Hey guys, and welcome to this week’s installment of the student spotlight! Yay! This time around we have Jennifer Peters, a student in the MFA program with a lot to say and share!
Name: Jennifer Peters Class of 2017
Major: MFA Visual Arts
I am majoring in Art because… it combines some of my favorite things: an intense research-driven interest in the psychology and philosophy behind art and aesthetics, a passion for knowledge, and the ambition to creation something that is not only interesting, but thought-provoking. Honestly, it is the most logical path for me to take as I would literally be in an existential crisis if I did not ART.
The kinds of things that inspire me are the playful interaction of light and shadow on a right breezy day; a soulful song with a kickin’ bass line; a deep, brilliantly colored sky with a really enjoyed learning about various theories regarding aesthetics and the philosophy of beauty, in combination with possible social implications a work of art may be alluding to, and of course learning about the art itself. On the other hand, I was very lucky to get into the last semester offered through MU, a program at Peters Valley Craft School. That was by far the most my skills were stretched and tested in a short amount of time, perfect for a student like me who likes to take full advantage of any summer classes or programs. Hopefully the partnership with them will be reinstated in the near future. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
When I’m not in class I…work at an engineering firm. Currently I handle sensitive documents but a couple years ago I helped to design a local town’s welcoming area, complete with huge sign and a fancy clock. I also run a small pottery business called Under the Eaves Studio, named after one of my favorite Henri Matisse paintings. Mainly I do commissioned work, really enjoying the challenge, and will attempt to make anything from figurative or abstract sculptures to the ever-popular butt-mugs and stoneware dish sets. I also make holiday knick-knacks like pumpkins and snowmen to sell at local festivals. When I’m not playing with mud inside, I’ve usually got my hands in it outside. I have a pretty extensive herb garden, everything from cool mountain mint to the showy passion fruit vine, that I harvest and make tinctures, salves and teas from. Nature provides for what ails ya, and it’s really just the bee’s knees.
The coolest thing I’ve done so far was… this is a hard question. Like, what is “cool”? Let’s see, I’ve traveled to several different states, my favorite so far has been Alaska. I’ve traveled to Europe and South America. In Guatemala I helped build a school with a modernized water system. I mostly just drilled holes in pvc and nailed things together but that trip is definitely one of my fondest memories: I met some incredible people, was eternally humbled by the poverty I saw there and yet was simultaneously lifted up by the joy I felt and the beauty in that misty, mysterious landscape. It was the first time I ever saw a spider the size of a baseball… that spider is now dead. RIP Kevin. It was the first time I ever had to shovel a bus out of a mudslide, the first time I haggled because that is the custom and the first time I was convinced that saints really do exist. The woman who is in charge of the mission program, MiRefugio, practically glows with lovely silver light.
On a much more personal level, I managed to get myself clean from a fairly substantial, life-ruining addiction to heroin. Ten years sober, so that’s pretty damn cool. The journey back from that particular hell was not only tremendously terrifying, but also brutally enlightening.
I have visited Mont Saint-Michel at sunset; successfully poured molten bronze into a tiny little mold; read a 600 page book in 24 hours; flown in a small four-seater plane, piloted by my dad; had the privilege of folding the flag at the American Cemetery in Normandy; and once completely trapped my hands with an automatic trunk lid, without breaking any fingers. So you see, it really depends on what your definition of cool is.
When I graduate I plan to…stare into the eternal abyss. After that brief moment, I will continue to develop my portfolio, one that displays my strengths and interests, in order to apply for jobs. I graduate in just a few months so I’ve already started putting out some feelers to a couple different companies and universities, keeping my options open and looking for quality employment, anything from product/toy design to museum and faculty positions. I truly enjoy learning and setting a challenge for myself, therefore, over the next several years I will also be working towards a PhD, with emphasis on philosophy and design, particularly that of man-made sacred objects & architecture that mimics nature.
I’d recommend the Art program at Marywood because… the facilities are pretty bomb. Did you know we have a forge? And Tim Clauss? He is like a walking encyclopedia of how to make stuff, literally anything. So good.
Who is your favorite artist, and why do they inspire you? I have a couple different art heroes. This concept relatively new to me, brought to my attention the first semester I had at MU, with Professor Bob Griffith. He asked me who my art hero was and I had literally never thought about it before. Like, duh! So now I have two main people that I really dig: Andy Goldsworthy and Chiharu Shiota.
Goldsworthy is an environmentalist sculptor who makes site-specific sculptures and land art situated in natural and urban settings. The way he uses the palette of available material to make the earth vibrant with color and movement is wicked cool.
Shiota does these massive installations that are collections of objects, a network of thread, yarn and possessions. Her work brings to light the concept of memories and the expression of human activity.
I also get inspired by the massive steel forms of Richard Serra, the technical and delicate beauty of Hara Kiyoshi’s pottery and the impressive shape-work of Beate Kuhn. I think it’s best to get inspiration and information from many different sources, this way you are well-equipped to make a true decision, whether in art or in life.
Here is some of Jennifer’s awesome art!
Thanks for sharing your art and the inner workings of your mind with us! If you want to check out more of Jennifer’s work, she has an Instagram as well as an etsy where she sells some cool stuff! Until next week guys, don’t forget to stay creative!