Ben Severns
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BFA in Fine Arts Studio
2011
Freelance Designer

What do you currently do for a living?

I balance a lot of different things, but right now I am a project manager, barista, freelance designer, and teaching artist. I teach currently at Minneapolis Public Schools as a Community Education teacher. I hold classes at four to five middle schools per semester, usually teaching video game design, but am expanding to begin work with stop-motion animation, basic filmmaking, and photography. I have previously assisted at the Maine College of Art, and taught at the FAIR School, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME) and as an adjunct faculty member at MCAD.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

I love showing my students that they don't have to settle for what has been handed to them and helping them to discover new ways of being prepared for the task of not settling.

Have you always known what you wanted to do professionally or has your path changed over time?

It's changed a fair bit over time, but it has been more of a refinement of what I meant when I said, "I want[ed] to do 'X.'" As I have gone on, I have found avenues that engage more than just a few of my talents and interests.

Where was your favorite place on or near campus while you were a student?

Phó 79 was my favorite spot for a quick (huge) bite. Caffetto had the best coffee.

How did MCAD best prepare you for life after the end of your program?

MCAD taught me to adapt. It taught me how to take lemons and make wildberry iced tea. 

Best thing you ever got from MCAD’s free shelf?

An AV relay that would split one input into six different outputs. Or a Videonics MX-1 Video Mixer. Both of them, really.

How do you find inspiration when you are feeling stuck?

I read. I'm constantly reading every periodical, book, essay, etc. that I can get my hands on. I also work in my sketchbooks, either current or old ones.

What advice do you have for current or prospective art and design students?

Stay low, keep moving.
Or, always expect to somehow use whatever class you are in for your life in the future. Take as many classes that are tangentially related to your focus as you can.

Current obsession?

I've been anxiously awaiting Refused's new album and listening to Converge's Axe to Fall a whole lot in the studio lately.

What else should we know about you?

I have two kittens. Bottle Rocket and his sister Black Beard.

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