Student Profile: Serena Fay Feingold '18
I began my time at the SMFA at Tufts as a painter and thought I would focus in that medium, but within a few months I was experimenting with photography, screen-printing, metalworking, and ceramics. The freedom of SMFA's interdisciplinary program has allowed me to consider every medium as a possibility, to choose what seemed most fitting for each project I undertook, and to follow through when something was working well. This inclusive philosophy has pushed my studio practice to where it is today; I now work mainly with metal, clay, fibers, and organic materials. I’m fascinated with the colors, designs, and methodologies of classical art-making in Europe, South America, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, and I have spent many hours in the library researching these cultures. My conceptual work discusses the role art plays in conversations about nature, and my academic studies on both the Medford and Fenway campuses augment this studio practice through classes in environmental literature, community development, and art history.
In the spring of 2016, I took a course on the SMFA campus called The Greening of Art. We explored environmental issues through the lens of art making; it was my first true foray into blending studio practice with academic practice. The process was transformative and led me to another course on the Medford campus, called Earth Matters. It is taught by Professor of English Elizabeth Ammons and has exposed me to writers, poets, and filmmakers who are writing about and discussing the very subjects I am interested in: humans’ relation to the earth, climate change, and the welfare of all life on our planet.
I am also an avid traveler and have gained much of my visual and conceptual inspiration from being out in the world. The opportunities for travel that are offered through SMFA at Tufts have allowed me to continue this kind of research. In May of 2016, I was awarded the Ali Pratt Travel Grant, and was able to travel to Oaxaca, Mexico, to study pre-Hispanic and contemporary ceramic methods there. And I already have my next adventure on my mind—I am currently taking steps to secure a summer internship in Florence, Italy, so I can continue my study of ancient and modern ceramics. Through the SMFA at Tufts' commitment to an art education without boundaries, I have discovered new avenues of thought and interpretation. The language of discourse that I have learned here is irreplaceable and will continue to inform my art practice forever.