Weng San Sit – Alumna GS 11 – Singapore
What have you been doing since graduating from the General Studies Program?
I have been doing a bunch of freelance gigs, photographing events, retouching and archiving for other artists. At the same time, I am currently doing a residency under the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council: SPARC (Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide). I lead a weekly photography workshop with the seniors, and also collaborate with them on a project. I am also digesting all the things I have learned during my time in ICP, which means looking up artists or reading recommended articles that had been discussed during the program. We covered it all so much that I will probably need many years to fully digest them. The last few months have been spent preparing my MFA applications, and going for interviews.
What impact has the experience of going through the ICP program had on you?
Although I had been taking pictures seriously for quite a while, I went into ICP without an art background, so the experience definitely built a very critical foundation for me. I was especially taken aback by the huge diversity of artists and critical theories I was introduced to. The experience also benefited me by providing the opportunity to vigorously experiment and push the boundaries of my own work.
Is there anything that has surprised you subsequent to graduation?
There is no doubt that there are challenges being out of school, having to find work, making art during this tough economic time, and knowing that there are probably a few thousand others who are in the same position as you. One pleasant surprise though was how much the school’s effort to prepare us for the ‘jungle’ matters, whether you are an artist or a photojournalist. What I found really useful was the Exhibition and Portfolio Review day, not only for the ability to get feedback from a wide range of professionals in the field but the semester long process of editing, printing and discussing the portfolio has made the thoughts and articulation of my work clearer. That made a HUGE difference when I met up with editors, curators and gallerists during and after the program! Another really nice thing was that coming out of the program, we had an amazing group of friends and faculty members who understand what we are going through, constantly encouraging and motivating each other.
What would you say to people contemplating applying to the program?
Go for it! Students from my year came from different backgrounds and are interested in developing a variety of practices. The program offers a wide spectrum of classes, so much so that most of us had to make difficult decisions when choosing classes. As long as you are willing to try out new things, you will get a lot out of the program.
How did completing the GS program prepare you for graduate level study in photography?
The decision to do an MFA came after my graduation from the GS program. I was pleasantly surprised while writing my statement during the application process because I had grown so much as an artist during that one year of the program. I grew not only in technical competency, but also in my ability to engage more clearly and deeply in social commentaries within my own work.