Fourth-year critiques: the final test for BFA students, part 2

Last week I spoke with four of the thirteen fourth-year BFA students following their first of three critiques and toured their studio. During the critiques, faculty members and fellow students got an opportunity comment on and ask ques­tions about their colleagues’ artwork. The students gain valuable feedback and suggestions for future work.

These critiques are in-depth and time consum­ing, so the students are split into two groups. I tracked down the seven students who had their critiques on Nov. 21 and asked them the same questions.

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Siqi Xu

Shanghai, China

Can you name a real-life experience that has inspired your artwork?

My high school was an art school. We did a lot of practice with drawing and painting. So I had a lot of instructors helping me to improve my skills at the time. So that inspired me a lot with painting and dr awing, it’s very important.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I think I want to be a 3D CGI conceptual artist. I’ve been a 3D animator for a few years now. I often think about high technology artwork. I have a job with a studio in Vancouver and I’ve also been working with a couple studios in China as well.

How have you grown as an artist since your first year?

I was a student in a Vancouver animation school at the time [I got to Canada]. I did a lot with 3D animation. It was an online program. I learned a lot of tech­niques from that school, which allowed me to produce a lot of high technology and 3D computer artwork here.

What are your goals for your last semester here at TRU?

I will continue to work on my project. My major concern will be focusing on digital art and oil painting. I will discover more video editing techniques.

Tell us about your piece on display today.

In the painting essentially, I wanted to talk about small culture from water cit­ies in China. I will have three different paintings, exactly the same size as this one. Each painting will represent another city. I also shot a video to describe the cities and the culture. This city is Zhouzhuang.

Can you name an artist that is inspiring your work?

Feng Zhu, he is a concept artist. He designs for the game industry and does character designs for film. Scott Robinson is another one. He is a vehicle de­signer; he does designs for BMW and Mercedes.

 

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Finn Modder

Nice, France

Can you name a real-life experience that has inspired your artwork?

Watching boat-builders in Vancouver and realizing the work that goes into wood bending.

What are your goals for your last semester here at TRU?

I would like to better understand lumber and wood quality. I want to understand how to make my material more malleable and become more skilled in manipulating it.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Working in the art business doing art marketing. I think that art business would be more beneficial [for me], given my previous studies in economics and art history. I’m more interested in the business part of it. But you can’t do that unless you know how to make the art, if you do, you’re just an asshole.

Tell us about your piece on display today.

There was a lot of trial and error. I got smacked in the throat. I was bending the wood and putting it in the jig, and because of the tension, it released and hit me in the throat. The velocity of it was crazy town, it was nuts! I had to go to the hospital for the past few days. I could hardly speak.

Can you name an artist that is inspiring your work?

My father is an architect. He only builds super modern, square, hard lined stuff. So I do curves, the opposite. He works out of the Bahamas. His hand is always in his work. He still draws everything for his clients by hand and I think that is extremely inspiring.

 

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Devon Lindsay

Kamloops, B.C.

Can you name a real-life experience that has inspired your artwork?

Probably going up there for the first time. It’s very quiet, it’s one of the higher points that you can get to in Kamloops. I was curious as to what was going through all those towers. I got a radio scanner, went up there and recorded the audio. The audio that you hear now is audio that comes from these towers.

What are your goals for your last semester here at TRU?

To produce the best possible work that I can and leave TRU ready to pursue a MFA.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully I’ll be graduated from grad school by then. [I’ll go] anywhere in Canada that will accept me. I don’t want to go to Ontario, I know that.

How have you grown as an artist since your first year?

When I first got here, I thought I knew everything there was to know about photography. Being here has really given me the opportunity to explore photography and learn all the different processes. The faculty is very open to me trying things that are very out of the box. I got a UREAP grant from TRU to research wet-plate collodion photography, which is from 1851.

Tell us about your piece on display today.

It’s shot on slide film. The question gets brought up about why am I using this older technology. It’s an antiquated tech­nology. Some people will think it’s romantic and traditional, I don’t fall into that category. I do enjoy it as slides, it has a different, more tactile feel. You can see the film grain, the projectors are loud, they’re hard to find. The audio is radio; radio transmissions are also an older technology. So I am correlating two older technologies.

Can you name an artist that is inspiring your work?

