I think there’s two moments. One moment where you understand the art piece that you’re making, and the second moment where the other person comes to it and sees it, and also understands it.
What makes Calvin different?
Calvin embraces a solid Reformed perspective while treasuring openness and diversity. I love interacting with the different ideas and opinions I encounter here.
How did you know what you wanted to study?
When I was a kid, my first dream was to be a writer. I had read The Chronicles of Narnia, and I wanted to be the kind of person who writes stories like that. Then I started taking drawing classes, and I loved them. I realized I wanted to tell stories through the visual medium of art.
What are the professors like at Calvin?
Well, with art, you’re responsible for your own education. It doesn’t matter at which school you’re at—a liberal arts college like Calvin or an arts-focused college. You’re responsible for drawing outside of class to advance your technique and you’re responsible for figuring yourself out. The great thing about Calvin is that the teachers listen to and care about you. They want to help you get there. They’ll challenge you to go deeper in your art, to learn more, and to push boundaries.
How has Calvin challenged you?
As an artist, I’m thinking a lot more about the images I’m making. The visual rhetoric class at Calvin really helped me understand how we’re always saying something through the images we make. I’ve been thinking a lot about questions of race—like, how do I, as a white person, represent a black person in my art? Am I representing them in a good way? Am I just falling into a stereotype? Calvin has definitely challenged me to think deeply about what I’m creating.
How have you grown lately?
I’ve been thinking about this whole idea of mindfulness that I’ve been learning about from Calvin’s Center for Counseling and Wellness. It’s this practice of being conscious of your surroundings and what you’re seeing and feeling. Sometimes in Christianity, we feel like we always have to be happy. In mindfulness, you’re given a space where you can be sad and you can grieve. Being honest about my feelings is hard because it feels like I’m not controlling them, but it’s the only way that I can truly give that control back to God.
How has the BFA program supported you as an artist?
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Program was a great opportunity for me to get more feedback from my professors as well as from my friends. At the end of every semester we set up our most recent and best work in a mini-exhibition to which professors from the department come to and give us their opinions and critiques. It’s interesting to talk with your Art History professor, not just your Studio professor, about your art and what you’re being able to accomplish. I’ve also been able to invite some of my friends to check my pieces out during these times, which I really enjoy!