Tim Zercie, 2010
Tim Zercie in his studio.
Currently, I study in London, England at the Royal College of Art towards a MFA in Painting. Prior to making this decision I attended Eastern Illinois University in 2009- 2010. This unique MA Art Program was a vigorous crash-course of my current MFA experience, but through eight months instead of two years. My personal experience of it was five months of thorough experimentation, three months of completing realized projects for the final MA exhibition. The Burl Ives studio building was a generous amount of space to create and review my work in. The 24 hour access gave me opportunity to be there super late, where I found myself to be more productive without any interruptions. Throughout the year, I pushed my work through a trench of frustration and miscomprehension, by challenging myself with different modes of artwork presentation and dis-functionality. When it came around to MA exhibition, I unleashed beautiful mutants into the Tarble Art Centre; presenting hybrid sculpture/paintings and kinetic objects. Overall, I realized the more fun I was having in the creation of the work, the more successful the pieces were. This belief was my standard in creating work after the program for the upcoming MFA application processes that next year.
Specifically, this program gave me the great opportunity to teach my own art course to non-art majors, and this was not simply shadowing a professor in the classroom. I wrote my own syllabus and initialized an art foundation course for two semesters containing two different groups of 25 students. This was an immensely rewarding experience, for myself, to be able to create art projects and formulate a direct communication with my students. By being put in this situation I became more confident in publicly speaking about art, using clear positive-criticism while in discussion of the student’s results. To positively reinforce the students in the act of creation and to talk to them in this process was exciting, and surely, was a life-changing moment for me and my work.
After I graduated EIU, and with much research, I found myself being more attracted towards British art programs because they have a freer structure, and were mainly more keen with students being in the studios creating and interacting rather than classrooms. This MA program at EIU definitely put a perspective of what I truly wanted in an MFA experience, and gave me insight on how to approach and clearly advertise my work towards chosen schools.