Fine art and Archive

Hi, I am Alice, a second year student majoring in Fine Art studio practice. It may seem strange to see a student of Fine Art who is willing to apply to the position of the Special Collections & Archives Project Assistant, which it is not so Fine Art related. Even my colleagues here have admitted that this job is sometimes not so creative, in the sense that, sometimes, people do paperwork and scan negatives. However, I feel differently since I became a part of this community. It is a treasure box full of surprises for me as a Fine Art student. It is unlimited inspiration.

Inspiration for artists can vary depending on their experiences and their living conditions. For example, my Art history professor Joan Coutu has mentioned in one of her lecture that, "Van Gogh produces over a thousand self-portraits due to his sense of inferiority and his strong will of self-expression". On the other hand, Monet is a totally different story.  He is calm about everything he paints, which is also related to his talent and his experiences. For me as an art student, history is always a top choice for the subject of my drawings and designs. I am always excited by historical events and how they bring the storm of changes that are able to affect the world we are living in.

<--break->In terms of the tasks I have received this month, both are interesting and creative and they fit me well. The first project was finding nice pictures for "Colour Our Collections". With the assistance of the library catalogue, it was quite easy for me to pull out books I wanted and flip through the pages to find the pictures. However, it was also frustrating sometimes because all the illustrations were so great that I couldn’t decide which one I was going to go with. <--break->Charming flower-girl

From Pen drawing and pen draughtsmen : their work and their methods : a study of the art today with technical suggestions, by Joseph Pennell, Call number: G5009

<--break->The second task was similar to the first one but slightly different. The goal was to find images for this year’s Blind Date with a Book Valentine's cards, focusing on pictures that had as a subject both reading and romance. This is where things became difficult. I really took a full week on searching and the result is only decent. If you ask whether I find this everlasting searching process boring, the answer is no, absolutely not. This is the part I enjoy the most! Every moment I flip through to a page of illustration, I can feel the excitement of discovery, like a pirate who found his treasure. The most important thing is not only what I find in the end, but also the adventure that I experience and the difficulties that I overcome, making the treasure even more precious.<--break->The Mesure for the Wedding Ring

An illustration from Great Victorian engravings : a collector's guide, by Hilary Guise, call number: NE628.3.G85x 1980.

<--break->This is only the first month of my work term and I already find myself falling in love with this job. I have this vision of myself sitting on top of a mountain of golden coins and not satisfied with what I have in my hand. The rest of my time is about digging and figuring out what is hidden under this golden mountain and finding the true treasure.

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