My thesis has been a good conduit for all of those things that I'm interested in to come through and not feel like any one has to be compromised or sacrificed.

-Nicolas Papa, BFA

It was important to me that whatever program I found myself in I would have a lot of freedom. I valued the freedom to work in any material I wanted and craft an individualized curriculum that would support my interests.

My first year was just a work explosion as I jumped into this new environment and was producing and producing and producing. I created more work than I ever had before. Everything was very fresh, very new for me, which was exciting, but also a shock to the system in the best way! I took a class with Ethan Murrow who helped me think about my process, form analogies between painting and language, and build a narrative with my work. He really shifted the way I was thinking about my art.

My second year was about mixing things up. I primarily took painting and drawing my first year, so in my second I really branched out. I had a studio space of my own for the first time which was really pivotal to my entire practice.

I slowed down and really focused on my process in my third year. I had some really great teachers. Patte Loper, who taught my observational painting class, helped me take a step back and slowed me down in a good way. Angelina Gualdoni, my Intermediate Projects teacher, had a really great intuition that comes from years of knowing how to read paintings which I admire so much. And I took a film course with Jane Gillooly which got me thinking about time-based mediums when I’d been feeling pretty static in my paintings.

I really found a balance in my fourth year. Classes like Music and Literature and Audio Visual Imagination helped set my thesis in motion in a way that I didn’t expect. I’m doing an installation. I love being able to control the whole environment and making the experience of viewing tangible and activated in ways other than just canvases on a wall. The installation itself has been a way for me to talk about things that conceptually matter to me but also, format-wise, things that I've always wanted to try. My paintings have a place in this. My music has a place in this. I've worked on music throughout my student career but haven't really made it a part of a lot of my pieces. The installation has been a good conduit for all of those things that I'm interested in to come through and not feel like any one has to be compromised or sacrificed.

SMFA is so well-suited for those who are self-driven about learning and their art.

- Nicolas Papa, BFA