Cross-Course Reflection

Hello, my name is Miranda Elder. I am majoring in Communication Design at the Parsons School of Design (New York) and am aiming to minor in Creative Coding. I enjoy lots of forms of art but primarily use Adobe, laser cutting, and code to experiment. I love to explore mediums and think outside of the box when it comes to projects. I am hoping to use my creative mind in the field of graphic design, advertising, communications, or web design in the future.

Throughout last semester and this semester, my work over time has developed more of a narrative for each piece. In the beginning, I was taking in all of the new skills I was being taught and didn’t know how to balance meeting the requirement by making a meaningful piece for me. Over the course of the first semester, I was able to bring to light my voice in my own pieces. I could mix the technical skills and requirements of a project with a message rooted within me. When I create from within, my heart truly goes into my work and I am prouder of my piece. I think a big part of this learning was the push I was feeling from my Seminar 1 class. I was very inspired by my teacher and peers to push myself and was proud of the work I created in this class. My confidence in my work has definitely grown since the first set of projects in my freshman year.

Thematically, I have worked with a variety of what I’d considered more surface-level concepts to much deeper, intimate work. Depending on the class, I might make very simple pieces thematically, focusing more on the technical details and less on the loose story behind. The pieces where I have more creative control and less strict guidelines tend to be the ones where I open up,  where I manifest a strong voice and, therefore, a strong piece. I work with personal experience and traumas, fantasy or dreamlike worlds, and narratives of people or spaces.

This freshman year, I have developed certain technical skills that I had little previous experience with, such as using the wood shop, film, audio, bookbinding, sewing, and writing about historical artworks. I came to Parsons equipped with a few strange skills already, primarily my interest in coding and laser cutting. I think my work in Seminar 1 and 2, as well as Objects as History. has helped push my writing skills further than they have been before. I had the opportunity to write a creative, descriptive story in my first bridge project of Seminar 1 and the support from my teacher really boosted my confidence in my writing and inspired me to write more. This helped in every class as most classes involved writing to an extent. (Link to Story)

I found myself genuinely interested in many academic readings this year, which made class time spent discussing readings or concepts much more interesting. These works explored in seminar helped me by pushing myself to create an equally as deep narrative or story in my studio projects through visual or auditory forms. During Objects, I unintentionally visited an series of works at The Rubin (we were not attending for the purpose of seeing these works.) They involved human interaction with each piece, using light, visuals, or sound to generate a response. I was very interested in this type of work and was inspired to use code to generate similar input/output, user interactive works.

Typically, when I enjoy creating my papers or projects, they turn out higher quality than when I am just trying to get a project done because I have to. Each person has their own unique set of interests, so I found that when I was given freedom in projects to explore a topic, theme, or medium that I am genuinely interested in, I was more excited to create.

I think that most works can benefit from extra rounds of critique, external research, or material testing. It is not always possible but is very helpful to take time away from your work and then look at it again in order to gain a new perspective. Considering the many possible routes of action is always beneficial.

Highlight 1: My very first class at Parsons as a freshman was Studio 1 with Bree. The first exercise we did was quite interesting and set the mood well for the rest of my year. We were told to talk to a partner and illustrate them as a tart. Yes, the dessert pastry. From my partner Yuki, I concluded that she would be illustrated as an incomplete tart, with all the ingredients visible. This was due to her description of self as a cultural melting pot, having lived all over and having many valuable components that make her who she is. She said she wasn’t done exploring or expanding, so I illustrated this through the tart-in-progress. From this illustration, we were then instructed to create a graphic motif, using colour and visuals to abstract the concept. I was able to create an interesting graphic with an intricate story behind it and solid reasoning for each creative choice. All process work and the final outcome can be found at this link: (Link to Exercise)

Highlight 2: My time spent at the LES Skatepark this Spring was a highlight of my work this semester. This space was used to inspire my bridge 2 photo essay for Studio 2, a zine that I am very proud of, as well as a project for my Space and Materiality class. I visited this skatepark on the Lower East Side countless times and really felt a connection to the space, even though I have only set foot on a skateboard once. I did endless research on the history and made note of every sensory experience I had at the skatepark. Through these projects, I captured the mood of the physical space and the personalities that reside within it. All process work and final outcomes can be found at these links: (Link to Photo Essay), (Link to Space Piece)

Going forward, I’d love to create more deep works. I want the process of exploring more mediums for creation and areas of study to directly influence my works and for me to take from these experiences. I feel as if my works are still an exploration, rather than final pieces that can be independently viewed as pieces of an artist’s work. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like my work is professional or final, but my mindset of exploring is allowing me to create what I do now, so I’ll continue with this until I land at a place of comfort. If not, I’ll enjoy pursuing exploration and learning. I want my works in the future to deal with the topics I explore through personal writing and reflecting that I do. I hope my future pieces reflect a part of me that I want the world to see and explore.

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