Chances are really good that this last Spring Exhibit at my college will be the last one I’ll ever be allowed to participate in and I have mixed feelings.
First, it’s the first one that I’ve ever entered photographs. I had an incredible experience with Professor Bob Mayer in my Intro to Photography and I really got into it and found another love of my life. (No, not another woman… a camera… but that’s another post.) I found myself opening to a new level of creativity that I’ve never really enjoyed with a camera. I’m not just taking photography but capturing light – the exact light.
Second, I go from being worried that I’ll win too many awards or not win enough. It’s a complication emotion. If I sweep every award in the category that my work is nominated for than I’m like the major league ballplayer going up to bat against the local junior varsity team and my be perceived as a “talent bully” or a ringer. If I don’t win up against students with less experience than I, what does that say about me, I’m not that good as a designer?
Third, I just didn’t throw in pieces I’ve worked on during the last two semesters; I threw everything at “the wall” to see what sticks. Rather than be a graphic designer sniper tactfully hitting the target with one strategic piece – my work is more like a shot-gun blast hoping one of my pellets hits something. A couple of pieces that are either refreshes of pieces I entered last year or work is completely new. Then there are some that are deeply personal and from my life outside of college. While I tossed everything except the kitchen sink (I would have illustrated it if I could) there is the feeling that I left something out. Don’t ask me what, I just get that gnawing sense that something that should have been entered wasn’t…
Finally, there’s this overwhelming sense of loss which isn’t unlike the passing of a close relative or family friend. It’s not unlike that feeling one gets when they must move on, like the final days of summer camp or having to leave the ideal job that has become too comfortable but has lost all the opportunity to grow. I’ve never played in competitive sports so I can only imagine that this must be like for a college or professional athlete must feel like during the last game of his career.
In many regards this final Spring Exhibit is a going-away party for all the other graphic designers who I’ve learned and worked with for the past couple of years. It’ll be a rite of passage and a passing of the torch to the students that will follow us in the semesters yet to come. It’s also a sign that the training wheels are coming off and it’s time to get moving under our power.
I am passing through this threshold with the inability to see what lies beyond. Not because I don’t have eyes but because they have not trained to be able to see in the new universe that waits ahead. Is it like the one I occupied before returning to college, or is it a brand new realm that’s unlike any experience I had before?