot of uncertainty right now. I know that soon I will be off doing something fun and wonderful, but right now, everything is in limbo, and it’s hard to look forward. There seems to be nothing concrete to focus on.
Yesterday, I cleaned out my studio at ACAD. I cried. I feel like I’m being evicted. I know that’s a little harsh, but that school has been my “home” for the last five years of my life. I’ve spent more time there than anywhere else, probably in my whole life. While I know that I will see my studio mates again, it will be less often, and more difficult to get together. There is something really nice about going to hang out will your best friends every day. Even though we all do different things, we all have similar interests, values, fears and ambitions. It will be tough without having that safety net right there.
As Jobs says, it’s much easier to see “the dots” looking backwards than forwards. I have come a long way in five years, and will go much farther. But right now feels like the end, because I don’t know where the new beginning is yet. I have to trust that what I’ve done and what I’ve learned and who I am will enable me to go forward from here, in a way that is true to who I am supposed to be. But, even though this is a bit of an uncertain time for me, I do have passion, and conviction, and this is what I am meant to do. If I die today, am I doing what I would want to be doing? Yes. This current uncertainty is just a shifting of gears. I have no Plan B, nor do I want one. This is it. No Plan B.