All of the students at University of Houston graduating with a master of fine arts put on a show of their artwork, the MFA Thesis Exhibition. Derek has been working toward this show for the entire three year program.
The opening reception for the show was held last night, and we both had a great time. Derek’s pieces in the show seemed to be a big hit, and attracted a lot of attention all night long. Some of the elements were hands on, so Derek was happy a lot of people got involved.
Derek’s artwork in the show as a whole looked at the history of mass media and the early press, and various problems that arise during different times in history.
The individual pieces in the show included: (these are his words, not mine!)
- Three abstract pieces that are speculations on the future of virtual reality technology.
- A roll of paper that features tweets from the @TEN_GOP twitter account, which was a fake account that effected American politics in 2016. For the tweets, Derek needed to make his own emoji font in order to print the tweet collection. The roll of paper is 72 feet long!
- A sentence on the wall, made with vinyl, which is the definition of the graphic design term, gestalt, which Derek compares to the long-term, emergent effects of mass media.
- Two recordings, one explaining his work, and the second was the original 1938 broadcast of the War of the Worlds by Orson Welles. Though its possible that the panic that this broadcast caused was exaggerated, it is one of the earliest case studies in the effects of mass media.
- Pamphlets that he has created from historical documents from the 1600s to today. There is a book binder machine, and Derek invites people to take some of the pamphlets and make their own books from them.
It was so great to see people coming up to Derek all night long and shaking his hand and hugging him, students, classmates, friends and professors. It was good to see some classmates that I’ve come to known over the past few years.
I even met the wife of one of the classmates, for the first time in the whole three years, and she said, “I have heard so much about all of you!” to which I replied, “We have heard so much about you too!”
There was a toast to all of the graduates in the show, and when everyone was applauding, I tried so hard not to cry. I succeed for the time being, but both Derek and I agree that there will be no stopping the tears during graduation.
Some of my friends from work, who have become friends of Derek too, came to the show. It was great to have their support too.
The pamphlet binding part of his show was a success, and lots of people took pamphlets home. Everyone seemed to be in awe of the roll of tweets too. Someone came up to Derek and said his work was “brilliant.”
About two months ago, Derek was extremely stressed out, but then everything just clicked and came together rather quickly. The last two weeks were hard, getting everything put together and set up, but that big hurdle is done now. Last night was a great way for everyone to say, “WE DID IT!” In the meantime, Derek, and the other exhibitors, have to give artist talks next week about their work. He also has two write two big papers for another class. Graduation is 41 days away!