Name of Professional: Misty Foster Oliver
Date of Interview: 10/28/16
I interviewed Misty Oliver Foster on my fourth interview. I was looking forwards to learning about how artists develop themselves over time, so many of my questions were about Mrs. Foster’s journey over the years. Knowing how certain people got to where they are at is incredibly valuable in determining my own path as an artist. I believe knowing the way I want to mold my own path could be beneficial in seeing if painting is my passion.
As the interview began Mrs. Foster explained the advantages and disadvantages of community colleges and universities. Community colleges are good for those unsure of pursuing art, while Universities ensure a higher education. However, Universities’, as Mrs. Foster explained, early education has a slower start. What was surprising is that, according to Mrs. Foster, Colleges do not teach artists how to make a living as artists. Mainly because art is an incredible diverse and unique field. However, there are some ways to excel in art, such as dedication towards improvement and being genuine with my work. Those that motivate themselves to keep creating the best art they can are those that are the most experienced, and therefore, successful. It is also important to learn what kind of art most interests me. That is what I am trying to do in this course. I want to discover my art style and improve on it. Hopefully I can do something similar to that in my final project.
Another interesting aspect of art to learn about was Mrs. Foster’s past experience as an ISM mentor. She explained that, when working with Abby Ludman, she wanted to focus on the practical aspect of art rather than art itself. Which is encouraging to think of because that is what I have been trying to learn about my entire time in ISM. I know I can learn how about art itself in school, but it is much harder to learn how to make a living in art, so that is what I have focused on for the most part. However, I am satisfied about with the information I have on making a living as an artist. I want to focus more on what I will do as an artist; my art style, my prefered field of art, my strengths and, my weaknesses. I find that developing myself feels much more rewarding than looking into the distant future. Maybe it is because of quicker gratification, maybe it is not a good quality to have, but I still look to focusing on the present and what I can improve. Of course I still am looking into the future, it is why I took this course, but the present is what is easiest for me to improve on.
Speaking of improvement, something I gathered over Mrs. Foster’s story is that painting is an incredibly personal job, which is centered on improvement. Improvement of skill, advertisement, and of self. I relate to this in a way. I have always focused on improvement my whole life. I plan to continue this in ISM and in my future. In that sense painting works well with me. Painting involves looking deeply into one’s self and how to improve one’s self. That is what I want to do. I want to explore my strengths and weaknesses so that I can improve on them. Art is the best way to do that.
The most surprising thing I learned was a thought I had about a few things Mrs. Foster said. She mentioned everything was designed, from a building, to a painting, everything is designed. Which gives the encouraging feeling that a person can do an endless amount of work in art. However, as Mrs. Foster put it, art is a “Feast or Famine” job. People can go months without work and months with too much work. This sort of paradoxical nature of art is intriguing and terrifying at the same time, yet it only makes me want to continue exploring the field. I want truly dedicate myself to art so that I may learn if it is right for me.