I am so excited for reunion weekend and I’m not even an alumna yet! Scripps College is a magical wonderful place and I love seeing all the past students rolling through and reminiscing. I work in fundraising and alumnae relations and often get to talk with Scripps women over the phone, but talking to them in person is so much better. It’s fun and festive and gets me totally jazzed to graduate. Plus, I have a couple of friends coming to visit that I haven’t seen since they graduated last spring. There are a couple of Reunion Weekend events which are open to the senior class (for networking and what not) and so the alumnae relations office had me whip up an invite for the Senior class. It gave me a nice chance to flex my photoshop muscles. So here it is!
“The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth.” -Ezra Pound
Always be moving forward. Always be pushing yourself to do something new. Always be innovating. Always be striving. Always be starting over. Don’t get complacent. Don’t get to comfortable. New beginnings are scary but oh-so-necessary.
Mondays are hard and senior year is scary, but I am growing more lately than I ever have because I’m doing things that scare me. This is a good reminder not to fear change. We should embrace it and chase after it, because out of change comes progress. And progress is awesome.
Initially I was a little skeptical of an Irish man making art about murdered Mexican women. However, his work and his statements are a thoughtful and respectful tribute and I am glad this important crisis is getting the attention it deserves. The portraits themselves are beautiful, powerful and tragic. It’s important work by Brian McGuire and definitely deserves a look.
“The killing campaign in Mexico has taken the lives of more than 1,400 young women since 1994, mainly factory girls working in maquiladoras,sweatshops of sorts, who were abducted around town. Maguire spent time with the victim’s mothers, discussing their daughter’s lives and premature deaths, before beginning to paint two portraits of each victim: one representing the young girl during her life and another, after death. Though his works are intuitively somber in subject matter and style, they convey a subtle hopefulness in the boldness of strokes and in the unexpected pops of color.”
The title of this seres is The Absence of Justice Demands This Act and it’s showing at Fergus McCaffrey in New York through the end of the month. Check out this article and the gallery website, if you’d like.
I turned in my first full draft of my senior thesis today, so now maybe my life will be ever so slightly more sane… Maybe. It was a pretty frustrating process but I am pretty excited to move forward with edits and am pretty sure it isn’t complete crap. So that’s something. This is a little rant I wrote during a particularly frustrating moment. I was trying to wrap my head around how I write and what the implications of that process are. Not sure if it will hold meaning for anybody else but I found it really cathartic, so here it is:
Resisting the Urge to Start Over
(Or, the Glorious Temptation of Crafting Introductions to my Senior Thesis)
The blank page is a huge comfort to writers such as myself who think through arguments as they write them. The blank page offers a fresh place to start, a fresh take on the research I’ve been sifting through for the better part of a year. If my ideas ever feel stale or overworked, I simply return to my introduction and write a new one. Because once you start writing, the words and the connections begin to flow. If you buckle up and brace yourself, you can ride that flow for as long as your computer battery lasts (or until you hit the page limit.) This is usually how I write. I do research, outlines, prewrites, bibliographies, and all those other things that fall under the umbrella of “good study habits.” Then I start my introduction and all of that prep work is thrown out the window. I start over, essentially from scratch, and all of those ideas bouncing around in my head finally begin to come together into something resembling a coherent argument. When I write a paper, I do it all in one sitting. And I always ALWAYS start with the introduction.
This method of writing has served me quite well. It has helped ensure that my writing flows and made it nearly impossible to get off track. Sometimes my later self comes back to read my earlier self’s work and is surprised at the direction our argument has taken. However, I trust that process and trust my earlier self to have written something compelling. As I dutifully read through for grammatical and spelling errors, I usually end up being re-convinced of that original argument after all. Then, I happily turn it in and start thinking ahead to my next assignment. I don’t look back and I really don’t edit, at least not in any substantial way. It’s not the way we’re “supposed” to write, but it works, so I stick to it.
It doesn’t work on my thesis. When a paper is 60-80 pages long, writing it all in one sitting is absolutely insane. Even writing it all in one week is near impossible. However that is what I have found myself doing, because I keep starting over. I wrote my introduction and then followed it for seven pages until I was about half way through my first chapter. Well done, Meghan. You made some progress today. Tomorrow, however, when I return to my writing and find that the argument isn’t complete, that my earlier self has yet to close all of the threads of her argument, I am no longer convinced. I find it impossible to continue because I can’t go back to the mindset of the night before. This old argument is dead and done. Today I have a new idea for an introduction, a new way to weave together the fragments of evidence and analysis into a coherent thesis. So I start over. I write an introduction. I am newly inspired. I follow this inspiration for maybe 9 or 10 pages this time. And then the next day I will repeat this process all over again. But 60-80 pages of introductions do not add up to a single senior thesis. I can’t keep starting over. I can’t keep giving in to the pleasure of a blank page.
I’ve been taking some extra time lately to explore the various art communities on Instagram. And there are a lot of them. Like tons. Because it’s such a visual platform, Instagram attracts a lot of brilliant and creative people. Not just photographers either, but people who are making art in all sorts of mediums. One of these new discoveries that has me totally inspired is Elizabeth Pawle. She is an illustrator and textile artist who sells her work on Etsy. She is crazy talented and makes these epic wall hangings using burlap and embroidery thread. The series is called Scatterings and features beautifully textured abstract patterns in bright neon colors. She uses yarn and wool and all sorts of other fun odds and ends in order to create something both visually stunning and completely unique. I love these. I think they are so cool. The bright pinks and yellows really pop against the beige background and it all fits together into something completely cohesive.
Katherine Jury (or @katefjury as she’s known on Instagram) creates beautiful abstract paintings in soft sherbet colors. They are low-key gorgeous and perfect for spring/easter/whenever. I feel like a lot of contemporary art tries to shock and awe, to blast your senses and make it impossible to look away. Jury’s art doesn’t do that. But not all art needs to demand attention, some just needs to ask politely. And I would argue that this type of unassuming beauty is a lot harder to pull off.
Instead of being in-your-face, Jury’s art is subtly captivating in a way that requires serious restraint and skill. Plus it makes me feel like spring is here so that is a major plus.