Brittany Coburn '17

Current Position:
Visiting Professor at HWS Colleges
Current Location:
Geneva, N.Y.
Studio Art

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to do something with my life that everyone else always characterized as “untraditional.” My interests in different creative career paths bounced around a lot over the years, from fashion design, architecture, graphic design and so on. Initially, I was drawn to HWS for the architecture program because of the focus on hand drawing and 3D modeling. But during my sophomore year, I took the advice of my father (Sam Coburn ’90) and signed up for “Introduction to Sculpture” with Professor of Art and Architecture Ted Aub. After our first project I knew I was hooked, and I’ve never looked back.

There are a lot of things that set the Art and Architecture Department apart from others, but the professors and the environment that they foster are what truly make it extraordinary. I was taught and encouraged to think abstractly, to view things from different perspectives, to give and receive criticism in the most constructive way, and to truly understand my worth as an artist and a creative. I didn’t appreciate the value of a degree in Studio Art at the time, or the heavy emphasis placed on Art History, but now I am thankful every day for the opportunity I was given to learn and experiment with all different mediums and artistic practices, and for all of those research papers I wrote and thought would never be helpful. The Studio Art major was no walk in the park, but what does an “easy” art program provide to an aspiring artist? NOTHING! Without being pushed beyond what I thought were my limits, I wouldn’t be capable of the success I have found since.

Fast forward to today, and I am literally living the dream that kept me motivated all throughout college. I am pursuing my MFA in Sculpture at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta and I am working for an incredible custom design and fabrication house in Decatur called Arc Design. This job has been the most amazing experience because it’s given me the opportunity to be a part of the conceptual and building processes of all different types of projects. I’ve been able to experience firsthand so many of the different facets of the contemporary art industry. Not only am I learning more than I could have ever dreamed, but I get to go into work every day and use my knowledge and background in art, and know that my hard work and creativity are valued and appreciated every step of the way. If that’s not manifestation at its finest, then I don’t know what is.

I’m grateful to my professors, Ted Aub, Phillia Yi, Gabriella D’Angelo, Nick Ruth, Alysia Kaplan, Mike Bogin, Liliana Leopardi and Angelique Szymanek for fostering my passion and teaching me to never give up on my dreams. Without their knowledge and support, I wouldn’t have had the courage pursue a future in art, and I certainly wouldn’t be the artist that I am today. I don’t know what the future holds for me right now, but I do know that whatever I do and wherever I end up, I’ll be following my passion with confidence and doing what I truly love.