Fourth year life studies student Mira tells us about the thesis project exploring intimacy, her administrative struggles, and how she’s preparing to meet the industry’s finest.

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What is your major?
I’m a fourth year life studies student.  I grew up in Ottawa but I moved to Toronto for university, right out of high school.
What are you currently up to? Do you have any hobbies, are you working? Tell us about your thesis.
Right now I’m finishing up my thesis. That’s pretty much the main goal right at the end of my fourth year. My thesis is a sculpture/installation work that’s exploring intimate relationships. I’m interested in how the body and language collaborate to create meaning in private spaces. The sculptures are different materials encased in these plastic vacuum bags that are used for preservation and storage. And this body of work has a lot of bright yellows and pink which has been super fun to work with. I’m also making screen prints as smaller studies/another way to work through my ideas in a two dimensional way.  I’m getting ready for Grad Ex and I’m working a lot on professionalism and how to take all this work that I’ve made and branding myself. It is my name that’s going on the art that I’m showing and there are many people who come to Grad Ex. I’m putting together websites and working on social media presence and business cards. Right now my hobby is school. I work part time nannying for some kids. It’s very relaxed and I get to have a break and just hang out with some kids. I do art with them which is kind of refreshing.
Are you currently experiencing any difficulties with the graduating process? How do you feel about graduating? Are you anxious, excited, etc?
I applied to graduate and it is being rejected right now, so I’m in the process of getting everything corrected because I switched a lot of courses out for other courses and I had to make some substitutions in the system. I didn’t take classes that I was supposed to. Life studies is a very new program, so it’s still working out its kinks. Unfortunately, when you’re the second group of graduating students in a program, they’re still kind of figuring out the graduation process. I’m trying not to be stressed out about it. Thinking about what to do after is a little bit frightening. It’s really exciting; after being in school for about 13 years of grade school and 4 years of undergraduate school and all you ever know is school. You know what you’re doing next year whereas now I don’t know what I am doing in September. It’s nerve wracking to have so much choice, but it’s also really exciting. I think I need to prove to myself that I need to be ambitious and get what I want out of life in general. I need to figure out what makes me happy and what I want to continue to pursue.
What are your plans for after OCAD? What are you doing to achieve them?
They’re a little bit up in the air. I’m just going to take a bit of a break this summer to work full time. Then I want to apply to a lot of shows and artist-run centres, trying to get submissions out there and trying to do as many as possible because the more you do the more of a chance that somebody somewhere will be interested in showing your work. I’m also thinking about where I am going to make work, or when I will be going back to making work because it’s not always easy to get the facilities that you have here at OCAD. I would like to leave the country in September and look into working abroad, going into residency programs, and experiencing something different.
What was your most memorable moment at OCAD?
In third year I did the Florence program and that whole year was really the highlight. It was really refreshing to have studio space, especially in third year when you’ve been used to taking classes and being on such a strict schedule. We were given this studio space where we could go in and out whenever we wanted and I was making work that I wanted to make. So having that freedom was something that was really new, being in a new country, with a new language. We were a small group of about 25 students. I barely knew anybody so it was nice to meet people in other programs.
Do you have any advice for current OCAD students or students planning on applying to our university?
This sounds cheesy but just make the most of the experience and really try to meet people. Go to class! A lot of people don’t go to class and I understand that sometimes it sucks coming all the way down here, commuting, and classes are early. Its 3 hours a week or 6 hours a week and you really get to know your instructors better. A lot of your ideas will come from conversations that you have in class. Making the most of the school and the resources you have will benefit you. Sometimes it can be easy to complain but you should feel really lucky to be at OCAD. So make the most of your four, five, or how ever many years you will be here.

 

Interviews by: Zoe Roiati

Photography: Jessie Jihyun Lee