Second MFA?

So I am considering a second MFA in advertising, specifically art director. I was thinking about graphic design originally but feel that art director would be a better fit and for these reasons: graphic designers are concerned with the overall look of the ad, while art directors are concerned with how it feels. Also, you learn aspects of graphic design while learning to become an art director. I also feel this is a perfect and logical next step in my journey due to my background in psychology and my photography background. Both of these degrees have come together to influence the way I photograph. I am more concerned with how the photograph feels and what it communicates rather than simply what it looks like.

That being said, I have to pass my final presentation in order to begin a new program... No pressure!

And on that note, back to work!

The First Day of My Last Semster...

So today marks the first day of my last semester. Needless to say, I logged in, looked at what I have in store for me this semester and the ensuing panic has started to sink in... It is make it or break it time and I am FREAKING out! The familiar ball of nerves in my stomach is back as is the litany of doubts and questions circling my brain which already over thinks the crap out of everything... All I can do is what I have done each semester before this: show up, create and work my ass off. Also, planning on moving back to SF so that I can work on printing my images for my presentation. I need to make sure that they are perfect. Did I mention that I am freaking out??? Excited and terrified all at once!

Thesis Advisor Review

So the department of photography has a new director and she will be providing all of us students who are working on their thesis project her comments/feedback/critiques on our work to date. Seeing as I only have this semester left, I am anxiously awaiting her feedback. That way I can edit/change/enhance according to her feedback so that there is plenty of time left over in order to receive approval. Here's hoping that she will review my images soon. Did I mention that I really don't have any patience??? Sadly, it is not one of my many virtues... I'll keep you posted on what she has to say! Good bad or otherwise. For all that is holy, it has to be good!

Spring Semester... Two Weeks and Counting

I can't believe that this is my last semester! Seriously...where has the time gone? I am very excited for these last two classes as I feel that they are going to help me nail my presentation. My final thesis prep class will help me with my presentation to the committee but I hope that it does more than that. I want it to help me with the question and answer portion of the presentation so that I feel more comfortable defending my choices and also so that I can get a feel of what to expect question wise from the committee. I am also really excited for my portfolio class so that when it is completed I can start sending it to galleries around the country! It's nerve wracking to think of my work being on a wall somewhere. I have worked so hard on this project that I have become protective over it. It is almost like it is a younger version of me, yet someone else. Someone who has been through some rough shit that I want to protect from judgement and criticism. Yet I know once this project comes to a close that I have to release it into the world so that it can be free and do some healing on its own...

Goals and the Happiness Project

I hate to be cliché and use the phrase "new year, new me" but I have started a practice that I believe will help me attain my goals and increase my overall happiness and who doesn't want that. It is proven that people who write down their goals and specify exactly how they plan on obtaining them are more likely to do so. Since the beginning of 2016, I have been writing down three things that I am grateful for and happy about. Each day they have to be something different and why I feel grateful/happy for these things in my life. (Currently reading The Happiness Project where I got the idea from) Then I write down my goals. There are two and every day they are the same. First, nailing my final thesis presentation so that I can graduate. I will achieve this by continuing to photograph myself for my project and working on developing a strong portfolio and working on the completion of my presentation to the committee. Both of which I will work on throughout the spring semester in my portfolio and presentation class. Second, achieving my best self. While I wouldn't say this project has been cathartic, I am at the point where I want to be happy again and feel proud and accomplished of all that I have achieved. I am accomplishing this goal through therapy (this is a first for me), working out and giving up wine for the month of January!

Grades

So I ended up with an A- in my Fine Art class and a B+ in my concept and critical processes class. Quite frankly, I feel that I should have gotten an A in that class. I received A's on 10 out of 15 assignments, regularly posted in the discussion topics, and got B+'s on both the midterm and the final in the class. I am planning on reaching out to my advisor to see who I should talk to about this seeing as I messaged the teacher and received no response... I guess I just hate it when I feel that things are unfair. If I felt that I truly deserved a B, I wouldn't push it. However I know how hard I worked in that class and feel that I should have gotten an A in the course.

