Senior Exhibition: Amy Beisiegel
Amy Beisiegel (senior, graphic design) opened her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Senior Exhibition on April 3. For her thesis project, she wrote, designed and printed a book. The book is a collection of essays covering what she has learned about herself, graphic design and other people she has encountered in her experiences thus far.
The gallery exhibition featured posters of the designs from her book, as well as several copies of the book on shelves that could be read or purchased by visitors. There was also a large chalkboard on which visitors were asked to write down their own revelations. This quickly became filled with congratulatory messages from the exhibition’s steady crowd.
What inspired your project?
From my freshman year I knew I had to do an assignment for my senior BFA project. I knew that I really love books, book cover design and layout, so I knew I wanted to do something with that. I decided to go with a more literal understanding of thesis, which is basically a presentation of what you’ve learned, what you’ve studied, and what merits you a degree. I feel like my expertise is not anything special—I haven’t lived very long and I’m still in school—so I feel like I don’t have the age or experience credibility, but I wrote from the angle that each person has a unique experience that informs what they know and think. I decided to write what I know, specifically from the perspective of my experiences, because that’s what I am an expert on—my own experience.
What did your teachers think when you said “I want to write a book”?
They were skeptical that I’d be able to write all of the content. I’m a design student, not a writer. It’s a big stretch; they were concerned that I was taking off too much to do in a year, and coming up with the content is hard. There were some questions about where I was going to get guidance, and then there was everything that I was concerned with, like raising the money to print, wondering whether my writing is interesting enough, etc.
What challenges did you run into that you didn’t expect?
Writing. I would say I was really foolish to pick writing. I’m glad I did it now, but it was a lot to learn, as it takes practice. At the end of the process, my style had developed, and the beginning of the work didn’t fit anymore, so I had to throw away a few essays. That’s hard because it’s the first thing you did and you care about it, and you just have to throw it away. But it’s an artistic decision that you have to make.
What advice would you give to another student beginning a similar project?
Don’t be afraid to do something really big. Don’t think of it as the end of your education, but think of it as the beginning of your career. It’s not the last big thing you’ll do, it’s the first, and hopefully you can top yourself. Don’t be afraid to do something that’s a lot of hard work. You’re guaranteed an audience, so make use of it. Don’t just do something to graduate; do something because you care about it.