Janie Arguedas in her studio
Janie Arguedas in her studio

NEXT: How did you find MCAD and the entrepreneurial studies (ES) program?

Janie Arguedas: After testing the waters at several other art schools and feeling unfulfilled, I decided to reroute. I looked at MCAD and I didn’t even know that they had an entrepreneurial studies program. I wanted job security and MCAD was also cost- and time-effective because they would take my BFA credits.

Are your art and your work in ES classes intertwined?

Very much. You’re able to take an assignment and incorporate it in the way that is representative of your creative process, whether that’s making a poster, a painting, or an installation. It allows me to express myself in ways that are difficult to do in words. I’m also very passionate about sustainability, so I’m able to do that, practice my art, and still have practical real-world experiences with clients.

Janie Arguedas

Janie Arguedas

Janie Arguedas, Worth the Weight, 2016, hand-deconstructed fabric and forged steel

Can you talk about your art practice?

I explored the idea of how we cast ourselves in clothing every day and our relationship with materialistic consumption and our identities. I started altering clothing by pulling apart the fibers until it was at its most basic state. I knew this was something that I’d be working with for a while and I’m still motivated by it because it’s an abstract concept that can be applied to many things, such as the idea of the fabric of our society. I want to work with social sustainability and my passion for shredded fabric motivates because I’m interested in the human condition, which is a very complex web, and shredded fabric is a visual representation of that.

Tell us more about your passion for sustainability.

I’m half-Costa Rican with family and property in Monteverde. I wanted to connect to those roots because I grew up here, so last summer I studied through two programs in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and Atenas, Costa Rica, and focused on social sustainability. I did an installation with my shredded fabric in an abandoned warehouse in Panama and was able to communicate my ideas more clearly about my own artistic practice.

What are your post-graduation goals and dreams?

I’m planning on writing grants and working in activism or community art programs. I’m considering graduate school or teaching. Long-term, having my own business in Costa Rica on my family’s land. I did an independent study and developed a plan for a zero-waste permaculture community consisting of different social groups. This is something I’m working to move forward. The ES program has helped me be more confident and directed in my career path.

Janie Arguedas

Janie Arguedas, Alternatives, 2017, hand-deconstructed fabric and acrylic on wood panel


This story originally appears in NEXT, the magazine of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.