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
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
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
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