Last week to the day on December 7th, I had my graduating thesis show at Eastern Michigan University for the field of photography. Two days later, on December 9th, my 31st birthday of all days, I was officially granted my MFA degree via passing my final oral defense of the show.
I want to give a big thank you to all the professors who made this possible and pushed me in the right direction: Jason DeMarte (photography & primary advisor) accepted the lofty direction I was heading in with my philosophical visual narratives and knew there was something to it of value to be explored further. He was with me the longest at EMU consistently and has seen the good and bad outcomes of work produced over the last two-and-a-half years.
Amy Sacksteder(illustrator, painter, sculptor, time-based media) pointed me towards illustrative artists like Hilma af Klint and had a big influence on how the final videos of my show came to be presented. She also was an excellent listener and understood what I was trying to say even when I didn’t have the words to properly explain.
Chris Hyndman (technical painter and art-theorist) had a deeper sense of art theory than anyone I’d ever talked to and made the subject actually quite fascinating for me in several of the classes I took with him. He’s always been extremely honest with me and I highly value the words he had to say about some of my deeper philosophical ideas this last year especially. Brendan Fey (art historian) had a knack of understanding the direction I was heading and was aware of the work I was creating even before I could find a way to describe it. He really gave me the vision towards the end and helped me find the reason behind the work.
Finally, Michael Reedy (my academic advisor) because he was there for me in my mid-program review and believed in the potential my work has. I also highly respect his technical skill in drawing and his drive to constantly keep evolving his work. Other professors at Eastern Michigan University that really helped me find my purpose were Christine Ridgway (photography), Morgan Barrie (photography), Jason Ferguson (sculpture, 2D & 3D design), and Chris Reilly (time-based media and sculpture).
This show would not have been possible if it weren’t for the help of my friend Derrick Robbins, my sister Adriel Lechner, and my beautiful wife Jennifer. They were with me during my printing process and helped me hang the final show. Below is a timelapse I did that captures the way the show was set up.