This is the time of the year for all of us in the second year of our Master of Fine Arts are feeling the crunch. I find myself wishing I had more time than the month and a half left of school to do all the projects, paintings, drawings, videos and installations still left unexecuted in my mind. But will the inspiration ever stop? I hope not. I have to remind myself that when I leave this community of fabulous artists in my MFA, my career as an artist doesn’t end, it BEGINS.
So here is some advice I’m giving to myself and to my classmates in these last two months before the final show, final review, and graduation:
1. Focus on creating solid relationships with professors you click with. Plan on keeping in touch with them, and do that. Write thank you notes to those who have particularly helped you.
2. Solidify your friendships with your classmates. They are now your colleagues and allies, not your competition. Historically, it’s when artists stick together, help each other and have each other’s back that great things happen.
3. Utilize the services that the school offers. While you’re a student, you can check out the library, have the option of using a room to build an installation, borrow equipment, and hire models at a half rate. If there’s a big, awesome project that the school’s facilities can help with, do it now while they are available to you.
4. Get all the input you can. It’s helpful to get lots of voices about your work, so that you can see it from many different angles. Not that you’ll take everyone’s advice, but different perspectives help stimulate creativity. While in art school, you have well respected artists who have been around the block in your studio who can help guide you around mistakes they may have made in their own career. So take advantage of all the critics you can to get them in your studio, while it’s their job to give you helpful critiques.
5. WORK. Make the best work you can, in the least amount of time you can, to realize the vision in your mind.
Last but not least, enjoy the community and camaraderie, and be proud of what you’re about to finish. You’re about to graduate…congratulations! That’s a big deal. And who knows, maybe you’ll be the next art star.