Master of Arts Degree Meet & Greet
Leave this field empty
August 27, 2018
By Christine Merchent
Pin It

September 6th, 2018 is my first day of graduate school. I'll be attending the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco. My friends may remember that I was accepted graduate program at to the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City a few years ago but was unable to attend. Their medical department required a vaccine, the MMR, that I chose not to get given it's link to autism.   

I hope to share my journey through this blog. I'll already have the hard part done, the assignments. So sharing them should in theory be the easy part. 

Prior to school starting the university has several orientation programs. The 1st is a meet and greet where we all post in response to specific questions so our classmates can learn about us. There was a place to ask questions. I asked about working ahead as our family travels quite a bit. I learned that we can work 1 week ahead. Hopefully that will be enough. Another student asked about difficulty of classes and one mentor said the lighting class is always really hard. Good to be forewarned.

We then had to post all of our social media. This gave me an opportunity to scrutinize all of mine, and even prompted me to finally release some videos I had hidden on YouTube and to add a link to my channel on this website. Here is what I shared:

Social Media I use:

My YouTube page

My iTunes bookstore

My websites:

The website for the golf course my husband and I own. I created 99% of the photography, on this website. I did not create the video.

I really look forward to following my classmates, instructors and mentors on their social media for a multitude of reasons, inspiration, connection, opening my mind...

I enjoy Instagram the most and often check it more than once a day.

I didn't see the 'post 3 things you like' until someone else commented. As I reviewed the social media and profiles of my classmates and professors, I liked the variety of subject matter, form and treatment. I like the fact that we come from such different places geographically. I also like the fact that many of us come from different work backgrounds.


Next was a general 'tell us about yourself' with some specific questions. Here is what I had to say:

  • What is your name? Christine Merchent
  • Where do you live? Noblesville IN
  • Why are you at the Academy?
    • To improve and strengthen my art from a technical and intellectual perspective.
    • On the technical front, being self-taught has been a somewhat painful experience for me. While I've taken many classes through my guild, PPA, Photoshop World, workshops, online and worked with private instructors, I frequently have problems in many arenas. I would like to master lighting, posing, printing and post production. I can do all of it with varying degrees of success. I'd like to always do it excellently.
    • On the intellectual part, I did several portfolio reviews last year. I came away from the experience feeling like I needed to shore up my knowledge in numerous areas, such as the history of photography, how to write an artist statement that a gallery owner would appreciate, and how determine where my art fits in the world.
  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy video games, golf tournaments, traveling, and hanging out with my family.
  • What is your dream job, what industry/company? Why?
    • I aspire to be a self-employed successful artist. I like to have control of my time. I've done the corporate world, and doing what another wants. I enjoy creating what I am interested in, and I'd like to do it more expertly.
  • List the classes you will be taking, with instructors if possible.
    • The Language of Photography with Laura Kurtenbach, and Lighting with Luca Iannuzzi. I am looking forward to both of them and hope that I will come away with a deeper knowledge of my field as a result. I'm very excited to take the lighting class. I've been reading the course book and it is the best book on lighting I have ever read. I hope the projects/assignments will help me understand the subject at a deeper level.
  • Share anything else you’d like us to know!
    • Photography has been an enjoyable and interesting path for me. It has helped me get to know so many wonderful people and brought me a great deal of wonderful experiences. I look forward to sharing this part of my journey with all of you.

I also had to create a profile at the school with photo and resume. I used this as motivation to streamline my resume from a rambling 3 page year-by-year document to a succinct 1 page with primarily shows information, which is pretty short as I only started exhibiting in 2016.

Wish me luck that I learn a ton and that I stick to sharing this path.


Leave a comment:

Email sign-up