We are heartbroken to not be able to commune together in person, but connection doesn’t stop. Given that we are all inextricably in the now of this contemporary moment, we thought it might be nice to look backward and forward in time a bit. We asked past CCA alumni to send a message to their past or future selves.
Jessica Silverman, Curatorial Practice 2007
Remember how self reliant and enterprising you can be during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
Beryl Bevilacque, MFA 2015
We are doing important cultural work for artists now that will transcend our current moment - just think of all the wonderful artwork in museums from hundreds of years past.
Torreya Cummings, MFA 2009
Hi Past Self,
Graduating in the middle of the last financial crisis felt like being flung off a cliff. An art career felt like a shell game, a house of cards, a scam, an impossible proposition, and guess what! You were right. But a decade later, you will have figured out how to do your thing anyway, and to face this ridiculous and strange world with curiosity and resourcefulness. Motion arises from imbalance. Uncertainty is a generative space. Trust in your ability to make things up and improvise your way towards a livable future, for yourself and the people around you.
John Chiara, MFA 2004
Kira Dominguez Hultgren, MFA 2019
The barrier looms. My arms are around you. Move it!
Todd Hido, MFA 1996
Abner Nolan MFA 1998
Dear past me,
You are sitting in Linda Yaven’s graduate seminar (The Teaching Project) on an especially warm autumn afternoon on the Oakland campus. Pay attention, this is going to be important. In addition to her stressing the importance of how you place chairs and tables to create the appropriate learning conditions for your future classrooms, she is about to reveal a secret- it’s the same secret that you will tell all of your own students. Someone is going to ask something, basically about how to get all the good stuff in the art world- exhibitions, grants, residencies, teaching jobs, success.
In the measured, calm manner that she takes all serious matters Linda is going to pause and then ask everyone to link hands and look carefully around the room. I know, it’s very Northern California, but you love her so just suck it up and do it. She is going to convincingly explain that this is the artworld- that you should show up and support your peers and participate fully in your work, in this chosen community. The rest will work itself out.
You will rely on this crew of support over and over again in the coming years- for all the good stuff, and more. And especially in the Spring of 2020 when the world will seem to be falling apart and this community, the one you will help to nurture, will keep you strong and hopeful about what’s to come.
James Bradley, MFA 2009
You should have seen the new religion coming. It’s holy sacraments were already extant in the culture at large at an early date: hand sanitizer as holy water, face masks as penance for the sin of possessing a body, a decimated economy as tithe to the new priest class, the infallible scientists, the virus as demon, biological immunity as salvation. Watch for the signs, my young friend, and for a new generation of devout worshipers of the new god.
Brittany Ham, MFA 2010
To my Past Self,
The hypnosis of complacency steadily mingles with the changing climes and rides along the passing days like a reluctant companion. The self-driven task of keeping that one desire alive and safely harbored as its disheartened protector proves more difficult over time. The desire itself grows more inarticulate and privy to the protector’s musings while the landscape outside grows more disillusioning as the accolades of beauty begin to lose their charms. We have all lost our charms but can still resurrect their likeness from memory so long as the need to understand is pursued in the act of creation, but be warned that the muses have inverted themselves and lived existence is but a lesser nature – the all-consuming, invisible empire reigns supreme.