The Sandspur partnered with Rachel Simmons’ ART 232/332: Visual Journal I/II to showcase the efforts of students working on a semester long art project.
Clustered around a large table in the Cornell Fine Arts Center, a group of students share their recent editions to an ongoing, semester-long project: the visual journal.
The course, ART 232 and 332, meets weekly to discuss topics not traditionally associated with fine art curriculum. Weekly discussions center around topics such as the nature of creativity, the importance of doodling, and the nature of narrative.
“Journaling is a popular way to develop a life-long habit of self-reflection as a way to make meaning in our lives,” Professor of Art Rachel Simmons says in
the course syllabus.
By combining multiple mediums and low-tech printmaking techniques, visual journal pages develop as multilayered responses to concerns of identity, place and time.
“A visual journal is a way to visually manifest what you think and feel in a very conscious, self-aware way,” Bethany Eriksen ‘15 said. “It allows you to express yourself both visually and in a written fashion, so that you can really expel what you keep inside.”
Class meetings focus on group critiques and discussion. Each class ends with a writing exercise based on prompts from Lynda Barry’s What It Is and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. From these writen responses, students create visual entries in their journals for the following week’s class.
“Before starting this class in August, I hadn’t really explored my creative side at all,” Sabrina Kent ‘15 said. “Doing so has helped me realized that I can creatively express myself, that I do have that capability.”
As the semester concludes and students finish working on their journals, Eriksen reflects on the aspiration to continue with the journaling process.
“I definitely want to continue journaling. I think it is a great way to, at the end of the day, reflect on whatever happened in a way that you process all of your
thoughts,” Eriksen said.