I experienced such a great week here at CSU, Chico. (I am in the middle of my first semester pursuing an MFA in visual art.) We had two visiting artists on campus: Xiaoze Xie and Xavier Monsalvatje. And the BFA and MFA students had Open Studios.
In my graduate seminar class Xiaoze Xie told us his story of how he came to the United States from China, his gradual successes building one upon as well as some of his difficulties. He was wonderfully humble and sincere. I was grateful to be in his presence and hear him speak. Part of the reason for my admiration is because he is soft-spoken, which I tend to be as well. The world has a way of regarding this as weakness and so it is encouraging to see him being so successful anyways just by being himself.
Xavier Monsalvatje was also inspiring. I had glanced at his website before his talk and found myself only mildly interested. But it is not everyday one can go and hear and artist from Spain speak about his work and so I went. He spoke in Spanish with a thick accent, pausing occasionally for the translator. He gave a slideshow showing the history of art as signs of industry increasingly crept in through the late 1800s and early 1900s and how his work addresses issues of industry. Hearing him describe his work with the accompanying images was profound.
Open Studios was encouraging as well. I especially enjoyed interacting with various students, faculty, and other visitors about my Professor of Self series. I was delighted to hear how others talk about my work, to see what they see in it, and to hear their questions. Discussing my work was also an excellent exercise for me – sometimes this came surprisingly easy, other times quite difficult, but I had fun with the challenge. How wonderful to observe my work having an affect on others.