There are eight distinct majors at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Within those majors, students make incredible art, write astounding stories and perform amazing shows. With so much going on in every department, it is hard to believe students have time to do anything else. However, students who have interests outside their majors find ways to make it work and when they do, they create some really incredible art.
Interdisciplinary art is a field that fosters creativity: Putting two or more art forms together creates artistic connections that might not have been made using just one art form. “Art and music correlate with each other. They make you think,” says graphic design major and musician Trae Perry. Putting music together with art can express so much more than just using one medium or the other.
Marisa Doherty agrees. As a Creative Writing and Literature major, she wants to bring her love for visual art to the world of words. “For my senior reading I really want to do something with printmaking,” she says. Next year she wants to combine art and poetry to create something unique in her senior book.
Jay Filbert works in many different mediums. “I’m a filmmaker (which is my current major), I am a dancer, and I am a musician and producer in turntablism/DJing,” he says. Filbert uses whatever art form an idea requires rather than focusing on one art form or another.
Personally, I work in a lot of different mediums. While my major is Creative Writing and Literature, I am also a filmmaker, a musician, a photographer, a dancer and a graphic designer. I am currently in post-production on my short film “Shipped,” which explores the fandom culture of “shipping wars” and personifies them onscreen. While I could have written a short story or essay about the same topic, it wouldn’t have come across in the same way as a film could.
Despite the benefits of interdisciplinary work, Perry says that being a multifaceted artist can be difficult. “You really have to know exactly what you want to do,” he says. If you don’t have a game plan, juggling classes in different departments can be difficult. Filbert agrees. He thinks it’s important to “identify your strengths and weaknesses in every talent, as well as your enthusiasm for each, and ultimately create a balance that’s right for you and your well being. From a practical viewpoint, you will need to know what you want your career to look like, and know what the consequences and benefits are to your choice, and if it’s feasible enough to happen.” There’s a lot that goes into working in multiple mediums.
One thing that can be especially difficult for interdisciplinary artists is trying to fit their different interests into their schedule. “It’s been my goal for three semesters now to take a printmaking class,” says Doherty. Only now has she been able to figure out a way to fit it into her degree with plans to take said class next semester. Filbert echoes this frustration. “The way the majors are set up now, the requirements needed to be met do not allow for interdisciplinary pursuits,” he believes. “Although they encourage it, they don’t encourage it enough to allow each degree to incorporate the other art fields to satisfy the 120 credits minimally needed in order to graduate without paying for additional classes.” However, Filbert does believe that the various different departments have great classes for those interested in pursuing different art forms and that makes the school great for cross pollination. The only hurdle is fitting those courses into one’s schedule.
Those who are interested in interdisciplinary art should contact their academic advisor early in the process. There are many incredible classes that allow for students to cross pollinate in other departments, but it’s important to understand how those classes will fit into one’s degree. Personally, I’ve been able to fit classes other than my major into my schedule, but it took a lot of planning. I’m usually in my academic advisor’s office almost every day during registration.
Interdisciplinary art can be one of the most engaging forms of art. One of the biggest interdisciplinary projects SFUAD has to offer is “Outdoor Vision Fest,” a huge campus event that involves nearly every major at SFUAD. OVF’s Facebook event promises “Projection mapping, interactive installations, motion graphics, video & sculptural art, and more.” Nominated as “Best Event of Santa Fe” by readers of the Santa Fe Reporter, this year’s event will take place April 29 starting at 8:45 at the visual arts center. The event is free and open to the public.