Photo credit: Hobbes Ginsberg
Andi Icaza is a BFA visual arts major who recently completed a practicum placement with Vandocument, a local collective of photographers, videographers and writers engaging in reporting about emerging artists and creative events. We asked her about the experience and what she learnt.
Here are links to her photography in published articles:
The Colourful Macaroni
Cast Album Fundraiser
Sweaty Bones Sweaty People
Home Dream Home a Corporeal and Ethereal Location as Art
More about Andi:
Andi is obsessed with light; if it started her photographic practice or if the obsession came after is unclear. Her artistic practice dangles within the nuances between socially engaged and satirical (often described as dense), colourful and a little sad, and a on a new found fixation on the process of remanence in human lives as experienced through technology. She also owns 10 plants and enjoys long walks on Hastings, the (hour before the) sunset, and female rappers.
Find out more about the program: SCA Practicum Opportunities
What attracted you to do an internship rather than take a full load of classes this term?
I think that, personally, in order to enhance both my artistic practice and academics it is crucial to be engaged with the art community of the place I’m living in. Over the summer I did an internship abroad in cultural management, so coming back to Vancouver for the fall term, I was drawn to continue with hands-on work experience. Any intern position within an artist-run centre or, in the case of Vandocument, artist collective would hopefully provide me with a wider scope of exposure to local art that I much need artistically.
What projects have you been working on during your internship?
A very inviting feature when I first met with Ash Tanasiychuk, Editor in Chief and Founder of Vandocument, is that we discussed what kind of work I did, but also what kind of work I would like to start or improve. So one of the projects I undertook is to photograph a number of events; because Vandocument is run by artists, the process of photographing is very much open to our creativity and practice. The other main project I undertook was writing articles, with a focus on interviews. Writing is something that I have been wanting to get more into, and throughout this internship I have been encouraged to both practice and publish my progress in that skillset. Additionally, because Vandocument is a collective volunteer organization, there is a lot of behind-the-scene tasks that I have been eager to help out with, such as event organizing and social media.
Have you discovered anything unexpected working at the internship that has impacted your approach to school?
Through the people I have been able to meet and work with during this internship who also have an academic background, I have realized that academics, just as much as internships, are tools with practical and theoretical potential that, once at our disposal, are essentially ours to define how they are relevant to our artistic practice.
Do you intend to continue your working relationship with Vandocument?
I do. Slowly but steady I have been getting more familiar with writing articles about the events and artist Vandocument works with, and I very much want to continue that. Especially with interviewing, I will continue training and writing more pieces of that sort. However the space to creatively publish my account of art shows, concerts, screenings, exhibitions, etc. that exists in Vandocument is not the only reason why; I have found a great team that is as supportive with their team members as they are with the local, mostly emerging artists they promote and document.
Have you found that internship program to be meaningful to your artistic practice as a whole?
We do not exist in isolation, and as artists this is a fact that I believe we need to always keep in mind. Especially, but not exclusively, for new residents in a new city, like myself, having an arts community to get involved with can be a crucial pathway and space for artistic opportunities. On a general level, studying art can and will at points feel like floating with no anchor to professional, practical development, so getting work experience on my area of study is important in terms of career training and self-assurance. On a specific level, like I said before, having the space and support to challenge myself in pursuing writing as new expressive channel is a mechanism for my self-empowerment, which as an emerging artist becomes medium and content to sculpt new works.
Would you recommend the program to other SCA students as a bridge to expand their personal and artistic networks?
Yes: the Vancouver art scene is filled with artist-run spaces, studios, centres, collectives, etc. but because we as a city have so much (polite/physical/discipline) distance, don’t often find out about these places and people building the arts community. Although I find it hard to reconcile with at times, an artist’s career relies heavily on networking, and luckily I’ve found that Vancouver, once past the distance, has a very strong sense of (interdisciplinary) collaboration and DIY dynamics you might miss if you’re just sticking with the curriculum.