Stockton, New Jersey
Tyler degree program
BFA in Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM (MJCC)
Why did you transfer to Tyler?
I found the atmosphere at Tyler very refreshing—as an art school it doesn’t take itself too seriously and has both diversity and engaging programs as well as majors that piqued my interest. The opportunity to take courses outside of Tyler, as part of Temple University, and explore my other interests was another factor why I chose to transfer.
At both Tyler and Temple, there is such an inclusivity and acceptance of LGBTQIA+ students. It was nice having a more comfortable and supportive environment to be a maker in, and as a transgender man having other trans and queer students to build a community with was something that I didn’t have before.
I ended up making two very good friends who are MJCC majors. They encouraged me to take a metals course to fulfill an elective. After the first few weeks of my Jewelry I course, I fell in love with the materiality and craft of metalsmithing. There’s such a sense of community in MJCC—just being in the studio and working on your projects fosters such a positive environment. Professor [Mallory] Weston is the person who inspired me to consider pursuing a career in metalsmithing and jewelry.
I’ve been on Temple’s Fencing Club since freshman year, and I fence Sabre on the men’s team. It’s great that Tyler is a part of a large university, like Temple, where we have access to such a variety of clubs, programs and other resources.
Favorite Class and why?
Color in Metals is what really solidified my love for the major and the craft. I had been wanting to incorporate color into my metal work and the introduction of enameling techniques enabled me to make projects I was really excited about and proud of. If I hadn’t taken that class, I really don’t know what kind of work I’d be making today, as it's become such an ingrained part of my practice as a maker.
Taking classes online
[Editorial Note: In March 2020, like colleges and universities around the United States, the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University transitioned to online classes for the remainder of the semester, as a preventative measure against the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.]
The MJCC Program was so supportive and understanding during the online transition. Being back at my parents house for quarantine, in such a spread out rural community, the Internet connection was always lagging and unstable, and I received constant reassurance from faculty not to stress about it. The ways in which projects were adapted to fit this new format worked out really well and strengthened my CAD and 3D modeling skills as that became more of a focus of mine without access to facilities.
Why I like Philadelphia
Personally, I’m not a city person. However, Philadelphia is such a force within the arts scene, especially with metals and jewelry. There are so many local opportunities to find work and community such as the historic Jeweler's Row in Old City. Philly has some really great galleries and creative people. I am very grateful for the community I found in the studio environment and the friends I made along the way.