Zoe Tomasello: Studio Art major

Where are you from?

I’m from El Granada, it’s a city a little south of San Fransisco.

Besides your art major do you have any other majors or minors?

I’m a Classical Archeology major as well.

Is that within the Classics department?

Yeah, well my major is Classics with a concentration in archaeology and a focus in museum studies. Something with those three things combined.

Besides being in the Classics department, is there anything else you’re involved with on campus?

I work in the art gallery, but that’s about it.

For the museum studies concentration do you get practice in actual museum work?

Well there’s actually going to be hopefully a museum studies course next semester. Some classics professors, some art history professors, history and anthropology professors are getting together and trying to come up with a course. But with this it was more theoretical, with the classics major, especially classical archaeology, you’re supposed to have some kind of research or field experience and that could be doing an actual dig or working in a museum. And when I was studying abroad I took a museology class as well and some art conservation classes, so it was just whatever I could get really that was semi-related to museums.

Where did you study abroad?

It’s called SACI, Studio Arts Center International. It’s in Florence, Italy. It’s really small, it’s 100 people, all of them Americans, right in the heart of Florence. It’s a small place but it was nice.

I’ve gotten a lot of flack for asking this question, but do you have any favorite artists that you draw inspiration from or that you just really like?

That’s a really hard question because there’s more classic artists and there’s contemporary artists and it’s super difficult. I really like Egon Schiele, he has one piece at the MIA. He did stuff before World War One; he’s super cool. I’m also into Sophie Calle and Christian Boltanski. Sophie Calle is just kind of crazy, she doesn’t really make art really, but she kind of watches people and then takes pictures. One of her things that she did was she posted an ad asking for individual people or couples to come sleep in her bed and she would just watch them and she took pictures of them. She also one time hired a private investigator to follow her. And at the end she got all these pictures of herself. And Christian Boltanski does a lot of memorials which are really interesting.

Branching off that question, when did you first become interested in art?

I’ve been drawing forever. In middle school I heard about this arts school in San Francisco and decided that I was going to make my portfolio and apply. And then I got in. So I guess since then it’s sort of been more prominent in my life. At least two hours a day we had art classes. It was a really cool experience, not your typical high school experience, which I’m very thankful for.

So when did you decide to be an art major?

I actually came to Macalester thinking that I didn’t want to do art because I was just tired of it. But I took a couple of art classes and realized that I was taking one art class a semester to balance my other courses. And I think junior year in the fall, before for studying abroad, I was just like, I might as well get the major since I’ve done so much already. But it certainly wasn’t in my plan.

Moving backwards, why did you decide to come to Macalester?

I had originally thought that I had wanted to go to school in a rural area and so all the schools I applied to were in rural areas except for Macalester. And after I submitted everything I realized I wanted to be in a city. So Macalester was the only school in a city. And I got lots of good financial aid, so that just made my decision for me.

Could you talk about what you will be doing for your seminar project? Or what ideas you’ll be working with?

I’m working with the idea of memory. I’m making this sculptural assemblage of nest-like shapes, that grow out of each other. I’m making them out of chicken wire and wrapping them in fabric. I’m talking about hoarding as well—my grandmother was a hoarder and I see it in myself and how I have hoarder tendencies. It’s a therapeutic exercise for me to examine my habits.

How do you view your role as an art student in relation to campus, or the Twin Cities or just the communities you are a part of?

I love museums and art galleries and love that world, but here I just feel at home in the art department. I’m really upset we don’t have a central place to all gather anymore. It’s kind of upsetting to be a senior and not have that community as much. But another reason I became a major is because I found myself spending a lot of my time in that building, not even working on stuff for class. It’s a good space.

How do you see art taking a role in your life in the future?

I am moving to New York in August and I have a couple of internships sort of lined up, one in an art gallery and one at a curatorial organization. So I’m trying to see what exactly I want to do. I want my job to be in the art field. I don’t want to be making art, but I want to be surrounded by artists and communicating with artists. So whether that brings me to a museum or some nonprofit or an art gallery, I don’t know. That general direction. I love administration and organizing things. It’s tough, there’s so much I could do, I just need to see everything that’s out there before I make a decision.