Why did you choose to attend OCAD U?
I reached a point in my life where I understood very clearly that I needed art to be happy. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with a fine art degree, but I knew that there was nothing more important to me than making, thinking about, and looking at art.
Please briefly describe your current job / practice.
I work as a gallery assistant in two different Toronto galleries and as a freelance writer for publications, galleries and other artists. I also maintain an experimental writing practice that merges into an art practice on the side.
How did you get started in your career?
I made myself known and available to the people I thought might have ideas or work for me. I attended openings, talks, readings, and art-related events of all kinds. I read art news and art writing, looked at art online and traveled for art fairs.
What were your policies regarding internships, volunteering, and paid work?
I volunteered when a good opportunity presented itself. I’ve never had an internship, but I entered the game a little later than most. For at least a year I took paid work wherever I could get it, even if that meant working well outside of the art world so that I could afford the time to work on my writing.
What do you enjoy most about your work? What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Writing is what I enjoy most, and writing is also the most challenging. Sometimes I spend hours on one or two sentences. For the most part, I still have to fact-check and edit my own work. I love studio visits, especially when they feed into a collaborative or experimental piece. I learn a lot from the artists I work with. The most challenging aspect of my work is maintaining momentum, especially when other parts of life creep in to demand my time and attention.
What skills or relationships developed at OCAD U helped you participate in your field? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Aside from my exposure to art theories and theorists, the most important thing that I learned at OCAD U came out of critiques. We were taught in the Sculpture/Installation program to really look at art. We had to describe what we saw, formally, without any personal baggage or interpretation before we were allowed to get into anything subjective. As for relationships, I left OCAD U with a few friends for life, including several of my instructors.
What are the key responsibilities you maintain for your practice?
My key responsibility is to remain focused on pushing myself forward. I must allow time off and time for creative play, but in between I must always ensure that I am putting myself out there, pitching ideas, accepting offers to work, and researching new opportunities. Discipline is key. I’ve recently started taking ballet classes for the first time since I was twelve and I find the physical and mental discipline that I exercise in the dance studio translates really well in my art writing practice. I also work ata non-art-related job one day a week and I find this forced break from thinking and talking about art is quite regenerative for me.
What are your personal and professional goals for the coming years?
I want to continue to sustain myself from working in the art world. I’d like to take on bigger and more ambitious projects. I want to continue to travel for art and continue to engage in collaborative projects with other artists. I am gathering material for a book that will include writing and audio elements, but that’s probably at least a decade away…