Above, emerging artist Rachel Nusbaum and her proud father Steve, stand in front of some of the prints and book projects Rachel has on display for her junior year portfolio review at Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Right now it's portfolio review time for juniors at MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design). The students are assigned a bit of space in the halls and they put up a mini-exhibit of art. It varies widely based on their majors. Some students might have paintings, some have sculpture. I saw one student's furniture designs. (I didn't realize that MCAD even had a furniture design program.)
I know about the portfolio review because my friend Karen's daughter has her work up right now. Rachel Nusbaum is definitely my favorite emerging artist. She has an inquisitive, curious mind, out of which ideas just bubble up. She also has a great sense of humor (which is a must for me), a fabulous sense of composition, and a delightful facility with drawing. Her focus is "print, paper, book."
Right, Rachel holds a handmade box covered with paper she printed with her drawings. (Note the lights weren't set up yet and the area was very dim so both photos are sadly light deprived. You can see the full, green, printed sheet used to cover the box displayed behind Rachel.)
I've been privileged to see Rachel's work developing for several years. Even as a young teenager she had a clear sense of what worked to create the vision and image she wanted to project. It's very fun now that she is an adult, to watch her work through her class assignments and meld those assignments into artistic product. Both Rachel's parents are supportive of her art choices, and have artistic skills themselves. They have created an environment in which Rachel can develop artistically and that is also great to see.
I encourage you all, if you are local, to go and see the portfolio review displays (which are up until Wednesday). I think it's important that we see what the young artists in our culture are creating. Some of it may be beautiful, some of it may be shocking, some of it may not seem substantial at all. But there will be some art there which will speak to you, and energize you and your own growth as an artist. You might be reminded of why you started making art in the first place, or be grateful that you started making art late (or early) in life.
If the artists are present take some time to ask them about their art (it's good practice for them to articulate their thoughts). Ask some searching questions. It's good for them (and you) to be embarrassed once in awhile. (Keep in mind they may be defending their work to their professors so you might not be able to speak to them.)
But also keep your eyes open. Spot emerging artists you can follow as they develop. Find artists whose work captures your interest. Follow their careers, learn from their explorations of the culture and world we live in. Art really matters in society. It is a way that diverse groups of people within a society can communicate about shared and disparate views of beauty, truth, and knowledge. Art helps us keep ourselves honest in our own thought processes; at least it has that potential.
So give it potential. And support emerging artists by seeking out their work and finding out what makes them create what they create.
You might also want to make an effort to support them financially. MCAD has a student art show each year in November. Everything from paintings and sculptures to digital prints can be found at this show. I encourage you all to go and find some art to live with and think about. There are many great pieces available for under $50. At the same time you'll be supporting the next generation of artists.