I’ve always struggled to keep personal blogs updated. They tend to linger around the Internet un-touched for a couple of years before a friend digs them up to shame me for how mopey I used to be. I’m still occasionally mopey but I’ll save all that for my destructible pen and paper journal. I’m going to keep it clean here (informal semi-professional blah blah whatever you want to call it).
Now over half way through my graduate program, I look back and realize how much has changed since I moved to Bloomington two years ago. Moving here before even knowing if I had been accepted to either program (art history and library science) was a risk I hadn’t fully comprehended until I was shivering alone, unemployed, and aimless through my first Indiana blizzard–not exactly the adventure I had imagined. Back in Pennsylvania, my position as a museum security guard had come to an end following the close of one of their temporary shows, and days later I was driving through Ohio to try a “new life” in the Midwest.
Unemployment gave me the opportunity to pursue personal projects: illustrating a deck of tarot cards, creating papier-mache sculptures, writing fiction, etc. Then I was hired as an assistant at a summer art camp. And then I started volunteering as a tutor. And then I started one class during summer sessions, then three during the fall. I was hired as a Center Supervisor at a Residential Programs & Services Library as well as a Graduate Assistant at the Indiana University Art Museum. And then I took more classes, was hired as the Library Coordinator at the GLBT Library, became President of the Society of Art Librarianship Students (SALS), was hired as a Reference Assistant, was hired as a Graduate Supervisor at the Fine Arts Library, and abruptly stopped feeling human. It felt like I was doing projects on top of projects on top of unresolved personal problems.
I don’t regret how thinly I spread myself because I discovered how much I could endure. I know what I enjoy and what I am naturally drawn to. I know I can do a million projects simultaneously fairly well, but I can really excel when I pursue a handful of meaningful projects. It was always natural for me to take on as much as I could, but it has only become increasingly apparent that more is not better. Plus I value my stamina and sanity, both of which were quickly depleted under the weight of my excessive workload.
In truth, I’m doing as much “work” this semester as I have in the past. It feels like less but that’s because I’m doing more of what I want (both more relevant for my career path and for personal fulfillment). Plus I have a great cohort of peers who are just as hard-working as I am (thankfully without having their heads stuck in the academia clouds).
Upcoming projects that make me jittery (in a good way): co-editing a zine for SALS with Kendra Werst, putting together my presentation on comics and art librarianship for ARLIS/NA (and also going to Seattle for the first time!), and road-tripping to St. Louis to meet Rina Vecchiola (Art and Architecture Librarian) at Washington University. Fingers crossed that I can also make it to SEI at Chapel Hill and Rare Book School in Charlottesville this summer.
That last paragraph was my attempt at not being mopey. Did it work?
My name is Andrew Wang and I am currently a student at Indiana University pursuing master’s degrees in art history and library science. I can be seen haunting the fine arts building at least six days a week. In terms of librarianship, I am particularly interested in comics, zines, and visual literacy. As for my art historian half, I am fond of Mayan art, colonial Latin American art, Spanish painting, and twentieth-century abstraction, with a growing interest in new media art, mid-century horror comics, Asian-American artists, and contemporary photography.
I am determined to keep this blog up-and-running for the long haul. Stay tuned for life updates, media and exhibition reviews, ongoing projects, and reflections.