Pilar Nadal MFA ’13

MECA is a small school and you can really find a place for yourself. One of the best aspects is the opportunity to meet fellow classmates and form a wide network of other artists – my classmates in the MFA program lived in Brazil, Canada, South Dakota, New York, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kansas.

Canandaigua is the Seneca word for “the chosen spot.” Pilar Nadal left Canandaigua, her hometown in Upstate New York, for her chosen spot: MECA. During her first visit, she was immediately drawn to both the program and the community. “I was really impressed with the facilities and the idea that everything was in one building for the undergraduates and that it was such a small and supportive community. I also chose MECA because I knew I wanted to do printmaking and wanted the flexibility to deviate from that, to experiment and to let the idea take me into the media, rather than using the media as a starting point.”

Pilar has been pleased with her choice as she has not had to wait until after graduation to measure the value of her degree, “At MECA, I didn’t feel like I was living in some kind of grad school bubble, and that the real world would start up again in May, when I graduated. I was already almost there as a working artist; that’s what I am and will be.”

Pilar has built a strong professional network and is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Foundation at MECA. “MECA is a small school and you can really find a place for yourself. One of the best aspects is the opportunity to meet fellow classmates and form a wide network of other artists – my current classmates live in Brazil, Canada, South Dakota, New York, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kansas. Our group is really tight, so we stay in touch pretty often.”

The many projects Pilar  explored as an MFA student at MECA include the Tired Press, a bicycle retrofitted with the components of a mobile print shop, which she takes out into the city during the monthly First Friday Art Walk. The idea came from an Artists at Work elective taught by Daniel Fuller, the Director of MECA’s Institute of Contemporary Art. “I like bicycles, postcards, printmaking and talking to people,” Pilar noted. “I spent two semesters building the bike and researching similar contemporary printmakers’ projects, such as Drive by Press print collective, and the Moveable Type truck. This idea of creative entrepreneurship was appealing to me.”

The freedom to explore and question are two facets of the program that Pilar finds particulary valuable. “One thing grad school has taught me is how to ask questions about my own work as well as other people’s.” Pilar plans on staying in Portland to teach, to create, and to continue to develop her freelance print and design studio. She recently took over the Pickwick Press in the Artist’s Studio Building adjacent to MECA. “I love it here,” she says. “I’m excited to see what the world beyond MECA brings.”