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Creative Practices: PCA Students' Artistic Process


Communication Design student Ariel Ronayne interviewed some of her peers at PCA to know more about their creative practices, from their best purchase to their favorite classes at PCA.

As artists, it’s expected that our work reflects, in some way, who we are. We pour ourselves into our projects, spending hours scrutinizing and perfecting every last detail, ensuring nothing is too far to the left or slightly crooked, but just right. Everyone has their preferences, the things we like just so, and artists are no exceptions. Whether it is through little habits or a founded on general philosophy, every artist has rules they like to live by, a method to their madness.

At PCA, we’re encouraged to develop our process as much as the outcome, as knowing how you best work is often just as important as the work itself. An artist’s creative process is unique to them; some like to create in silence, others work best with some noise. Knowing who you are as an artist is vital to producing your best work.

A few PCA students were generous enough to answer some questions about their artistic practice, and here are their answers.

Kirsten – 2nd Year Photography
Amy – Certificate Communication Design
Nora – 2nd Year Communication Design
Myown – 2nd Year Fine Arts
Aria – 3rd Year Communication Design

What is the best purchase you’ve made for your art?

The best purchase I ever made for my art was a sketchbook. As is the case for a lot of us, drawing is what started this whole exciting journey for me. Most useful was definitely a proper portfolio for carrying my work; respecting the things I make was a difficult but necessary lesson. – Kirsten

The iPad Pro was probably the best purchase I’ve made as a graphic design student. I use it for every single project to either sketch or draw and it comes with me everywhere. – Amy

Black Paper! I purchased a pad the day before the quarantine started in March 2020, and used it for my Night Project that same semester, one of my most successful pieces that year! – Nora

The best purchase I made for my art was my large portfolio case that also works as a backpack. It’s helped me so much this past year. – Myown

Procreate App. – Aria

One creative rule you live by and any habits or art superstitions?

One rule I live by creatively is to never consider something a “final outcome”; it’s all part of an artistic journey, and you never know where an old project could take you. One superstition I have is that if I’m not excited about the idea, it’s probably not that good. – Kirsten

The one rule I live by when creating something: “It’s okay to scrap everything and start all over.” Sometimes I get stuck, so completely starting over can help me break the creative block or find a new solution. – Amy

If I don’t feel like it, it won’t turn out good. Alternatively, it won’t actually go anywhere. So it’s important to choose a subject matter that excites me, or else the final piece will just be bad. – Nora

One creative rule I live by for making art is to always be open to new possibilities. I have a habit of working well in my sketchbooks but getting nervous when it comes to larger scale pieces. – Myown

Draw first, think later. – Aria

The song that represents you/your work as an artist?

One song that definitely boosts my creativity is “The Rain Song” by Led Zeppelin. I cried the first time I heard it so whenever I need to feel creatively recentered or grounded I always find myself returning to that song. I grew up heavily involved in music so I do think that the music you listen to has a huge impact on the dynamics of your art. – Kirsten

Hmm that’s a tough one. I don’t know if I have one but I have a song that I listen to all the time while I’m working. It’s “You’re Too Precious” by James Blake. – Amy

“Go High” by Kelly Clarkson maybe? – Nora

The song that represents me as an artist is “Where is Your Mind” by Pixies. – Myown

“Slo Fuzz” by Sol Seppy. – Aria

The class that made the biggest change in your work?

Ahh that’s so hard! I guess both the photo classes I took with Matthew and Rodshir were huge for me because they helped me discover a love for photography. I also learned so much about creative ethos and respect for craft as well as how to be an artist in my Drawing and City as Studio classes. I had equally incredible classes and professors in my second year but Foundation was such a formative time for me I would definitely have to pick from that year. – Kirsten

I would say the classes that pushed me the farthest and challenged me the most were Corporate Editorial and Typography. I learned how to push through and overcome creative blocks and play more with design in these classes. – Amy

Definitely our Intro to Digital Media class, it made me switch to Communication Design as my major when it had previously been my least likely option! It taught me the wonders of combining art and editorial elements, and also got me started on my journey of practicing digital drawing! – Nora

My sophomore Drawing class definitely made the biggest change in my artwork because we were constantly experimenting and exploring different ways of drawing. I began to draw with different recycled material and collected items. – Myown

Editorial Design. I had no prior graphic design knowledge before coming to PCA. It laid a solid foundation for my following classes and it also changed the way I look at design in general. – Aria

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