It probably comes as no surprise to anybody reading this that I’ve been spending a lot of time in my dorm room. In addition to my 28 plants, I’ve also had the pleasure of sharing the space with my roommate, Maddy Noah. As a Combined-Degree student within the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Maddy has had the unique experience this semester of taking an art class entirely virtually. We’ve also got a running joke going that by the end of this semester, I will have become an honorary art student (seeing as the majority of our residential cohort is made up of Combined-Degree students as well). Case-in-point: this past Friday, I joined Maddy in class during an assignment in which she had to turn everyday objects in our dorm room into stamps. We had a lot of fun running around the room finding spoons, rulers, figurines, bottles, and even plant leaves to turn into stamps. After this activity, I decided to interview her to see how the virtual art class is going. On a quiet Thursday night, as Maddy was making prints using a stamp she carved out of a rubber block, I asked her a couple questions on what it’s like to be an art student in the time of coronavirus.
Hana: What are you doing right now?
Maddy: I am making art for a class that I’m in with the SMFA.
H: What’s the class called and what does it entail?
M: The class is called Repetition, Pattern, and Seriality. We meet for four hours once a week, and for the first half, we look at other people’s work and critique each other on work we did during the week. The second half of class, we actually get to work during, so we get to carve and print and all that good stuff.
H: What exactly is the art that you’re doing?
M: Right now, we are making patterns using standard printmaking techniques, so we’re carving blocks of rubber and using stamping techniques to make patterns. In addition to that, we’ll also be doing some graphic design later in the semester using Photoshop and the Adobe Suite to make prints.
H: How are you liking the virtual art class experience?
M: It’s definitely different and sometimes difficult not being in the studio space, but SMFA has really tried their best to give us as many tools as possible in order to produce our art. They gave every art student a personal studio space on either the Medford/Somerville or SMFA campuses, and they also gave every student a care package with tools to help them in their particular art class. For example, I got a cutting mat, rubber blocks, carving tools, rollers, plexiglass, gluesticks, and ink. But it’s really specialized depending on the class you’re taking—Annabel (one of our cohort members) got a ring light for her video production class. It’s been really nice to have some sort of accessibility in my dorm room.
H: Is there any part of the virtual experience that you like more?
M: I do like that I don’t have to necessarily be at SMFA in order to do my classes because sometimes it’s a lot waking up super early to catch the shuttle and get to class. But that being said, I do miss the space and having a distinct, separate part of my world that I can go to and get away from the main campus for a while.
Hopefully Maddy will get back into the SMFA studio soon and will be able to take advantage of the full breadth of resources that they have to offer. For now, she’ll make do with creating prints out of basil leaves and scattering practice patterns all over the floor of our room.