Although artist Christina Carfora will be enrolled at University of Houston-Clear Lake this fall, she will not be attending classes. Her education will be in the real world as a teacher and a student completing an internship at Glassell School of Art, the educational arm of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Carfora, who will graduate this December with a Master of Arts in Humanities, believes that it was her education at UH-Clear Lake that prepared her for this.
She began studying for her master’s degree in the fall of 2010, and after completing her core courses, honed her art skills in the university’s renovated Arbor Building and state-of-the-art studio. The new area not only allowed for an expanded ceramics studio with large kilns and studios for individual students, the building also offered a drawing, painting and printmaking area, a woodworking shop, metal foundry, fibers studio and dark room.
“My newest figurative sculptures are now life-size,” says Carfora. “The new kilns have allowed me to expand the scale and breadth of my work.
“This allows me to communicate with the viewer on a more emotional level.”
After finishing her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Carfora spent a year in Indonesia, which, she says, considerably influenced her artistic direction. In her drawings and figurative works, Carfora says she confronts issues related to communication and change, stimulated by experiences in the 23 countries she has visited.
“I am fascinated with the concept of preserving time,” says Carfora, who adds that she often includes masks, breathing apparatus and eye gear in her work, which isolates both the figure from the viewer and from its surroundings.
In addition to her work at Glassell this fall, Carfora also will be busy as an Artist-in-Residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. The non-profit arts organization awards five to ten residencies from hundreds of applicants each year, with Carfora being one of the nine this year. In her role as an ambassador, she supports the organizations mission of educating people in modern uses for traditional craft materials such as ceramic, fiber, glass and metal.
She credits her UHCL mentors for sharing their joy of artistic creation, and building an educational environment that inspires engaging discussion of art-related issues.
“Professor Nick de Vries has been an integral part of helping me to achieve my career goals – being a full-time artist and ceramic educator,” says Carfora about the UHCL professor of Fine Arts.
About Carfora, de Vries adds, “What makes Christina unique is that she has fully integrated her art with her experience and how they translate with her interaction with the world around her.”
UHCL’s graduate program provides several international study opportunities, including the yearly ArtCamp at the University of West Bohemia in Plzen, Czech Republic offered as part of the university’s International Consortium. Carfora attended in 2012.
“Ultimately, my work is about change,” says Carfora. “These bodies of work encourage us to look introspectively at the change in our own lives.”
And although Carfora has no on-site classes at the university this fall, as an intern at the Glassell and an Artist in Residence at HCCC, Carfora will definitely still be learning.
To find out more about the Bachelor of Fine Arts or the Master of Arts in Humanities, visit http://www.uhcl.edu/hsh or call 281-283-3333.