Welcome to the first Alumni Updates post of the year. This is a segment in which KIS graduates are interviewed so that you can get a better understanding of life after high school. This month, I interviewed Min Jutatungcharoen (CO’16). Here’s what she had to say.
Which university are you studying in?
I studied at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Hong Kong.
Why did you choose to study at Savannah College of Art and Design?
Initially, I was drawn towards their name, given scholarships, location, abundant resources, and range of courses.
What are you studying? Why did you choose to study in this field?
I’m currently a sophomore majoring in Painting.
Art is my inborn passion. I have had an intense interest ever since I was young. I would find myself naturally picking up a pencil and paper to draw, or gravitate towards art books and stationery stores. Although once I got into SCAD, I still couldn’t decide on what I wanted to specialize in. It’s different for everyone. But deciding on my major was a big deal to me. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff. There were so many moments when I almost jumped but hesitated because of my fear. When I finally gathered all my courage, I took the leap and I chose the path that scared me the most — fine arts. I don’t have a logical answer, it’s my intuition. All I knew was if I didn’t try it out I would be regret it for the rest of my life. Follow your heart and trust your gut even though it doesn’t make sense now. I’m learning to not compare myself to others and conform to expectations. Sometimes it’s wiser than the little voices around you!
What do you love most about your university?
I love the professors, the library, lecture events, and location. The professors are established artists and designers equipped with industry knowledge and experiences. My painting professor gave me advice, shared his journey as a student and the reality as a working artist. He broadened my horizons and inspired me to pursue a career as an artist. The library is one of my favourite places to be because it’s filled with art related books! DeFINE ART is an annual program that invites established artists such as the American street artist, SWOON, to give us lectures. Lastly, I love Hong Kong. It’s a fast-paced, unique, and vibrant place where you could meet people from all around the world.
How have you contributed to the university? What clubs, frats, etc. have you joined?
I joined the 3Ms Drawing Club for a while. The club is in a little studio filled artists who are passionate in learning and developing their skills. What I learned most from the club was measuring and placement techniques for drawing. I’ve also participated in a competition called “SCAD Sidewalks”.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists/art students?
Wow. I actually have a blog where I write about these things. I wrote a blog for my design class, it’s called, “Art Students, Snap Out Of It!”. The blog post was a letter to art students and aspiring artists who are doubtful of taking the artistic path. These were my answers:
1. We already have a job
We are students, so our job is to learn, absorb, explore, experiment. Being in art school is essential and valuable, because we could use this time to cultivate and develop the skills.
2. Conquer our fear of the future
I know it’s difficult not to picture ourselves ending up as tragic-starving-artists — I feel ya. I realized that the reason we are scared is because we focus too much on the future before we even put the hours in. The problem of thinking that way is that the future is a scary place and our body becomes paralyzed just by the thought of it. I learned that it is better to look down on the path we’re taking, climb smaller rocks, and solve smaller obstacles along the way. Meaning that we should focus on producing a lot of artwork and build a bomb portfolio, learn as much as we can, network, and hopefully we will be confident enough to face the future!
3. Be confident
We must be confident in the skill, knowledge, and passion that we have. Be confident that our art is valuable, impactful, and meaningful. Be confident that what we are doing can lead to better things and make a change. Be confident in your decision for going to art school and pursuing a career in the arts. We must not allow the hypercritical society to put us down and scare us off before we could even begin. Believe that art can work wonders on people. You’ve chosen the art life (or did the art life choose you?).
4. Use your time wisely
This does not mean that we have to study and work in the studio 24/7. First, make time for producing artworks both for the school’s course and during your personal time. Second, make time to connect and meet people. Art school allows you to meet creatives with great talent and from all walks of life! You will learn valuable lessons from your peers and professors. Third, make time for yourself.
You’re taking a gap semester, what has that been like so far?
I was completely heartbroken when I learned that I’ll be taking a break due to personal issues. I was doing what I love, so I didn’t want to pause. I’m trying to stay positive by keeping myself busy. I recently finished an oil painting for a competition, but I will continue to produce more work. I had a great experience working as a photographer and teacher’s assistant at Paron School of Art. Lastly, I have been helping out at my family’s restaurant. I’m starting to realize that taking a break isn’t all bad because I’m discovering new passions and interests along the way! I’m taking my sweet time of to recalibrate and refresh.
What are your future plans?
I don’t know. I was very determined to walk down towards a path, but the road’s blocked right now so I’m taking an alternative route.
What advice do you have for students in MYP and DP?
I want to share my personal experience in MYP and DP because maybe there’s a reader who gets me. During MYP, I felt like I took my years of quality education for granted because I didn’t have to fight for it. According to my grades, my academic performance was not great. I drifted away and didn’t focus on school because of unrecognized value, lack of interest and motivation, therefore lack of personal input, and more. What I wish I realized earlier was that: hard work pays off, learning is fun, education is invaluable, and I am more than a definition.
During DP, it was difficult for me to adjust to the new system. It dawned on me that I would have to go to college very soon and that terrified me. I changed my mindset entirely and started working very hard to maintain and improve my grades, in order to earn scholarships and get into the colleges I aimed to attend. My advice would be: get organized, stay focused, survive (somehow), reach out for support, and do a lot of research on universities early on for familiarity.
Do you continue to exemplify the IB Learner Profile?
Yes. I believe it’s important to continuously strive to be all ten attributes. It’s evident in my thought process as an artist. For example, I am an inquirer when I became more sensitive and aware of my surroundings. I would carry a sketchbook with me and document things I notice. I feed my curiosities by seeking out answers through asking and learning. I’m open to learning about new things because it does benefit my work, practices, and life in general. I am reflective because I have to filter and internalize the world, my ideas, and experiences. It helped me tremendously for my art and personal development as an artist and an individual.
What did you miss most about KIS and Bangkok?
I missed the authentic, full flavoured, spicy, and mouth-watering Thai food. I missed my family. I missed having big space.
Is there an alumnus you’re dying to hear from? Leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to get into contact with him/her.