You're pretty rad! Connect with and/or follow Thad using the social icons!

After our “Neither Here Nor There” show I had the task of preparing for my 15 hour review. Basically you sit before a committee of five, who are professors in the college, where you present your collective body of work. This can be a naturally daunting experience by the nature of the task at hand. Standing in front of professionals attempting to be concise in your explanations/justifications. They are looking for someone who can put together an excellent, cohesive and professional thesis show. The experience was very helpful in the end, it was not something to get frustrated with but an opportunity to be better. The review forced me to slow down and take a look at what I had actually done half way through my masters. More importantly it made me look at what I was actually thinking during those times. As I’ve found, and I’m fairly new to making art for arts sake, that good art, I mean really good art, has some conceptual backing. It’s not enough to just “look pretty” or “be cool”. Good art makes the hair on your neck stand up and goosebumps appear on your fore-arms. It will tug at something inside you, whether it be pathos, logos, ethos, or in the good case, all three. A good artist will persuade you into feeling.

Last night I attended a talk/panel discussion at ASU’s Grady Gammage auditorium. The panel consisted of, to name a few; Bill Nye the science guy, Brian Greene, Ira Flatow, and one of my favorite science pop stars Neil deGrasse Tyson. It was pretty incredible, these guys have some wild brains and intense methods of thinking. Even more impressive is the way in which they are able to explain/justify the, sometimes far-out, concepts they believe in. I immediately saw connections to art and science, exploring by trying to explain the unexplainable, and doing it because it evokes something on an emotional level. Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that historically science has been supported by protecting a fear of dying by arms-racing. An act of war preparation rather than an act of privatized enthusiasm. He started by talking about how William Herschel’s telescope, which was bigger than anyone else’s at the time, allowed him to make the first ever real space discovery. He found Uranus, all previous discoveries were common knowledge because they could be seen with the naked eye, “even a caveman could see them.” But he wasn’t continuing with William, he was interested in his less popular son John Herschel. John invented cyanotype and the modern blue-print, which eventually led to the invention of color photography. BOOM! Suddenly artists could stop painting portraits of rich people, a direct realist approach, and begin painting what they FEEL! He then ripped his shirt off, underneath was a Vincent Van Gogh “The Starry Night” skin tight spandex t-shirt. Van Gogh painted what he felt in order to evoke feeling and this is what we should be doing for science…The hair on my neck stood up, goosebumps appeared and I got the chills, It made perfect sense.

After the passing of your 15 hour review it is time to think about a thesis show, marking the end of your MFA journey. A right of passage or in some cases a denied right of passage. Sitting there I understood what I needed to do to make great art and put on a great show. I am to derive an experiment based concept that will drive the content of the show. Setting up an experiment with a hypothesis that may or may not become true in the end. The evidence will become the work that comes out. A concept based upon a set of rules that the equations must follow, with constants and variables that produce content. My hands become the telescope, the rules are the rules of the universe, constants become constraints, variables become my interests, the content becomes the pieces that exit the studio. The emotional drive becomes my need to find out more, explore, and be on the frontier innovatively. I am not exactly sure what my experiment looks like yet but I know of a concept. The rest shall follow…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.