I remember when it started, particularly that trip to LA in 2018, in the Dialogues and Practices class. We stumbled through the airport trying to find each other, but managed to get into a groove, to get a better sense of each other, and of how we approach art and each other. It was intended as a bonding experience, and it was.
I’ve always found it a gift to be able to witness the full scope of what happens in the bubble of an MFA program. Two years goes fast, but so much happens.
This time around. . . . whoah.
The world looks and feels massively different than it did just two months ago. We’re in the midst of a paradigm shift. It is the kind of thing that we talk about in conceptual and theoretical terms in art school. And here it is, a condition to address in reality.
It’s exciting, and it is scary.
I don’t know about you, but I’m saddled with extra weights of despair (have you seen Depression Kitty on Big Mouth?), but also surprising jolts of inspiration. This has been a month of intense brainstorming—something I love engaging, but boy can it be tiring! Especially when things go into the implementation phase. We pulled something off!
There are some things, though, that are still fairly consistent. We go into this public facing phase of an MFA program with the dream of splashy debuts and immediate notice. But one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned being involved behind the scenes on these shows (and I’ve done quite a few) is that sense of calm that comes after the rush. It’s a realization that the machine moves more slowly, and that’s a good thing.
This is going to be the case this time around. None of us quite knows what is next, what new opportunities will open up, how conventional means will mutate and migrate to new locations.
But I want to go back to the time we’ve known each other. As we began to reconnect on Zoom, engaging our Brady Bunch/Hollywood Squares grid of faces, I began to experience something interesting. Looking at my screen at all of you, I was overcome with a wave of emotion, that lurching sensation in the heart.
I attribute this to that sense of connection that is super important right now. And it really can transcend a digital platform and that emotion can push through the hard plastic screen. It was wonderful to see everyone in that space, to realize that the conversations continue even though our moods are pinging around like popcorn bursts. We’ve continued to move forward, to find ways to keep going when I’d rather just sink into a binge watch.
We are all in this together. We’re sharing the pride, the fear, the disappointment and anxious anticipation. I think the greatest art is that which makes me feel something. And right now, we have that in abundance.Congratulations!
With love and hope—