My name is Lilly Lee, and I just finished my freshman year of Parsons School of Design as a Fashion Design student. In the beginning of school, I was unsure of what I wanted to major in because I was interested in many different majors. From the various classes I took throughout the year, I learned that I wanted to design for a more innovative fashion community as well as minoring in product design and sustainability. I realized that I wanted to create a difference in the fashion industry because there are many flaws. I also realized that I loved designing for a more innovative advancement of people and ideas so I knew I had to major in some type of design, especially at Parsons because the teachers I have all had focused on strong conceptual ideas.
The first similarity between my works during my first year courses is that all of my projects have been related to creating works of art with a strong, conceptual background idea. The main difference between many of the artworks I created is the mediums in which I produced my works. I wanted to experiment with a lot of different types of mediums so I created final projects in forms of video, paintings, writings, and 3D displays and objects. I created a chair for my Space & Materiality class that was centered in creating a space and start for artists as well as people who were not used to recreating objects that were unpurposeful out of very purposeful objects. I designed a chair that was unable to be sit on to play with the idea that a design specifically created to be used for sitting could be transformed into an objects that much only be observed and looked at.
I was very interested in creating 3-D objects that told a story such as my Space project or even the final I created for my first Studio class, a cast of the lower half of my body covered in human hair. This was a representation of the most scrutinized and adored parts of my body, which would come to represent myself the most. I loved creating things with my hands and designing a concept that many people could relate to in their own way. There are also many aspects that go hand-in-hand between my academic studies and studio making. I feel like because I was made to take seminar like courses where it was very discussion based and based on reading and writing, this taught me how to think deeper as an artist and learn more about the different cultures and histories that I can work with. What made me very excited when doing projects was when I was creating something using materials I never used before. For space class, I used the woodshop in many different ways I was able to learn so many different techniques and materials I never knew about before. For studio class, I was able to use the laser lab which also was a great experience. Further research could have helped when I was reading and writing for my seminar classes because I feel like you can never have enough when learning about new and exciting things. There were many times when I would receive a project and I would want to explore more deeply, but then life happens and I am then later forcing myself to use the already pre-existing knowledge and materials I only had from before.
My first highlight, is what I talked about before, my final for my Space & Materiality class. In my class, we were put into teams to create chairs (individually) for a certain community that we wanted to represent. I was put into a group with one student who I knew was interested in art but did not take first-year foundation course seriously because he was older and he had other things in his life that was more important to him, like his job. My other group mate did not try hard in our class the entire year and barely talked, so I did not have much expectation for this girl. The guy started out by saying that he wanted to create an easy project and chair because we are in finals and that we should take things easy. We decided to take pre-existing chairs and recreate them into ergonomic chairs because it would be easy to attach back pieces and seat pieces that would make it more ergonomic. Also this would mean we would not have to create an entire chair out of scratch. We started working on our chairs, but even finding chairs was difficult in the first place. Many things happened and to summarize, the girl was working on this “ergonomic” chair and doing an actually good work while the guy was trying to take things easy and he created a totally different chair that did not fit the concept or looks of the rest of the groups. The teacher noticed this and told us we had to change our concept because she thought it would just not work. So, we just had to change our entire concept, my girl groupmate could continue working on her project because it made sense, and my male group mate just had to add details, while I had to redo my entire design because I was the one who was the most behind so we tried to change the concept to fit theirs. I learned through all this that I had to stand up for what I thought was wrong, like calling the male group mate out if I do not think he should be so lazy (even though I thought everything would be okay). I learned how to properly communicate between people and force myself to work everyday until 3am trying to finish my part of the responsibility.
The next interesting project that was important to me was my final for my first studio class. I honestly loved this class because my teacher was a wonderful, creative, hard-core teacher. The project before my final, I did not succeed because I thought about my execution too much and even though my concept was strong, I could not deliver. So for my final project, I decided to make it very simple. We had to create a self-portrait of ourselves and I decided to create a cast of my lower body (a part I was most insecure about) covered in human hair (a part I was more secure and confident about). I thought incorporating both of these aspects was very entertaining and fun because it has never been tried before and it was so simple: the coming together of my physical insecurity and my security. I loved my piece and I received wonderful feedback. Through this project, I learned that simplicity was sometimes not a bad thing and that creating projects that are intimate hits closer to home and moves people a lot more.
I definitely want to try out many new things, I am so very excited to be a art student at Parsons. I am also very excited to meet people that will open my eyes and mind to new ideas, culture, and perspectives. Everyday, I learn something new, I honestly do. And I feel bad for the people who do not go to this school and not experience the wonderful ideas and sights that I experience and I try to share with my friends back home. I feel like the people I am with, and the teachers are so unique, independent, and head-strong that we can even build our own society. I am so blessed to be part of Parsons and I cannot wait to gain more knowledge.