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School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Maria Fernanda Hernandez Tort

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SAIC Maria Fernanda Hernandez Tort

Marie Fernanda Hernandez Tort studied the Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

How did you discover your passion for the Arts (dance, acting, clarinet, game design..)?

I knew I liked making art since I was young and was always going to art classes and making things in my spare time. I’ve been cross-stitching since I was 6 and have played games all of my life. I tried going to a more academic-based school for a while, but quickly transferred over.

What’s your favorite part about performing/creating?

I love the feeling of being so into making the work that you lose sense of time and place. You begin to self-reflect and your body just moves on its own as it creates. I also enjoy the problem-solving that comes with digital work because it keeps me sharp and on my feet.

What’s the hardest part for you about performing/creating?

The hardest part is always starting. Once I have a clear vision or idea, I can move at full speed. However, coming up with an idea worth pursuing often takes me time and frustrates me a little. It takes a lot of confrontation that can be hard to enact. It’s also difficult showing so much of yourself to others, but art is all about communication.

Why did you pick this particular summer program/college?

I picked SAIC because originally I wanted to be a fiber artist, and SAIC has one of the most extensive and well known programs for it. Chicago is a city that is large but not as expensive as New York or Los Angeles, so it made sense financially too. I was also drawn to the flexibility in classes you can take since I like dabbling in different fields.

What has been your favorite part of this program/college?

My favorite part about SAIC is seeing other students’ work during critique. First of all, since SAIC is an interdisciplinary school, many of the students in a studio class will actually be fluent in other media. When their past knowledge combines with what is learned in a new medium, a lot of wonderful work comes out. Also, after putting so many hours into my own work, being able to spend a day in the thoughtful presence of each of my classmates’ work is really rewarding. Final critique is my favorite since you’ve come to know the different students more personally and have seen their work progress, so seeing the final result is really exciting.

How do you think this program will help in what you want to do next?

SAIC has helped me understand the art world in many ways. It’s given me the tools to think critically about art making, and has also given me a community of students of color to collaborate with. I’ve come to know of many artists and have a pocket full of references for understanding the past and hopefully beginning to understand the future of art.

Where do you imagine yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I imagine myself either working for a game company or collaborating with a small group of people to make art and indie games on our own. I’d like to work for Nintendo or some other more colorfully oriented company for a while to learn the basics of the workplace, but ultimately indie and art games are the kind of games I want to create and see being played.