WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH NO MAJORS?
How do I get a job in the commercial art world?
I know, I know – there’s a lot of pressure out there these days. College is a big investment of time and money and you want to be reassured that it’s all leading towards something . . .
Something like a career!
The options can seem so straightforward – “I want to be a designer, so I’ll major in Design.” That’s certainly one way to think about it. But I’d like to offer something a little more nuanced. A little more ‘SMFA at Tufts!’
I’ll start by introducing you to one of our students – Tori Baisden
While Tori was here, she did everything — bookmaking, printmaking, textile design, photography, performance, jewelry, sculpture, installation — she designed bomber jackets about body positivity, and posters about intersectional feminist icons.
She launched an art and criticism magazine, ‘Reflections on the Burden of Men’ along with several of her classmates, and she was commissioned to design the graduate thesis catalog for our school.
She interned with a NYC fashion company, and her senior thesis project was a crazy, sprawling, immersive installation cum feminist gameshow.
So, what does she do with all of that?
The answer is: A LOT!
Here’s one of her latest projects:
That’s one of the Museum of Ice Cream locations. The MOIC is a wildly successful series of pop-up experiences with locations in NYC, Miami, and San Francisco. Tori was hired as one of its designers. Her contributions included illustrations, signage, wallpaper, packaging designs, branding, and the conceptualization and execution of an installation consisting of a cascading wall of popsicles!
I’m going to level with you here – when the MOIC was looking for designers to hire, the words ‘BFA in Design’ were not going to be enough to seal the deal. Nor was a list of Adobe programs those hopefuls were competent in, or a list of classes they’d taken. The MOIC was looking for someone who could take an idea and actualize it through a network of interrelated skill-sets. Someone who could be flexible and self-driven – assembling a toolbox of appropriate tools that bridge such diverse disciplines as product design, illustration, sculpture, installation, photography, etc. (is this reminding you of anyone?)
They were looking for someone who wasn’t just able to follow directions, but who could make things that hadn’t been made before.
These are the kinds of designers we train at SMFA. By not requiring our students to follow one inflexible pathway, we encourage them to make work driven by their own passions – to assemble skills appropriate to their individual pathways – to learn how to assemble the right toolbox for any job – to surprise us . . . and themselves!
Taking Tori’s passion for social activism and encouraging her to explore it through a number of mediums and approaches allowed her to build a deep and unique set of skills.
She parlayed that into success so far – we’re excited to see where she takes it next!