ramzy asked: Congrats on the MFA. I'm curious, what are the graduate open studio days like from a grad student's perspective? What's expected of you, what's a typical day like etc? I'm entering UCLA this fall as an art undergrad but I'm also looking to get a sense of UCLA's grad program while I'm there.
Yay, I love it when people ask me questions!
Congrats on entering the undergrad program. The undergrads at UCLA make really great work, and I think they’re brilliant.
Grad open studios are the second part of a two-day event. On day one, we have faculty come in and look at our work. I think of open studios as a by-product of the faculty reviews. We get our work all set up, the faculty checks it out, then we open our doors to everyone else.
This will be my fourth reviews/open studios. Each has been easier than the last. The second was less stressful than the first because I knew what to expect, and I knew the work I was showing was stronger, and the third was less stressful than the second because the work had gotten even better. This time around, I’m so burned out from dealing with my thesis, and so busy teaching, reading for the seminar I’m taking, and dealing with personal business that I’ve barely had time to think about open studios or reviews. I’m going to show 10-12 new small prints, maybe grab a couple of things from the archive, and not worry too much. I always need a break between big bodies of work, so the project I’ve been working on lately is really just an exercise to keep my mind active until I’ve recovered from my thesis.
I HATE gallery openings, but somehow I have a lot of fun at open studios every time. Hundreds of people come in and out of my studio. People ask me questions I’d never considered and make amazing comments. Sometimes people just stick their heads in for a second and leave right away without really looking at anything. Sometimes people are obviously really into the work but don’t talk to me. In the week following open studios, I usually get a few emails from people who visited my studio, which is always neat.
Grad school (at least this grad program) is all about working at your own pace. There is nothing expected of me except that I make good, carefully considered work. I could show a single photograph if I wanted to, as long as I could justify the decision.