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July 8, 2015

Joseph Breck: Developing an Artistic Identity

July 8, 2015

Joseph Breck, who is now a senior studio art major, only applied to one school when he was looking at colleges: Michigan State University.  And when he arrived on MSU’s campus, he found that the Studio Art program’s emphasis on conceptual foundations was the perfect fit.

Breck says, “The studio art program here is a lot more about thinking, conceptualizing, and building up your ideas as a person rather than teaching you how to paint a house perfectly.… It truly opens up your mind to the idea that anything is possible.”  

Unique Opportunities

One of the possibilities that Breck was exposed to during his academic career was the one-of-a-kind contemporary art experience offered by Michigan State University’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

“One of the things I think sets me apart is my experience at the Broad,” Breck says. “I was lucky enough to get a position as a preparator’s assistant….I’m probably one of ten undergraduates in the country with that kind of cutting-edge contemporary art experience.”  

In addition, Breck points to the range of artists he’s been exposed to as one of the most important resources he was able to access through his program. Some of the visiting artists were part of the Art, Art History, and Design Visiting Lecture Series program, while the Broad Art Museum attracted others.  

Breck says, “The visiting lecture series of artists here is off the charts. Every two weeks, there’s a world-renowned artist coming through. And then I get to work hands on at the Broad, and really talk to the artists about their processes. That, in turn, can help me with my own work.”

Individualized Experience 

Small class sizes and low student-to-teacher ratios complemented the experiential learning opportunities offered through the Studio Art Program.

Breck explains, “Because of the small classes, you have a really close bond with your faculty.  Professors can take a lap around the class, talk with everyone, and be back at the front of the classroom in ten minutes.”

The individualized experience provided by the Studio Art Program helped Breck develop his own artistic identity.

“Right now I’m working with acrylics; I like these kind of architectural renderings. I want to build intricate, sometimes darker narratives. And I do a lot of introspective reflection about how things I think are aesthetically pleasing reflect back on my personality.” 

To other students interested in the program, Breck recommends staying open to the opportunities and relationships they can build during their time at MSU.

“Try your hardest in your classes to connect and speak about what your doing. Once you’re opening up, it will help what you can do with your work. Basically, the way you learn to think, here, can lead you to do anything.” 

Reprinted from College of Arts and Letters
Story by student Will Mianecki, video by Peter Johnston