I think there's a lot of potential for seemingly unrelated disciplines like engineering and sculpture to combine.

-Conor Ward, BFA + BS

I think there's a lot of potential for seemingly unrelated disciplines like engineering and sculpture to combine. One thing that definitely connects all of my work is an interest in working with my hands—learning through making. I have a very fundamental interest in materials. I'd like to master materials—I like to know exactly what something will do when I do X, Y, or Z to it.

Also, I’m really interested in where art becomes functional. We interact with functional objects a lot more than we interact with paintings on a wall or sculptures on a pedestal. When I think about how to reach the largest audience, I think about influencing the functional things that they use in their daily lives. I'm just trying to help design the world better.

I do a lot of installation work, and while that isn't quite getting at functionality (the way most people think about it), there is a function to installation work. It's a social function. It raises questions or starts conversations. My most recent installation had to do with smartphone usage; not to posit a message or an opinion about smartphone usage, but rather to have people contemplate their own usage and reflect. My work has taken a more human-facing direction, and I'm much more interested in sparking conversations that are meaningful or productive. So that has led to more installation-based work. I'm trying to create spaces that are unique and afford some sort of moment for reflection, for sharing, for listening. Deep in my philosophy around art is the idea that art has to be for more than just myself—for me, my art has to have some sort of external purpose.

Through my art practice, I try to liberate myself and stay in the present—just stay in my present curiosities and follow those to wherever they take me, and try to shut the door on fear as a motivator. It has nothing to do with one particular medium or anything like that. Every medium unlocks different potentials. I'm really grateful that this school allows you to experiment in so many different realms of art making. I dove deep into sculptural practice and I've gotten quite adept at woodworking and furthered my ceramic practice, but also started a whole graphic design practice. I've certainly been changed, and my knowledge base has broadened. I feel a lot more in the drivers' seat than when I first arrived—now I have a destination in mind. In terms of a professional direction, I feel like I could go a million directions.

-Conor Ward, BFA+BS