Daiga Kravale: Studio Art Major

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Daiga Kravale in her alter-ego self-portrait assignment for her photography class. Photo by June Ban ’14.

Daiga Kravale in her alter-ego self-portrait assignment for her photography class. Photo by June Ban ’14.
Daiga Kravale in her alter-ego self-portrait assignment for her photography class. Photo by June Ban ’14.

Every week, The Mac Weekly interviews one senior majoring in an artistic field at Macalester. This week, we spoke with Daiga Kravale, a Studio Art major.

Where are you originally from?

I’m from Latvia, from a really small town—it’s called Plavinas. You probably won’t know how to spell that! It literally means “meadows” because there is nothing else. There’s just meadows and forests and like two supermarkets.

Do you have any other majors besides Studio Art?

I have an Econ minor and an International Development concentration.

How else are you involved on campus?

I’m on the track team. I run sprints; I lift weights. I probably have the biggest biceps in the Art department.

How has your place of origin and your culture influenced your art?

I think coming here made me really observe things. I’ve been kind of sitting back and people-watching, and just doing a lot of comparing. I guess that might have influenced what I do in art. I think since I’ve been here, I really focused on like trying to understand the American culture more. So, I just did this one piece for ceramics where I made a claypot as a response to Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.”

Really? What does that look like?

It’s kind of big. It’s around this big (gestures with hands). For handles it has legs spread open. [And] it has the lyrics on it!

Out of all of the works that you have done, which one are you the most proud of?

Well this one’s definitely one of my favorite and I just did it this term. I also did a little stop motion movie for my drawing class. It was kind of talking about transitions —changes that everyone goes through, and how it can be painful and how we grow from that. That was also one of my favorites here.

Why do you think students at Macalester should value art, and specifically visual art?

Well to me, art is just a happy place. I believe people could probably find that happiness in art as well if they tried. I think also to me, art is something it helps you find who you actually are. So, Macalester students, to me, sometimes seem like they’re just trying to do things they don’t really want to do, but it’s something their family is telling them to do. I think art is kind of really personal and something where you follow your heart.

How did you get involved in art?

Well that’s kind of my story as well. I started off as a Bio major, then I was going to do Econ. And eventually, I figured that if I didn’t follow my heart now, I would end up doing it later anyways. So I was like, ‘okay, whatever. I’ll just do art now!’ It’s something I really enjoy doing and I’m pretty successful doing it. But I’ve always liked art; when I was a kid I would draw and paint and do crafts.

Since you do run Track & Field, how have you managed to find a balance between arts and athletics?

I really like that balance. Because art and really any classes I take — well not art classes, but let’s say Econ classes I take — there is just so much intellectual stuff going on that sometimes I get frustrated with that. And then going on a track, and just physically running is the best thing in the world—because sometimes I just feel like I’m going to slap some people. I just have all this anger! There’s just so much talking and not so much doing here. So putting my energy on track is really great.

What’s your favorite medium to work with?

I definitely like to combine things. I never thought I would like ceramics, but this term I’ve really learned to like it. And I do like doing stuff with the computer as well as making stop motions, because I like to include things like music—and just all these effects that make a piece so much stronger, I think.

Why did you choose Macalester?

I was in high school in Italy and a lot of kids from there were coming here. I didn’t put that much thought into it at all. I googled Macalester a couple of times. I was just like, ‘fine, I’ll apply!’ Because I wanted to go to America; that’s all I knew. Obviously I thought America was, you know, California and New York combined. And then I ended up here! (laughs)

Do you like Minnesota at least?

It’s beautiful. It is beautiful. It’s just a little different from what I expected because I had no idea what I was signing up for. I didn’t think college was such a big deal at all. Then I came here and I realized, ‘Oops! I’m into something serious!’

Have you gotten a chance to visit New York and California?

Yes! I have actually. I want to live in both of the places…at the same time!

What’s been your best moment at Macalester?

Well if we try to relate this to art, it’s definitely my favorite class I took, [which] was 2D Design with Gudrun Lock. And it was the coolest class I’ve ever taken here. And this one day we just went outside, as a class, and we randomly jumped into this random guy’s pick-up truck, as a class, and just went for a ride. And then he ran out of gas so we had to push him, as a class, to the SuperAmerica, to get [gas]. It was, I don’t know, just so unique and fun, and that happened in college. I thought it was really amazing.

What do you plan to do after you leave Macalester?

Well, I’m just kind of still trying to figure out who I am and what I’m trying to do. Probably I will go back to Europe for a while, ‘cause that feels still more like home. I’ll start from there—I’ll take over Europe and I’ll come back for America!

Sounds good! To finish off, do you have any catch phrases, mantras, jokes?

I’ll totally do [have one from] Miley Cyrus, this is also what I put on the pot. It says, “Remember only God can judge us. Forget the haters ‘cause somebody loves ya.”