Every week, The Mac Weekly sits down with a senior majoring in art. This week, we caught up with Hao Guo, who hails from Beijing, China. We talked studying art in Paris, singing in Scotch Tape and getting involved with the Twin Cities arts community.
What kinds of art do you do? Mostly photography, but a bit of everything. At Macalester we have to take certain classes in 2D art, 3D art, drawing, etc. But I’ve been taking a lot of photography classes recently.
How did you first get interested in art? I guess I’ve always been interested in art. When I was young, my mom really wanted to be an architect, there were a lot of art books at home that I used to look at. I actually came to Mac wanting to be a psych major. But my first year course was painting and I really enjoyed it. That’s what got me into art as a major.
How are you involved in art at Mac and in the Twin Cities? At Mac, not so much. But I have an internship right now with as an assistant to a photographer in Minneapolis. Before, I also interned at a glass studio in Minneapolis. I’m also taking photography classes off-campus.
Did you study abroad? Yes, I spent my junior year in Paris, studying art history and photography. It was different from studying art at Mac, mostly because of the city. Paris has so much going on artistically and culturally all the time. I definitely enjoyed that a lot. I just had so many opportunities having photography classes, and meeting photographers and artists in general. It definitely changed me a lot as an artist and as a person.
What are your interests and hobbies besides art? I sing a lot. I’m in the Macalester Concert Choir and in Scotch Tape, which is an acapella group. I go to exhibitions and shows a lot.
What are your thoughts for the future? In the near future, I’m planning to work for at least a year before deciding if I want to go to grad school. But eventually I want to become a freelance photographer for documentary photography. I also would like to move to a bigger city.
What are some of your fondest memories at Mac? The sense of community, definitely. Scotch Tape is like a family to me, along with the choir. I enjoy singing with them every week. And also Macward Bound. I did it my first year and I led a kayaking group as a sophomore. That week before school starts was definitely an important memory for my college life.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about majoring in studio art? Be bold and willing to explore. Everything is connected within art, so don’t limit yourself to one medium or one domain. Explore the possibilities within art and the arts. Also, take classes off campus. It’s a good opportunities to meet new people and learn things not available at Mac.
Would you change anything about the art program at Mac? I would want more classes, but I also value the community we have now. The two seem to be mutually exclusive, so…
Why do you think art is important or relevant today? That’s a hard question. To me, I think what I do is not completely within the realm of art. Thanks to my Macalester education, my goal as a photographer/artist is to give a voice to those who don’t have one, and photography is just one of many means to achieve that. It is art, but it is also journalism, sociology, activism, and so on. It is just one of the many routes people can take to achieve whatever goal they have.