Summer is almost over, but we've had some great help in the studio with Bainbridge Island-native and Rhode Island School of Design student, Soren Ferguson, as our intern. He is back to Providence at the end of the month, but before he goes, below is a quick interview to get to know him better.
Q: You just finished your first year at The Rhode Island School of Design. Can you tell us a little about it? How was it different than you expected?
I did, yes and it was quite the experience. Going into foundation year at RISD I had a number of expectations that were both affirmed and not. The first of course was simply the level of work expected from us students. I sort of half believed I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demanding pace however ultimately I found no one is inherently more equipped but rather that it’s the work ethic that you develop there that determines your success. I think this focus on a work ethic is really the most significant change I saw in myself over the course of the year, the means through which you become content with sleep deprivation and a huge workload are pretty incredible to watch evolve over a period time. Though of course the work is probably the most prevalent aspect of your life at RISD, going there is not quite so one dimensional as just this. While much of your time is spent within the studio you're with an exciting group of people with diverse backgrounds, and in your free time there’s access to all the resources RISD has to offer plus the Brown campus just up the hill. I think going in I sort of had two expectations that I separated as different possibilities in my head. The first was an experience defined by work while the other was more the classic, even cliche idea of art school and gathering inspiration. In reality what I found was a sort of mix of both.
Q: You are going into the Industrial Design department next year. How did you decide on that major?
Well it was the major that brought me to RISD in the first place. Prior to deciding on art as a future career I was looking at engineering, when art became important Industrial Design seemed like the best compromise between the two. That being said Foundation year did test this decision, I briefly considered both sculpture and furniture before coming full circle and declaring Industrial Design.
Q: You grew up here on Bainbridge Island. What was that like? Do have any favorite spots?
Yes, Bainbridge has been a great place to grow up. Just moving into my 20s there is a certain degree of disillusionment with the small town atmosphere by now but really looking back there's been nothing but fond memories. Certainly some of my recent favorite spots on the island are the ones I find with friends though they tend to involve climbing some sort of structure so I won’t go in detail. Otherwise I’d say Gazzam Lake would probably be my favorite spot just seeing as I’ve spent so much time there.
Q: You are currently living in a shed-like structure that you are fixing up while home for the summer. Can you tell us about the space and your favorite aspects of shed living?
Haha yea, I moved out to the shed last summer as sort of a preemptive step towards college life and it’s been a fun home 200 yards away from home since then. The shed itself is an old raised up chicken shed from probably about half a century ago. Its an old structure so there are of course some issues with weather proofing but with some small improvements it’s been made livable. The first addition I made was a climbing wall. This was prior to choosing to live out there however once I had this up and running it really gave me an incentive to move in. Outside of this the work that’s been put in has primarily just been things like covering leaks, moving in furniture, and giving it power. I fairly often get get asked why I choose living there when I have better options, other than proximity to my climbing wall I’d have to say it’s something to do with a Thoreau-Walden Pond type reasoning. At only 300 square feet, much of which is dominated by climbing area it’s relaxing to just have the bare essentials around me.
Q: What do you see yourself doing creatively 5 years from now? How about 10?
I think since leaving for college these questions have become more complicated. Just before I left I would have said something like “working in the field of industrial design on the west coast," ignorant to the range of jobs within the field. Now that I’m aware of all the avenues I can take I’m considerably less certain towards my future. Where I cannot say whether I would like to be designing for things like tech or furniture, what I can say is within 5 years I want flexibility. Possibly even into that 10 year mark I want to have the flexibility to move within the field or even access work outside of the field as opposed to narrowing my self down to a single avenue. While work isn’t quite so transparent I do have my sights set on a large city for my younger years and likely a fairly minimalist lifestyle.
Q: What else don't we know about you?
Hmm, college has dominated my life so much over the past year that most of what I have to say about myself has been covered. Climbing pretty obviously is a major part of my life. It’s a sort of obsession I can’t quite understand its existence seeing as I don’t have too much of history with sports, something about the flow plus the exertion of it all along with the aesthetic quality of the routes really compels me. One thing interesting is my history with art, I could always draw but I never saw much of a future with it. Not until junior year of high school did I even entertain the idea of going to an art school. I sort of had that antiquated idea of art being a frivolous pursuit in life, definitely glad I got that sorted out.