Sunday, December 1, 2019

Being an Artist at Duke - Alexandra Uribe

Since a young age, I’ve been drawn to the arts because it provides an avenue for self-expression unlike anything else. For me, the act of gathering inspiration and then transforming a personal vision into an external visual form has always been a special experience. Throughout grade school, I would often incorporate drawing into my day-to-day activities, often doodling during classes, on homework, or even on dinner napkins at the table. I was particularly inspired by artists that focused on hyper-realism style drawings and fantasy illustration. During my high school years, I became more interested in digital art and graphic design. In college, I have tried to incorporate art in as many forms as possible while also balancing Duke’s rigorous academic requirements. For me, being an artist means somehow incorporating art into my daily life because of this intrinsic love for the creative process. Even if I am not studying the arts 24/7 like other students at art schools such as RISD, I try to incorporate the creative process in all my courses during the semester.
Being an artist at Duke, and/or pursuing a creative career, requires an extensive level of initiative and bravery. With the many internal and external pressures that students face today, one must prioritize and set aside time to participate in the art world and hone one’s craft. For me, engaging in all forms of the visual arts is important, yet challenging at times. As other students have remarked, Duke may not have as extensive a catalogue of fine or digital art classes, which can make it difficult to get into these courses. In addition, since there are fewer students studying the arts compared to other majors at Duke,  one has to take the initiative of reaching out to the art departments and to other students who share similar interests. Trying to incorporate the arts in my life as a hobby or career, takes bravery since art career pathways are often considered less financially sustainable and difficult to enter compared to other pre-professional careers. Between current job market pressures and the rising cost of higher education, many students may feel dissuaded to embark in art careers. However, my goal is to incorporate the arts as much as I can, whether only as a hobby or in my future post-Duke career. Taking this drawing class has helped me practice and remain balanced in all my classes. As a senior, it is one of my goals to continue engaging in the arts by connecting with alumni that have been involved in the various arts organizations and departments at Duke and by attending DEMAN weekend(s). Programs such as Duke in NY, internships at PBS, and classes with Duke professors in the AAHVS have helped me to develop my professional and personal development skills. In the future, I hope to continue “being” an artist in the literal and figurative sense, by cultivating my skills and adapting to challenges with a creative mindset.

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