Thesis Presentation

So my thesis presentation has been set for the 5th of May. To put it mildly, shit just got real! I am so excited but nervous as well. I know how hard I worked in order to pass my MPR and failure is not an option. I have to pass! I have been working my ass off, baring my soul, both literally and figuratively for this project. So much is riding on my graduating...firstly I plan on entering into another MFA program for graphic design and I also plan on returning to Italy in January 2017 for another year through an artist residency program and I can't do either of those things unless I graduate. I know that I still have so much work to do, but I am confident that this final semester and the classes I am taking (Thesis prep and portfolio) will prepare me for a solid and successful presentation.

Missing the Motherland...

I can't believe that I have been back in the desert for almost a month... While I am happy to be spending time with family and friends, I am missing Italy like a long lost lover. The desert is dry, sandy and well...not Italy. Is it crazy that I am planning on entering an MFA graphic design program after this one so that I can go back to Italy on another residency??? Just one catch, I have to graduate in spring first. No pressure! Seriously though, I literally bearing my hear and soul for this project and am confident that come presentation time that I will be ready! Speaking of which, my thesis advisor just contacted me about booking my time slot for my presentation... Let the anxiety begin. In the meantime project Get Me Back to Italy is in full effect! 

Triple A's

So excited to report that I have received an A on my last three images for my Concept and Critical Processes class. YAY me! Looks like things are final coming together. I feel as though summer semester was really a launching point for me to move forward past my midpoint review and start moving toward my thesis project. I have found my aesthetic and am slowly creating a strong and beautiful body of work. 

Raff...

Aside from getting to live in one of the most beautiful countries this past year, I also was fortunate enough on my journey to meet someone shortly before I left. This person was instrumental in helping me rediscover the old me. The part of me that I had buried for so long and feared lost forever. Meeting him was a bit of a revelation and for the first time in for a long time, I finally feel like I am on the road to getting the "old" me back. Only this time coupled with more life experience, a better understanding of myself and a lot more sass.

Grazie mille caro mio! 

Sempre, 

Jenny 

 

Back to reality...

So it's been a week since my exhibition in Florence, Four Walls Four Women. I was the only photographer exhibiting self portraiture. This was the first time I have shown my thesis work and it was very overwhelming. Would they get it? Would they like it? The viewers reactions were very interesting. Either it made them uncomfortable due to the nature of the imagery or they stood there slightly staring. One of the best reactions was two women who came up to me and thanked me for creating the work, saying that it was very brave to put myself out there like that and that the images moved them because they could relate to the emotions in the images. That moment was so rewarding and validating! 

So I am back in the desert and I have to say it feels very surreal to be home. Toto, we are not in Italy any more!!! The best part of being back is having a larger environment to shoot in and I am just in time as one of my teachers said that he wouldn't accept any more images that were taken in my Florence studio... Only four more weeks of the semester which means it is time to shoot, shoot, shoot! 

Midterms...

So midterms are completed and over! Still waiting for grades and critiques, but I feel confident that they went well. I can't believe that the semester is half over and that I only have less than three weeks left in Italy... Where has the time gone? I am looking forward to having more spaces to shoot in as I feel that the environment in the images is getting a bit redundant. That and I can't wait to hang out with my mom! In the meantime, work, work, work! 

 

Things are looking up!

I can't believe that I only have four weeks left in Florence. While this journey has been really tough at times, I have learned more about myself in the process. Something that happens every time that I come to Italy and for that I will always be grateful. I just had my friend Tiffany visit which was followed by my dad and his wife a week later. It was so nice to have company and to show them why I love it here so much. I got to show them the reason why I always keep coming back here. Classes are going well. I have an A- in my Critical Processes class and a B+ in my fine art class. Nik is teaching us art theory and we are assigned each week to create an image based on that theory along with our creation of thesis project images. I like this because it gets me out of my own head and am able to flex my creative muscles. I have gotten an A on each one and that makes me feel really proud! However, we are already at module 6 and midterms are next week!!! Where has the time gone? Though am looking forward to going home in order to have a larger environment with which to shoot in. That being said, I plan to make the most out of the next four weeks. School, travel and time with friends old and new! Ciao! 

