My Review Board helped me to see connections in my work I hand't seen before.

-Damaris Swass, BFA

I always try to choose faculty that don’t work in my mediums—that I haven’t worked with before in classes. I like to get faculty that don’t know my work and its history because I know that when I show sculptures in a gallery, it won’t be just metalsmiths looking at my work—in fact half of the people won’t even be artists. My most recent Review Board felt like everything came together. I cried. I’m a crier though. In fact, it’s a known fact that it’s not a good critique if I don’t cry. They aren’t sad tears, but ‘Wow, it’s all connected’ tears. I had chosen Chantal Zakari, a professor in Graphic Arts, whose work is about political action through design, and Kurt Ralske, a professor in Digital Media. I chose Kurt because I’d heard a lot of profound quotes from him through friends in his classes, and I wanted to hear him talk about my work.

The work I presented had to do with gold sculptures cast from my grandmother’s body—the pads of her fingers, her eyelids. I’d won the Dean’s Research Award at the school to support a project to begin a sort of Museum of Hispanic Matriarchs. Chantal and Kurt really helped me expand the scope of that project—helping me to step outside of my own experience. We talked about lineage and inheritance; we talked about our grandmothers and mothers and aunts and sisters; Chantal sent me to read ‘The Museum of Innocence’ by Orhan Pamuk; Kurt sent me to work with one of the installation professors.

It helped me to see connections in my work I hadn’t seen before. I was standing before these two artists and they could hear my voice. They could see my potential. That’s when the tears start. It’s all connected.

- Damaris Swass, BFA