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interMEDIA...ArtSpeak for Me
by Mike Nourse

I’m pretty sure my earliest memory of Intermedia was in grade 7. Like many other budding young teens, I was interested in art but questioned whether or not it was a smart career move. Lucky for me my high school had an effective way of incorporating art into their curriculum, helping me and countless others address this very question.


Instead of choosing one art to study, incoming students were asked to work in three different areas during their freshman year. The first area was theatre, the second was music, and in the last was “art”, which was essentially drawing/painting/making your hands dirty stuff. This was a great experience for many as we only spent about three months working in each area before moving on to the next, keeping the act of art learning fresh for everyone.


The idea here was to expose students to enough that they would be able to choose a specific area to focus for the following year, and subsequently the rest of high school. This was a practical choice as much as anything, as it would break up the school’s population into manageable groups of students that the facilities could then accommodate. For the most part when students chose an area they stuck with it for years.

"I am able to speak many creative languages, allowing me to communicate more effectively with more people"

When registering for the following year I chose theatre. I had taken a improvisation acting class and enjoyed it much. So I embarked on a modest high school career. I remember the thrill of performing and the agony of forgetting lines. I loved acting, however I found it hard to pursue many interests while preparing for plays. This disturbed me, as I felt my art had more to offer than acting alone could take. For this reason theatre seemed like too much of a commitment with not enough reward. Acting was great, but it left me wanting more.

After finishing high school I expanded my horizons. I painted, wrote prose, played in a band, worked as a video editor, eventually got my bachelor’s degree (worked in photo, drawing, painting) and then my master’s degree, concentrating on video and design. By the end of my days as a student I had truly become an Intermedia nut. Each area of study influenced the other and has since helped me grow tremendously both as an artist and as a person.

Working in professional settings I am able to speak many creative languages, allowing me to communicate more effectively with more people. I can speak a performer’s language, a painter’s language, a videographer’s, a photographer’s, even a designer’s. This opens many doors for me, as it does for countless other Intermedia artists. As an artist I have been able to showcase my work in galleries, film festivals, compact discs, on the internet, giving me a variety of artistic outlets not traditionally granted to artists from any one concentration.

I can’t help but think that in our global village, artists who are well rounded with multiple perspectives communicate most effectively with larger audiences. For Intermedia this means actively varying your skills and studies, challenging what you know and how you communicate with any given audience. This is what we do at The Chicago Art Department. This is why you will find me there.


questions? comments? send to mike