Sofia LaGrotta, a second year integrated media student from the small town of Bolton, lets us see her beautifully messy side by opening up about a first year horror story, and her nerve-wracking first critique, but reassures us that OCAD isn’t nearly as intimidating as it first appears.
First, tell us a little about yourself! What’s your name, year, major, and where are you from?
I am Sofia LaGrotta. I’m in second year integrated media and I’m from Bolton, Ontario, which is in the middle of nowhere.
If you could describe your first year in one iconic sentence, what would it be?
It was a wild ride – but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Give us your best horror story. Was there any point in time where you messed up bad here at OCAD?
I had a major assignment due the next day that I hadn’t started yet because I was super overwhelmed with other projects around midterms. So I thought, “You know what? It’s okay, I’m just gonna go to school and do it tonight, then leave at school, then present it tomorrow morning for my 8:30 class.” I made the mistake of thinking, like most people do, that I’m more productive when I’m high. I smoked a little bit too much, I did my painting, then I went home. I woke up in the morning thinking “Oh my god, I have no idea what it looks like.” So I went to class, I looked at it and it was just a mess of colours. An abstract disaster. I get to critique and one of my classmate said, “It’s kind of trippy, I like it.” Thank god. That was the most scared I have ever been for class.
Can you lighten the mood by giving us one of your best moments at OCAD?
I really enjoyed my first critique. I was super super scared. When I walked into the class, everyone else was also incredibly scared and that was really comforting. Everyone was so supportive and we were all trying to learn together. That was the best moment that I had in first year.
What advice can you give those fresh first years. Give us a brief survival guide.
It’s an overwhelming new environment and a lot of people are coming from towns where either they are the only art student or there were only a few artsy people. It’s easy to go off the deep end when all of a sudden be surrounded by all these other creative people. Don’t lose yourself in all of your new freedom. Check in with yourself, ask, “Am I still doing what I want to do or am I just doing it because I can?”
When you first started at OCAD, was it everything you thought it would be/wouldn’t be?
It wasn’t what i thought it would be at all. When I was talking about that first critique, I thought everyone was going to be so mean and pretentious. But everyone was so kind. I was like this is fantastic. It was a good surprise.
How do you think your experiences here at OCAD will help you move forward?
I think it’s forced me to experiment and open up to new things. I really do think coming to OCAD has changed the trajectory of my work. Personally it’s changed the way that I think in general. My creativity has increased ten folds since I got here whether that be just being surrounded by other artists or more so the classes that I’m taking. It’s made me a better artist.
Interviewed by Zoe Roiati
Photography by Charisse Fung
Make up by Noor Awan
Styling by Anna