Cohort and Community

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Working alongside the Creative Arts Fellowship cohort during the past spring semester and into this summer has played a crucial role in stimulating my creative process and my reflection upon how my work can situate into larger conversations and communities. When I received the Creative Arts Fellowship I didn’t realize just how excitingly vast the mediums of my cohort’s projects would be, spanning from film to embroidery to orchestral arrangements. Hearing my peers talk about fields that I’m unfamiliar with broadened my understanding of creativity across disciplines and ways to convey the messages of projects using unique toolkits. Despite the range of formats, these differences allowed me to approach my own work with an expanded mindset and utilize feedback from the perspectives of people outside the field of visual arts. 

The creative process can be a daunting path to travel down alone. I had never worked on a single project for the amount of time that the Creative Arts Fellowship provides (nearly 10 months from proposal to the final presentation!). And as an illustrator by hobby in 2021, surrounded by the whims of digital algorithms and likes and content creation, I sometimes find myself seeking instant gratification and chasing numbers rather than artistic growth. Not that those are mutually exclusive, but having the space to truly dig into a project and audibly share ideas over two semesters has helped me develop my work both on and off the page. I’ve loved learning how my peers approach their work and what piques their curiosity. Though not everything translates neatly between disciplines, even seeing the schedules they set for themselves or how they organize their future plans has been an opportunity for me to learn new skills and habits!

Since I feel most comfortable with a pencil or paintbrush in my hand, I would love the chance to learn more of the statistical and numerical skills that could inform both my personal and artistic life. I know many creators I admire downplay the sheer amount of effort that goes into their small businesses or practices for fear of scaring off aspiring artists. I struggle with efficient ways of keeping track of a budget or supplies or work hours, so these skills could help me maximize my creative energy and even market myself if I decide to pursue art as a source of income in the future.

Even now as I continue to work on my artist book I’ve found it necessary to document my tests with various types of paper and rank how well different materials perform on each surface. By taking detailed notes about this process and translating them into a spreadsheet, I hope to save myself paper, time, and money further down the road. The Creative Arts Fellowship has granted me the space to grow and reflect on my process through a community of interdisciplinary artists, and I look forward to developing my voice and skills with each meeting.

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