Thursday, June 18, 2009

Small Business 101…as a minor? At Tufts?! But I’m a fine art student!

As a SMFA junior getting thrown into Tufts full time for a year, I felt somewhat out of place. My first semester especially I felt particularly isolated; my best friend was leaving in a few months, I was probably antsy because of my lack of creative outlets (no time for drawing or painting) and had started my jewelry making. The summer before, I had decided to pursue the Entrepreneurial Leadership Minor, and was taking the ELS 101 class.

As a class, it really helped me get introduced to and start thinking about the big picture of businesses and their relevance to my life. I felt as though there was a lot of focus on multi-billion dollar ventures in engineering or biotechnology (um, snore? Fine arts, hello!) and I was teamed up with classmates to write our own business plan. Though I wasn't particularly interested in our topic (and I'm sure it showed) the team dynamic really allowed me to start my Tufts foothold. I knew what I wanted to accomplish for next year; instead of trying to blend in with Tufts students, which I would never be able to do, I would stand out through my creativity.

Through the stresses and self-doubt of that fall semester in 2008, I came out stronger and ready for the challenges of 3 work-intensive ELS classes for the next semester. And honestly, It was the most challenging yet rewarding set of experiences in my life.

Pointillisms – A preciousness

Ah, one of my early loves - pointillism.

It started in high school with a 16"x18" ink image of my brother. In dots. I was hooked from then.

Yes, the methodical dotting, staring so intently that you become cross-eyed. Love it. It's really a meditative process, and can be quite relaxing. The idea is through the buildup of dots, you create shadow and depth, just as though with pencil or paint. Only it takes longer - but because of the preciousness of the technique, the results are soft, realistic and breathtaking.

I took a Film Noir class for an Art History requirement last year. I LOVED IT...I tend to like stark contrasts (exemplified by the master, Caravaggio) and the dark darks against the lights from those movies was just amazing. So I reversed the process to take less time and to change the effect; instead of working up black ink on white, I worked up white ink on black illustration board. The effect is really cool.

The only bad side is that the white ink I used was acrylic, so it dried fast and gummed up my quill. (Oh did I forget to mention I used a quill-dip-into-ink method?) And you don't get as much tone variations from straight white - if you want to get these, you have to mix with water.

I want to do more pointillisms - maybe when I have all that spare time one day :) Sand dollars, starfish, shells, etc...

Pictured above: "My Boys", an unfinished piece composed from several reference photos from last year; my now ex-bf (we're still friends, no worries) and my kitty, Jonah. They were both watching TV, and I found it hilarious and took a couple pictures.

Internships - My experience

So I figured I would share some of my work experience, before I started my business.

Sophomore year, I decided that I did not want a life and became a full time intern and a full time student. Yeah, skill. 3 days a week, I'd wake up at 6:00 to commute to Salem, and I had class full time (9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.) on the other two days. AND I had a boyfriend. Boyfriends suck up your life WITHOUT full time crap going on.

My internship was with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. They have an EXCELLENT intern program, and all art students and interested people should definately check it out; they pay great, and the museum itself is gorgeous. I learned a lot, and because I worked with the Registration Department, I got to check out a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff (They offer positions in all different departments). I loved it so much that after that spring semester, I continued to work there during the summer.

After last summer, I was at Tufts full time. I didn't want to stop working, so I got another (unpaid) internship at GASP Gallery, a small art gallery in Brookline. It was an interesting experience; lots of cleaning. And wearing black. But it was cool to attend the gallery openings, and have the chance to speak with artists and patrons.

And in January of this year, I left GASP to pursue the embroidery and silkscreen business with my mother, and had begun to expand on my jewelry line to make it more of a business, too. I also took 3 ELS courses at Tufts, which one must never do at the risk of losing your sanity in the coursework (more on that later).

I've also worked as a florist and commissioned artist. And most recently, calligrapher. So basically, I have a good mix of small and large business experience, and have learned a lot that I continue apply to Ash Tree.

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