What it’s like to be an art student

To give you a clearer idea of what my life has been like, here is everything I’ve done in the last month.

Last month I was either wrapping up or just starting my partner based documentary project with Devin, I can’t quite remember. Here it is:


I started a project and desperately wanted to spend more time with it but basically got one shoot in where I was going door to door and asking to take portraits of strangers in their homes:

abstractshit-5 abstractshit-6

I briefly went missing (to the broader body of people I know, I knew where I was) at the Eastern Shore of Virginia, mostly on a whim. I made some pictures:


but mostly it’s currently unscanned film, and even that is gross and still unedited.

Me and my friends had one weekend to write, shoot, and edit a film. My very talented friend Devin Hein took point and killed it aesthetically, we were along for the ride. We used all the time, including the few minutes before critique, to make this:

I’ve been shooting a lot of 4×5 film for darkroom class and that’s just kinda been ongoing, but I used some the prints to make this wild photo sculpture:

image (2)

I second shot a wedding with my high school friend Paul Hairston (http://www.paulhairston.com/) in Charlottesville. Staying on my professional hustle as well.


Professionally, I also did the photography for the various events of my high school’s homecoming, and have been making portraits of some of VCU’s police force on some scholarship money that my designer friend John Sampson (https://www.behance.net/JSampson) and I earned.

emhs scocer-1-2 police

I juuuuust finished (after the most frantic eight hour location shoot, and two sleepless nights in four days editing) a narrative film for my filmmaking studio.

Oh! Right. I almost forgot that every day I’ve been taking a medium format photo from a randomly generated word. My word today is “Informal” and it’s stressing me out. Here’s a buncha pictures from that.

vmfaproof-1 vmfaproof-2 vmfaproof-3 vmfaproof-4 vmfaproof-5 vmfaproof-6 vmfaproof-7 vmfaproof-8 vmfaproof-9 vmfaproof-10 vmfaproof-11 vmfaproof-12 vmfaproof-14 vmfaproof-15

What elllse

Currently I’m taking formal portraits of my friends because I’m super tired of trying to come up with esoteric concepts for my work. I’m shooting it with the 4×5, but I took this digital photo to meter:


I’m having a lot of fun with this project, which I’ve really needed.

For digital I’m doing some nonsense I don’t even know. We have to do a narrative project and somehow I ended up here:

image (1)

Then here:


Then here:


Then basically here which is a lot closer to what I want but I’m still not sure (I have to shoot way more for this project)

abstractshit-1 abstractshit-2

So that’s about it all for the past month. If you can make sense of everything I’ve done in light of everything else please let me know because I haven’t had time to do so.

I’m dumping this all because last night I got some really good advice from the teacher and TA of my digital filmmaking studio. The TA said to me “You know, art students get a lot of shit like ‘oh, what are you going to do with your degree’ well, with my degree I’m going to do precisely nothing, but with four years of an artistic context to make all the mistakes I want and have a lot of free equipment and connections to make and tons of people interested in my success, I’m going to make a lot of really outstanding work, and that’s what counts.”

I get really really really really scared when people ask me what I’m going to do after college because for art students it’s not like a clear cut path of “oh I’ll shake hands and make an internship so I can get that sick salaried position eventually.” I don’t know, and maybe I’ll work a boring job for a while but the trajectory is to make the best creative work I possibly can to establish myself as a clear thinking and decisive creative mind, which is an important thing to have in any number of fields.

I don’t know what I’ll do after grad, I don’t know job wise exactly what I want beyond eventually teaching college (probably). But I guess I beg some sympathy for hard working art students, because in sheer amounts of work and output, I defy a lot of other people in “safe majors” to dump this raw output of labor and development in one month of one semester of one of the four years I’ll be at this school.

And now back to work!


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