With graduation season comes a new wave of art-school graduates,
their Masters of Fine Arts degrees conferred by Massachusetts College
of Art, Boston University, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
What do you learn in such programs, and when you are done, what comes
Born: Colorado Springs
A contemporary artist you
admire: "James Rosenquist. He's one of the founders of Pop, and his
work has been inspirational to mine."
Was art school worth it? "I have to say yes."
Why? "The amount of time it affords to you to do nothing but
concentrate on your work. I wanted to bump up the resolution of the
rendering of my paintings and become a more patient painter. To be able
to sit with a painting constantly for upwards of, for some, six
How did school change your art and/or process? "Before I came here,
the meaning of the paintings was a hell of a lot more shallow."
How did you choose your medium? "I've always painted in oil. And BU specifically is a painting school."
What makes your voice unique? "I think my work tries to engage a
conversation not just with someone with an education in art history. It
tries to get a dialogue going with anybody about the images in the
world about us."
Where do you find your inspiration? "Anywhere from the grocery aisle
to the neighborhood I live in. It's always just moments of walking
around and responding to what my eye catches."
What's next? "I'm in a show currently in the Gallery @ Green Street.
I'm going to be in a show this summer at the Nielsen Gallery down on
Newbury. The next thing is to fire up the studio and continue the
Born: Redwood City, Calif.
A contemporary artist you admire: "Terry Winters.
He's a printmaker and a painter. I agree with his whole philosophy of
painting, as well as how he integrates printmaking and drawing and
painting all together."
Was art school worth it? "Definitely."
Why? "Because I had two years to focus solely on my painting."
How did school change your art and/or process? "I started taking
printmaking, so when I starting making woodcuts and etchings, the
visual language of my works changed drastically."
How did you choose your medium? "When I started 10 years ago, there
was a natural moment when I fell in love with oil painting. I feel like
I didn't have a choice. It just suited me and my personality and what I
wanted to say."
What makes your voice unique? "I'm trying to be as personal as possible. I try to really draw on my own experiences."
Where do you find your inspiration? "From other artists, from the
landscape, from everyday existence. Every walk I take. Every path I
What's next? "I'm going to paint. I just rented a studio in Somerville and I'm going to try to find teaching opportunities."
School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Born: Kingston, Ontario
Resides: Cambridge, Ontario
artist you admire: "Gerhard Richter. He seems to have accomplished a
remarkable level of mastery both technically and in his historical and
Was art school worth it? "Yes, it was. One, because it will allow me
to be a university professor, which is what I always wanted to do. Two,
it made me a better artist. Three, it allowed me to meet some really
interesting people who will be helpful in my career."
How did school change your art and/or process? "It helped me find my
own voice within the contemporary art scene within America, something I
hadn't been that famliliar with until I came to the US."
How did you choose your medium? "I think it kind of chose me. You
mess around with a bunch of different stuff, and suddenly something
What makes your voice unique? "I would say that my interest in the
history of art, the theory and philosophy of art, and really
traditional technical issues are some things I try to triangulate.
Usually you're in one camp or another."
Where do you find your inspiration? "In museums and on the Internet, for the current body of work."
What's next? "I'm actually going to do an MA and perhaps a PhD in art history/
critical theory, and still make paintings."
Mass. College of Art
Born: Kwangju, South Korea
A contemporary artist you
admire: "Tom Friedman. He uses the characteristics of the material and
exaggerates it in order to transform the material without sacrificing
where it came from."
Was art school worth it? "Yes, of course. I feel like I grew as an artist and as a person."
What changed in your art and/or your process? "When I started at
Mass. Art my background as a fiber artist was directed more toward a
marketable product. I've learned about the source of my art and what
drives me to find meaning beyond what commercial art offers."
How did you choose your medium? "The material is decided by the
requirements of the idea. For the work in my thesis show, the idea was
accumulation. I needed a material that would express this in a very
direct way. It actually took me a long time to find just the right size
and quality of bead to use for `3,000 Prayers.' "
What makes your voice unique? "I am an individual, so of course what
I have to say is different than others. I am from Korea, so my thinking
and aesthetic is probably contributing to a distinct voice or at least
the appearance of difference."
Where do you find your inspiration? "I have many different sources,
ranging from nature to other artists' work to my family and my
experience in this new culture."
What's next? "Keep developing. Keep working. I would love to keep
doing what I'm doing. Find a studio and just keep working and at the
same time make money. I work in a textile design studio in the South
Mass. College of Art
Born: Ehime, Japan
A contemporary artist you admire:
"Matthew Ritchie. He has a vocabulary of color, a sense of architecture
and site specificity."
Was art school worth it? "Yes, my mind is so much more open [and] .
. . it's where I get criticism and relationships with my peers."
How did school change your art and/or process? "I used to focus
primarily in printmaking, but I started using materials like light
boxes and making space installations."
How did you choose your medium? "I'm always looking for new
material. This time I chose to engage with acetate and vellum, which
have so much possibility for transparency."
What makes your voice unique? "My art is crazy and my process is
painful. I usually count numbers, sometimes 1 through 8,000. But I
believe in my instinct."
Where do you find your inspiration? "I try to analyze myself, inside
my mind, and I try to find contradiction between self and the larger
grouping of society."
What's next? "After I graduate school, I'll continue making art at
home or get studio space. I want to develop more light box images [and]
to keep counting numbers but maybe in different ways, or different
characters or language."