By LISA MARIE BAUTISTA, student in the Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts MFA program
This post was written as an assignment for professor Cindy Shearer’s CIA 7091: MFA Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop. As part of a community of artists working across art perspectives, students in this course get the chance to teach each other about their art form(s), practice, lineage and influences, and are challenged to inquire into the interdisciplinary arts as well as forms new to them.
A hundred years ago, I was a little girl. I played with Raggedy Ann and Andy, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Barbies. I built structures with Lincoln Logs, and I took swimming lessons at the local park. Our group was called The Pollywogs. I remember watching my father draw tiny actor figures on a set design that he was creating for a theater production of "Godspell" at the school he taught technical theater for. Then later in the evening, I would fall asleep listening to my mother play one of my favorite piano pieces, the "Pathetique Sonata" by Beethoven. I was living amongst the sacredness of art, and I assumed these days as a lifestyle I was blessed to be born into.
I grew up exploring my own possibilities within the art world, taking ballet, piano, singing, ceramics, drama, photography. Which one would suit me? What would I call myself, when others would ask, "and what do you do?" Would I say, "I take singing lessons", or "I am a singer"? What’s the difference, really? Did I ever have the courage to say I was anything? You see, art is a career to me, a profession, but you better be good…or so I thought.
I could have sworn that the only way to be respected as an artist is by being so well trained you could recite Shakespeare with impeccable articulation, or sing loud enough to be heard in every inch of a huge performance theater, with a full orchestra playing. I mean, to be good was to be perfect. I tried that route, for years, then I fell off the wagon. I had a couple of life changing events that completely changed my personality (seriously...ask my high school friends) and I became open-minded. I discovered why my father was always making out-of-the-box suggestions for my art projects. He got it. Art is supposed to be innovative. That is the premise of creation. Something different, something new.
Now at 32 (well…it felt like 100 years ago) I am entering that space of life as an artist, and it exhilarates me. Why? Because at this point, after years of mainstream thought about the arts (as if there are any mainstream thoughts in any artist’s world), I have realized that I want to be a "create your own art form" artist. I want to have the freedom within the already free-or-seemingly free world of the arts to use any mode possible to express my visions.
Meanwhile, I want to add to the collective consciousness of the world, in a big way. I want to reach a lot of different types of people. I want to hear my music played on the Internet, radio, personal players, etc. I do have that desire, because I want to make change, inspire change, or be change. Yet my message might not be so welcomed by the guards of the media. They might feel threatened by my questions and not allow them inside the places they really need to go. So, what to do? How can I overcome this big obstacle of mainstream media?
I sign up for CIIS’ MFA program, that’s what. And that’s exactly what I did. I signed up, I’ve started the program, y es FANTASTICO!