Ian Ruhter, I’ve actually met him. He took an old delivery truck and turned it into a giant camera and shoots wet-plate images with it. I made small images, he’s doing 4 ft. x 5 ft. images out this giant truck-camera that he’s touring the United States with. He was in Vancouver and I made sure I made it there to meet him. He put all his life savings into it, packed up everything he had, bet it all on this project. He’s actually been really successful with it. He’s getting gallery shows. Betting on yourself, that is what really inspires me about his work. I got to spend a lot of time talking with him. He explained how he couldn’t just step in a little, he had to go all in. He said it was scary, but that’s what pays off in the end.

 

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Xiaoqing Zhai

Tianjin, China

Can you name a real-life experience that has inspired your artwork?

In China, the politicians can’t be talked about. It’s a secret. I wanted to [create] an irony of the Chinese society. [I want] to make people to think about that, and to speak freely. I want people in China to speak freely.

What are your goals for your last semester here at TRU?

Just to get ready for the graduating exhibition and do a lot of art!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I am interested in doing data art. It is a kind of art style that is more like a collage.

How have you grown as an artist since your first year?

When I first came to TRU, I didn’t know about drawing. I didn’t study drawing and paint­ing when I was young. Some Chinese students are very technical, they studied drawing and painting when they were kids, but I didn’t. I just started in university. I had to study hard to catch up.

Tell us about your piece on display today.

Every chairman has large hands and they represent how they are holding the rights of China. Chairmen in China are the most powerful people, so the Chinese flag is always near their hands. The chairmen hold the rights of Chinese, so they can dress however they want.

Can you name an artist that is inspiring your work?

Hannah Hoch.

 

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Brandi Mack

Quesnel, B.C.

Can you name a real-life experience that has inspired your artwork?

Through TRU study abroad I had the privilege to go to Wales and the U.K to attend school. I’m an advocate for travelling, especially at a young age, there’s so much to see.

What are your goals for your last semester here at TRU?

Everlasting friendships and connections with people.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I just want to be happy in five years.

How have you grown as an artist since your first year?

I find myself really open-minded now. I think I have a lot more faith in myself. In my first year I was really shy and not open towards exploring different art methods and showing my artwork. But now I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in my last four years.

Tell us about your piece on display today.

These are gargoyles, hybrid creatures from photos that I took in Europe. One of my main interests were these weird creatures that were incorporated into the buildings. I thought I’d bring them back to Canada and try to incorporate them into Canadian architecture because they aren’t seen as regularly here in Canada as they are in Europe.

Can you name an artist that is inspiring your work?

Kristi Malakoff. She’s a huge inspiration to me because right out of Emily Carr graduate school she went to Russia and did an artist residency there. She’s really interesting.

 

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Andrew Hood

St. Catharines, Ontario

Can you name a real-life experience that has inspired your artwork?

Experiencing the “Dream Machine.” It was at a show at an artist-run centre in Toronto. The “Dream Machine” is a kinetic sculpture that you experience with eyes closed. It’s supposed to activate the sitting potential in your brain. It was developed by a group of artists who lived in NY in the 60s and 70s.

How do you push yourself?

Make work that pushes me outside of my comfort zone and into an act of practice right after the degree. To use materials that you aren’t used to using, testing ideas where you don’t necessarily know all the answers, asking questions and using inductive reasoning, not really having an end goal, but setting out with an investigation and presenting what you’ve found.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Practicing art. I can’t really envision where I’ll be in five years, I don’t know where I’ll be. I know I’ll be in gal­leries, making and showing art.

How have you grown as an artist since your first year?

I am open to making different styles of art making and I take all projects seriously.

Tell us about your piece on display today.

I had an idea, but it was very basics. As I went, I learned about the physics of building something like this. I had to improvise with the design a bit. It’s heavily based in film and film history.

Can you name an artist that is inspiring your work?

Brad Troemel. He does conceptual art surrounding critical theory.

 

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Shannon Meyer

Kamloops, B.C.

Can you name a real-life experience that has inspired your artwork?

I was doing research on my background because I’ve recently found out that I’m part Haida.

What are your goals for your last semester here at TRU?

Finish school, finally. This is my ninth year. I was doing a double major.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Coming back to school and doing the education program, after a couple years off.

How have you grown as an artist since your first year?

My early years I was just throwing stuff on canvas to get work done. Getting toward my fourth year, I want to put some more meaning behind it.

Tell us about your piece on display today.

It’s a combination of Haida art and also based on the Nike of Samothrace, I tried to inte­grate both of them together. I am half German and 1/8 Haida. With the colours, I tried to stay more toward German colours. I did use Haida colours too, because they only use red, black and white, but I added yellow to represent Germany too.

Can you name an artist that is inspiring your work?

Brian Jungen. [He] takes Nike issues and he makes them into Haida warrior masks. He’s combining the two cultures together.