Why I’m Applying to Pacifica for the M.A. Engaged Humanities

I remember being invited to participate in a sustainable Santa Barbara workshop, meet new people, and explore the Pacifica Graduate Institute. I was excited to be included in a workshop about envisioning sustainable solutions for the Santa Barbara community. In this workshop, the participants gathered in groups, each with unique topics to brainstorm. My group discussed how, without fossil fuels, news could be distributed to a population without existing media channels that rely on electricity. I left the Pacifica Graduate Institute that day feeling inspired about humanity’s ability to problem solve.

It was during my visit to the Pacifica Graduate Institute that I first noticed the work of Joseph Campbell. I felt a strong connection with Campbell’s work. I was most strongly influenced by The Power of Myth and his ability to clearly explain complex beliefs in terms I understood. One of the influential classes I took in undergraduate school focused on Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols. In this class, we kept a dream journal to catalog and interpret the symbols that appeared in our dreams.

I grew up in a supportive creative family. I am guided by a spiritual connection that is hard to describe, but that has always driven me to try new things. I attribute my creative and spiritual energy to the close relationships I have had with my grandparents. Their perspectives, and their shared stories of struggle and triumph, encouraged me to pursue big dreams and to take risks.

My artwork is inspired by transformations in science, spirituality, and popular culture. I place great importance on being informed about the subjects that inspire my creativity. I have a commitment to knowing myself, both consciously and unconsciously. The practices I use to get in touch with my inner self include dance, meditation, journaling, drawing, painting, and tarot card reading. I also have a commitment to understanding local and distant cultures. In order to do this, I travel, develop relationships with other people, volunteer for community art programs, and offer freelance creative services to businesses including marketing, creative direction, and graphic design.

My first creative entrepreneurial project was a mobile art studio that would act as a catalyst for transformation. I sought out like-minded artists and participated in transformative festivals like the Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle, and Lucidity festivals. Living in Italy for a year transformed me, as did my travels around the USA, Mexico, Germany, and the UK. I read about people from history like Marcel Duchamp, Ken Kesey, and Gandhi because their choices and courageous lives inspired me to think outside the box and believe in my inner convictions. I recently expanded my experience by joining a sustainable live/work artist community called the Working Artists Ventura (WAV).

I have been experimenting with art and creativity for the last 18 years. My first college level art classes started at age 14, when I began studying at Santa Barbara City Collage. I find the unpredictable nature of art to be one of the most fascinating things that I have learned so far. Technology has changed the tools of my creative practice in a way that I could never have imagined ten years ago.

Today, I mostly create art with my iPhone and laptop. I take pictures, record videos, write in my journal, send emails, write blogs, record sounds, make prints, and draw using these devices. I collaborate with people in remote locations who I have never met through video conferencing and cloud file sharing. However, even with new technology, the essence of my creative energy is the same. 

As a freelance graphic designer of 4 years, I find myself challenged with the task of being creative with a purpose. It is challenging to navigate between art, design, and functionality. I believe that studying at the Pacifica Graduate Institute would offer me guidance and knowledge that I need to reflect on my experiences, and to discover new connections with like-minded people. My intent is to achieve a deeper understanding of how characteristics from the creative life of an artist can be combined in synergy with entrepreneurial business practices. I aspire to contribute to solving challenges in the world through creative innovation and thoughtful reflection. I feel the Engaged Humanities & the Creative Life program is a good fit for my goals as it approaches art-making as a way to be human and engage with the world and includes a focus on ecology, the future of spirituality, the role of myth in culture-making, healing, and technology.