As I come to the end of time at Portland State, and my master's degree is awaiting me to walk across that stage, I can't help be think back on my decision to go back to school, and how this experience has changed me. I never imagined myself getting an advanced degree in anything, and I was quite happy with my BFA. All I wanted was a job somewhere that wasn't soul crushing, and the time and money to pursue my dreams of publishing. Although that worked out for a time. I should have known that wouldn't be enough, but the fact of the matter was that I didn't think I was good enough to make a career out of my art. That is not the case anymore. How did I find my confidence?
The subject even came up in my oral defense for my master’s degree. As a graduate student in publishing, I worked each semester for Ooligan Press, primarily in design. I made some great work, and helped with the design process on a number of projects, but found that my designs (though very good, and generally liked) never made the final cud. I was asked by my professors during my defense, “Why do you think that none of your covers has been accepted as a final cover?” Although my answer touched on things like the personality of the press, their visual aesthetic compared to my own, and just needing a better understanding of the design brief, the truth of the matter came to down to this - I don’t really care anymore - which I say with all humility and joy. I’ve finally reached a point in my artistic development that I know what I like, and I know what looks good, and feel confident in the work I’m producing, take it or leave it. I feel like I have expertise enough that I don’t need to look for acceptance any more from anyone else but the viewer of the work. This is very liberating in a lot of ways, but most particularly in my future plans in publishing. I’m no longer searching for a place where I can be an expert in my field. Now, I want to build that place.