November’s Woman of the Month is artist and lecturer in the Eskenazi School of Art, Arch. + Design, Laura Post!
Academic level acquired (I.E. college attended, degree earned): MFA (Master of Fine Arts—the terminal degree for art)
What is your position here at IU? Lecturer for Creative Core in the School of Art, Arch + Design
What kind of career exploration have you done to figure out more about yourself and how you want(ed) to work in the world? After earning a BA, I worked for 5 years as an administrator, primarily in the arts industry. This included internships at non-profit art centers, sales positions at commercial galleries focused on Chinese art (my other major), and then working in non-profit art organizations.
What influenced you to choose your field? I wanted to teach because it is highly compatible with creating art and allows me to engage with new generations of makers. I always sought jobs that challenged me and would be different each day. It was important for me to work in other parts of the art world to help me clarify that I wanted to make art and teach. I also loved working in non-profit arts organizations.
Were there any resources in your collegiate years to help guide you? I had several important and lasting mentors, who still support me today though in my role as artist and teacher, rather than in my role as student. They encouraged me to pursue my vision.
What have you experienced as a woman in the working world, that you perceived as being related to your gender identity? How did you navigate that? For the most part, my experiences have been positive. The commercial art world is filled with a lot of inappropriate/bad behavior. I was a “gallerina” or “gallery girl,” even though I was hired because I spoke Chinese and could sell art. It was not the lifestyle for me so I moved on pretty quickly and do not regret it. I have a different perspective of that world than I would have if I had not worked in it.
What’s something you do in your spare time that supplements your career growth or your personal growth as an individual? Read! Cook! Go hiking. I spend a lot of my “spare time” working on artwork, which just takes a lot of time. I really enjoy cooking and reading. I am also organizing the annual conference for a papermaking organization which is something that supports my career growth.
Any advice for collegiate women currently working to achieve their goals? It may sound crazy, but whatever you want to do, do it. Have a clear vision, even if it changes over time. Think in both the longer term and shorter term about the steps you might need to get there. Keep that in your mind, then be flexible/adaptable about that path that will take you there. If the exact “right” opportunity does not come your way immediately, do not fixate because you can learn so much from any experience that can be applied to the next phase. Even a terrible job can give you insight into what you really want (or at least some stories for when it is far behind you). I try to be open and almost naïve or fearless (I’m never sure which it is) in my willingness to reach out to people to ask advice. I have had so much support from people who I cold called or emailed.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started working after college? It is easier to weave your life into a linear narrative when you look back on it than when you are in it. I am 10 years out of college and when I explain my path, it seems very logical. In the moment, you have no idea how one thing will lead to the next thing, but just keep that vision in your mind (even if it changes).
To see Laura’s work visit LRPstudio.com or LauraRPost.com
*Interview conducted by IUB Women Rising Ambassadors, Vanessa Bozzo and Renee Palmerone. The views and opinions conveyed in the interview answers are those of the interviewee and may or may not align with IUB Women Rising and the IU Career Development Center or the Trustees of Indiana University.