How did VCFA change your approach to thinking about your studio practice and your community at home?
I was really able to mobilize the resources of my community at home and create mutually beneficial relationships with many organizations and people in my city – relationships that did not exist to quite that degree prior to my entering the program. A nice surprise was that I also found a lot of confidence in my studio process while completing the program.
Prior to VCFA, I would often experiment quite heavily in the studio and be very hard on myself for not knowing immediately what I was doing or what the work was “about”. Now, I realize how important the experimentation and the not knowing actually is – it’s a crucial step in my process.
But the biggest change is that my end product now communicates with an audience and seeks to affect some sort of change in the world whereas with previous work, I was more interested in doing what made me personally happy or inspired. But I had become unhappy making that kind of work. It just wasn’t fulfilling to me anymore which is why I enrolled in VCFA in the first place.
I really wanted to enact a pivot in my studio practice and learn how to make work from a more critical perspective. As much as I tried to change that on my own, I really did ultimately need the guidance of the VCFA program to learn how. And the final crucial change (of course) is that my research and close observations now influence a lot more of the decisions I make in the studio.