Down the Rabbit Hole

I am slowly starting to feel the depression setting back in. This "artist" residency is nothing like I thought it would be. At least I am able to photograph myself inside of my studio. Otherwise I would have had to go back home a long time ago. It is really hard being here. I know that I must sound like a spoiled brat. Yet I am so broke to where I can't go anywhere, I spend 99% of my time alone and I am working for a school and getting nothing in return. If I was a book maker, painter or film photographer I would have studio space. As a digital photographer, not so much. Not to mention that their PS software is so old I don't recognize it. The only thing keeping me here is knowing that I have a friend coming for ten day next week and my dad and his wife are coming 2 weeks after that. I have decided to come home early. I need more variety of spaces to work within and am scared that the depression might get worse. I'll finally be able to have the money to do some traveling at the end of September but at this point I don't even feel like it. The saving grace is my project. It allows me to funnel all my emotions into it. 

 

This is not my eat, pray love...

Things have been so hard here. I know that I should be grateful to live in the country that I love, but I am so utterly alone. Despite frequenting local cafes and restaurants I haven't made any friends. I am lucky t have made a few friends through the school that I am at, yet that too isn't living up to the dream of what I thought it would be. I am really lonely. Thankfully my work allows me to channels these feelings into it, but still it is hard and sometimes I just want to give up. 

Start of Fall Semester

Fall semester has begun. I can't believe that I am going to be done with school at the end of next spring. I know that I have made great strides on my thesis project and my overall style as a photographer, but I feel as though I am still growing and learning and I am scared to death that I don't have enough time yet to develop my skills. I am worried that I won't be ready. I am taking two photo classes this semester and none in the spring, hence my worry! Although the two classes I am taking (portraiture and concept & critical processes) will really help in pushing the narrative of my project. The first will assist in refining my lighting as well as how I photograph myself and the second will work in allowing me to explore adding more environment into the images thereby furthering the narrative. Keep your fingers crossed and send some good mojo my way! 

Rain!

The last few days promised rain, but as it alway is with weather in Italy, it was unpredictable. When it says it will rain, it never does and then when you least expect it, it shows up. The weather says that it will rain and then just to spite you it doesn't. That is how I got caught in the rain 2 weeks ago. Blue skies were predicted and yet there was a torrential downpour. I loved it!  I can't say why rain makes me feel better, why it lifts my mood and makes me think of new possibilities. Maybe it has to do with its cleansing benefits. In the desert, I always knew what the rain smelled like. What made it that way. In Florence, I am at a loss. Perhaps because we still don't know each other that well, even after 8 months of living here. I just know that every time it has me thinking about a rebirth, getting out of my funk and working harder on my project, 

Finals!

I seriously am having a hard time shaking this fink I am in. It is beginning to worry me a bit actually... That being said, I still have to power through finals. Most of the work for my business class is completed thankfully. However, I still need to complete a 5-7 minute narrated slideshow for my fine art class. You are to talk about the work as though you are presenting it to a gallery. I don't know why, but I have the hardest time talking about my work. Yes I am getting better at it but I am very concise in my approach meaning my presentation is not at 5 minutes. I know people who get all flowery when they are talking about their work and all I can think is that it sounds like a bunch of BS. That they are trying to make up for something that isn't there... because their work doesn't stand on its own. Art school and the art world in general is no joke! It is hard, frustrating and exasperating at times. However making art, that one image that is magic, that makes it all worth it in the end. Let's face it, I have a love hate relationship with art life! 

Narrative

So I have found that I have had a hard time adding more narrative into my imagery. By that I mean more of the environment. It is difficult when you are shooting solely in a studio apartment to start adding in pieces of the house without it getting redundant. My thesis advisor suggested that I start adding in elements of Italy, but that isn't what this project is about. It is about a pervading mental space. A period of my life that I went through that was extremely difficult. I realize that I will have to add in more visual detail in order to avoid redundancy but I am getting frustrated and as usually happens at the end of the semester am running out of creative juice. Thankful that I still have two more semesters in which to create new work. Also, looking forward to moving back home so that I will have a larger variety of places to shoot in. 

Funkytown

I am in such a funk today. Have felt it coming on for the last few. Summer school is kicking my ass. I am feeling stagnated with creating imagery for my fine art class. Realizing the highs and lows of image creation is that some will be and make you feel proud and that those created thereafter will look to you like a piece of garbage. Grateful that we didn't have to create any new work this week. I need to replenish my creative juices. My business practices class is the bane of my existence. I knew that I would need to learn this info at one point and realize its value, yet creating these documents with no prior business experience is proving to be much harder that I originally thought. Not to mention that everything in summer school moves at warp speed due to the time constrictions. UGH! I just want to bury myself under the covers and not get out of bed for three weeks. Must...keep...going...