Natessa Amin

MFA'15 + Certificate in Time-Based and Interactive Media

What kind of work are you doing?
I teach Painting and Visual Foundations in the Art Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. I also co-direct Fjord Gallery, an artist-run space located in the Crane Arts Building in Philly.

What led you to your current position?
I started teaching art after my BFA, mostly at community art schools and after-school programs. While I was at Penn I had the opportunity to TA three semesters and also got to teach my own Painting class one semester which gave me experience and a great advantage while applying for teaching positions in higher education after graduating.  

What attracted you to the position?
I liked the idea of teaching studio art at a Liberal Arts College. Coincidentally, both the chair of the department and I (separately) studied painting at Boston University for undergrad and share similar values and experiences in Art education.

How did your studies at PennDesign prepare you for your work there?
The program exposed me to new ways of thinking about art and what it means to be an artist today. It provided me with supportive mentors that have been accessible and generous in passing down knowledge and experience.

What courses, studios or instructors had the greatest influence on your work or thinking?
While every course had a significant impact in some way, Matt Freedman's Drawing Seminar is one class I felt my work was immediately affected by. The course initiated generative ways of making and working through ideas which was really helpful and necessary at the time. In times when I’m stuck on pieces in my studio I refer back to exercises from that course and it helps me move forward.

What was the best part of studying at PennDesign? In Philly?
The endless opportunities! During my time at Penn I got to meet my art heroes at the ICA, travel to India, teach incredible students, and exhibit my thesis work in Brussels. Possibly the best part is that I was lucky to have an amazing peer group who were equally supportive and challenging.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully teaching, making work, and sharing it.

Are you keeping in touch with classmates, students or faculty?
Yes, all the time.

Any words of advice for prospective students?
Support your peers and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, it goes by fast!

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