Hi Studio Foundation!

Welcome to Vantage Points, a quarterly newsletter created specifically for first year students. Each newsletter features the work of a MassArt alum and their reflections on the first year experience. In each issue you will find a bit about what they are up to today, their perspectives on what they wish they knew in the first year, a favorite failure, how they apply drawing to their current creative practice, and overall lessons from Studio Foundation. 

You can view past Vantage Points newsletters here: 
Issue 1, Issue 2, Issue 3, Issue 4, Issue 5, Issue 6, Issue 7, Issue 8

Best Wishes, 
Evelyn Rydz

Hello Anika Cartterfield! 

My practice is site-specific, it begins by looking closely at a place. In entering a space, a site or community, I begin not by speaking but by looking closely. I examine the land and its use: observing the specifics of the physical site itself, reading the history of the mark-making there, while simultaneously investigating the communities/individuals related to that place, to understand how their use of the space has affected its physical history. I then create video, sculpture, and new media installations that invert, twist, and create new pairings from the frameworks of the site. Through this adaptation, the works form a narrative that is part didactic and part imagined; they operate in conversation with their history, proposing new solutions from within.

I am currently in the MFA program at the University of Texas at Austin, working on a series of site-responsive installations and interventions that challenge Texas’ culture and policy around the issue of land ownership and resource use. Expanding from this local context, the works define and investigate the human impulse to claim ownership.

Image Above: Open, 2018

What I wish I knew in the first year...

Entering MassArt I had little understanding of what it meant to be a professional artist. It took years of meeting other artists and developing a practice of my own to understand that creative output is just one part of a life as an artist, to sustain a life of making, requires a commitment to communicating what your work is, and how you want it to live in the world. This process is one of networking, public speaking, writing, and sharing your work with artists, curators, and the public. When I was just starting out this engagement seemed daunting and exhausting, and it can be at times, but in reality it is a process that takes you into relationships with other artists and thinkers, ones that will expand your sense of your own work. The community built in these relationships is central to my life now--it sustains my life and my artwork.

With that said, there is no reason to wait! Immerse yourself, take every opportunity to see work and listen to other artists, ask questions and become comfortable with speaking. Your time at MassArt is the start of building a lifelong artistic community. 

Image Above: Grounded in Culver, 2019

Lessons from my first year in SF...

I will never forget the assignment from my first form study class. The prompt was to first define a need (physical or intangible) that was met by no other object in the world and then create an object that filled that need. The project proposed a meeting place between art and design, reality and proposal, a space for fictions that expand our systems of seeing. The project opened my understanding of what art could be, creating a groundwork of thinking that still defines my work today. 

Image Above: Grounded in Culver, 2019

Drawing Observations...

I did not have any relationship to drawing when I arrived at MassArt, but the intensive drawing courses that I took that year were some of my favorite. I remember being asked to go to a train station and record the space by creating 100 two-minute drawings of figures in motion. Sitting in the station and drawing for hours, I remember developing a new kind of looking, one that was slow and steady and developed over time. These classes taught me the power of close observation and work ethic-- that the best idea is never the first one. 

Image Above: Common Ground, 2019

A Favorite Failure...

Two years ago I traveled to Puebla, Mexico to take a course at the Aquetopia residency center in the ceramic traditions of the region. During the month-long residency, I set out to create a site-specific street installation that would combine the blue and white Talavera ceramics of the Spanish with the earthenware tiles of the pre-Hispanic world into a street installation, integrating both traditions, reflecting the complexities of the collision that defines the cultural landscape of Mexico today. Starting with this concept I found a spot to fit my idea; it was an old building with damaged plaster walls, I would fill a broken section of the white wall with my tiles, a perfect canvas. I created the work for this space for weeks carefully researching, painting, and firing the tiles. Two days before the install, I went to the site to find that the entire wall was now covered in a graffiti mural, one that completely changed the aesthetics and context of the site. I was so upset, but went ahead with the work and installed it anyway. The work changed dramatically, the tiles didn't communicate about the ceramic traditions interweaving, but instead became a part of a very different aesthetic, of street art culture. My initial frustration and anger at the change taught me a lesson: that when working with specific sites, I needed to keep an eye out for how my preconceptions of the place influenced my projects and to push myself to see clearer what something is before projecting what I want to see.  

Image Above: Fence, 2018

Visit Anika's Website
Follow Anika on Instagram

Hope you enjoyed this edition of Vantage Points.

Evelyn Rydz
Studio Foundation

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Vantage Points · Studio Foundation · MassArt · Boston, MA 02115 · USA

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