At the end of the academic year, CCAD presents the faculty-selected outstanding seniors for each undergraduate major. Today, in part five of our nine-part series, meet Fine Arts outstanding senior Stefanie Cook.
Q: What was your proudest achievement while at CCAD?
How do you pinpoint your proudest moment? I don’t think I can, because I have been proud of every day that I have been here.
Q: What scared you the most while you were at CCAD?
The whole experience is terrifying; you have a lot riding on it. I am paying for this, I chose this path, and I think it means a lot to not only succeed in the work that you do, but succeed for yourself. Every scary moment I’ve had I knew I just had to suck it up and do it.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
I would like to apply to grad school, maybe go to OSU. I want to stay in Columbus, though; I feel like moving here was a really good choice. It is a great city to get rooted and grow in—I didn’t expect to love it here, but I do.
Q: What’s your ultimate dream job or goal?
To be able to share my education by some means; I want to be able to plant those creative seeds in other people.
Q: Why is it important as an alumnus to give back to CCAD?
When I applied and moved here I had never been to CCAD, seen the campus, or even visited Columbus; I just went on faith. I had talked to two former graduates that I knew, and hearing them talk about the school helped me make this decision. Having an alum leave here with such a positive attitude really does reflect on what the school is capable of doing.
Q: Do you remember a single point that made you sit back and say, “This is why I am doing this?”
In my honors hand lettering class Richard Aschenbrand said a lot of profound things, and I didn’t get them right away, but they later snuck up on me and really did reflect on all of my other classes and my career here. He taught me how to really look at the marks I was making and that changed how I worked in every other class since then. So, to realize that a teacher actually changed my perception and impacted my work made me sit back and think ‘this was why I am an artist.’
Q: What smell, word, or whatever will always remind you of your time here as a student?
The doughnut smell in the air—that and turpentine, acetone, and any AMF studio smell.
Q: What will you miss the most?
Being with like-minded people and being surrounded by people that are exactly like me. This is such a great place to grow, and it is so much better to be with other people like that than just by yourself.
Q: If you could describe what graduation feels like in one word or sentence what would it be?
It’s hard to believe this is going to be the end. But I feel like it is never ending, since I want to head straight into graduate school after this, so it is just another step forward.
Q: What was your favorite class at CCAD?
Brian Williams’ art theft and propaganda classes. The fact that they were offered here was amazing. That’s a fascinating subject for me and I have read a lot of books based on the material he taught, so to be able to explore that with other people was just really great.
Q: What did you like to do during your free time?
I do something with my hands. If I am not doing school work, I am doing my own work. I am always making something, and if it’s not for CCAD, it is for myself—my hands are never idle.
Q: What is your fondest memory at CCAD?
Being with like-minded people, all the relationships, and hanging out in AMF studios, those are my fondest memories.
Q: What would you change about your undergraduate career?
I would have had a stronger relationship with a full-time professor or dean. I would have been able to really learn through them and their mentorship.
Q: What is your advice to future CCAD students?
I actually just wrote a quote down. I watched this today in class, and I have been saying it over and over—it is from John Baldessari: “You have to be possessed, which you cannot will.” I am at this point where I am working on my thesis, and I keep asking myself “Why am I doing this?” and after hearing this quote, it is true. I can’t force this work, I just have to let it happen and let it take me over.
Cook is from Chicago, IL.
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