Communication Design student Ariel Ronayne interviewed fellow student Kirsten Franks, who was in Foundation with her last year. In this interview, Ariel allowed Kirsten to share what she learnt in Foundation, and how that year shaped her studies and her projects for the future. Here’s the result.
One of the best, most valuable things I took from my Foundation year were the friendships I formed with my fellow classmates. Being an expat in Paris is a pretty unique and challenging experience by itself, but through PCA I was able to meet and connect with students who were going through similar challenges. From metro station mix-ups to slowly developing French, Paris acted as an equalizer and together we made it our home.
When deciding who to interview for this article, Kirsten immediately popped into my head. While we ended up choosing different majors, our shared Foundation experience is something that we’ll always share. Kirsten is a good friend, kind peer, and talented artist. She’s 19, from Maidenhead, England and is in her sophomore year in Photography.
While we both wished we’d been able to meet in person, our video chat conversation was great fun and reminded me of the community of fellow artists that surrounds us at PCA.
How has Foundation shaped your experience at PCA?
Foundation actually completely changed my major. When I started I was a Fine Arts student, but after taking classes in the darkroom I completely fell in love with photography. I’d literally never done photography before.
What is the biggest lesson you took away from Foundation?
I learned how to plan less, and follow my instincts. In the UK it’s very structured and organized, so at PCA I learned to let go a bit.
Your biggest challenge from Foundation?
Digital media, because I had never done it before. I’d also never really experienced being taught art before, so I struggled with being told how to do assignments at first. I’d been completely self lead up until that year.
Your best memory?
It had to be when I presented my performance piece, Mother, for the class City as Studio. I didn’t expect it to be such a connecting and moving experience.
How has Foundation influenced what you do now?
I mean, Foundation led me to photography, and I spent my foundation year really reconciling my identity as an artist, and somewhere along the way the answer became photography.
What about your artistic practice are you most passionate about?
I really like it when my art has a core value inside it; it doesn’t necessarily need to be tangible or explainable, when it tries to say more than as it appears.
How do you plan on continuing with art after PCA?
I’d naturally love to be a photojournalist, I’m really into activism and literature. I want to find a career that facilitates both my writing and photography. A cinematographer would also be amazing, something with the BBC or social documentary.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a prospective or current Foundation student?
Be open to everything. You never know what you could learn or what you could take from something you initially dismissed.