Digital Arts ’12
Where are you from?
I am a born and raised Texan, hailing from the quiet suburbs of Frisco, Texas, and the nurturing preparation of Frisco High School.
What brought you to Pratt?
My interest in art led me to advanced placement classes in high school, which introduced me to art competitions, fellow artists, and the notion of art as a career. With a few years’ work under my belt I braved Portfolio Day in Dallas, and discovered some fascinating schools. Pratt impressed me because it was one of the few schools that critiqued my portfolio rather than just trying to recruit me. Things just started building in Pratt’s favor on my list of colleges when one of the upperclassmen artists I admired in high school decided to go here. That, and the fact that New York City is a great place to start an artistic career, sealed the deal.
As recipient of the sophomore class’s Quiet Influence award, what would you say your “quiet influence” has been?
In one word: effort. I did a lot of things I didn’t have to because I thought they were fun, including my bulletin boards. My chicken suit got mixed reviews. Regardless of the result, my efforts didn’t go unnoticed; Chris Ruggieri, associate director of Residential Life and my good friend, has my back.
What’s the attraction of the traditional bulletin board in this age of new media?
Bulletin boards are large, strategically placed, and sometimes well designed. Students waiting for the elevator have nothing else to look at during a sometimes-long wait. A large LCD screen displaying an animation would also be entertaining, but without this to compete with, the board can hold its own.
How did you become a Resident Advisor (RA) in Willoughby Hall?
I filled out the paperwork and wowed the committee! Early community involvement at Pratt brought me some connections and people skills. By the time I applied for the job, I genuinely wanted to be a leader on campus, and I think that showed through to ResLife.
What was the most challenging aspect of being employed part-time as an RA? The most rewarding?
The most difficult part of being a leader in any role at Pratt is motivating the apathetic. Contagious enthusiasm, perseverance, and not getting your feelings hurt when people aren’t motivated are key to survival as an RA. You just have to keep encouraging students to participate in Pratt’s community despite their schedules.
People are what make it worthwhile. Art school is chock-full of interesting characters who give the world texture, and Pratt has some of the best of them. My fellow RAs are some of my best friends, and people whose ambitions I can relate to. The residents and administration I have met through the job have been inspiring. Getting to know all these people has fulfilled the full art school experience.
Tell us some ways you have dealt with failure as an RA.
Some of the hardest tests in life are in human communication. Unlike touching up a painting or re-writing an essay, there is often only one chance to get it right when making an impression. It is unlikely there will ever be a professor standing by to provide a helpful critique of your conversation. When dealing with the unpredictable science of human behavior, you have to be ready and willing to make mistakes. Failure in the RA position is often a process of getting it wrong to get it right. You rarely learn anything from getting things right the first time; this usually means you already know the answer. Failure is growth, and growth is always uncomfortable. Learning to embrace that discomfort makes you a stronger person.
Has the Draw-a-thon figured importantly in your life at Pratt?
The swarms of artists from miles outside of Pratt’s radius should be a testament to the greatness of the Draw-a-thon, Pratt’s annual all-night marathon of drawing from live models. Breaking from all the stress and scrutiny of art school, it is a rare, low-pressure opportunity to do what many of us enjoy; it creates some memorable moments.
Have you encountered any Pratt cats prowling around campus?
Many an early morning art history class has been spiced up by the confusion of darting forms beneath seats, and the eventual discovery of a cat. Pratt cats are a comforting staple of the sometimes-jarring art school lifestyle. Strung out, sleep deprived finals victims will stop with an unexpected smile to pet a cat. I only wish we had a greater number of people-friendly cats.
Photo: Hannah Murphy