As my first year at Michigan comes to a close, I am bittersweet about leaving for the summer. Of course I’m excited to go back home, but I’ve made so many great friends and memories over the past eight months here that I’m hesitant to leave.
As a freshman dual degree candidate, I chose to take my foundation year at Stamps. Every freshman, around 180 or so, takes three specific studios and a supplemental art history/theory course each semester. Although I had to work with mediums with which I was very unfamiliar, I believe I learned so much surrounded by diverse peers and great teachers.
For example, my interest in art for social justice has deepened. I have loved graphic design since early high school, and my interest has only grown. Yet now I realize the possibilities for responsible design, and design to effect social change. In Art and Design in Context and Art and Design History, I was exposed to a lot of contemporary art and the social/historical/political contexts relevant to significant artists, which made me more motivated to make my own work.
I have also gained valuable experience with different techniques and styles of art. 3D (sculpture/tactile projects) and 4D (audio/video) in particular were whole new worlds to me. At times, I felt completely inexperienced compared to my peers, but I believe that the challenge made me a better artist, who can express creativity and refine ideas to come up with a better final piece. Now I am looking forward to exploring more, whether that means delving into video and photography, or participating in performance art, or learning about UI/UX design. These explorations can lead to even bigger ideas, that are both visually appealing and progressive in some way.
What’s important is the meaning that art has for you as an artist. You can choose what to address, and what to show within your own art. Whether that is to counter harmful stereotypes, push for social progress, or just capture beauty, art is truly democratic in the sense that it is open to everyone and can consist of nearly everything. I’m beyond excited to continue my creative journey at Michigan and beyond.