My Lost Coordination Took Me to a Source of Nostalgic Inspiration

One community, different coordinates

I have moved around many times this school year, and that makes me recognize the differences in the environment I surround myself with. No matter if it's different states or different countries, there are still similarities between the locations I have been to. My hometown is in Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam, and I notice that both Ho Chi Minh and Minneapolis are very rich in culture, art, and culinary! Where Ho Chi Minh City is like the summers of my childhood where I get to hang out with my family; Minneapolis is the youthful spring I get to explore with my friends through endless adventures.  

With these thoughts in mind, I set out to ask a few other MCAD students how they feel about their hometown in comparison with Minneapolis. Many students describe Minneapolis to be very open-minded and free since there's so much to explore in comparison to the hometown they've grown up from. These students also view Minneapolis as a place that values art and is enriched with diverse cultural aspects.

Duncan Richardson, originally from Rockford, Illinois, says: “The people in my experience from both towns are incredibly invested in the arts—from live music to murals, and community engagement through art lessons offered to the public.” He also shares that in comparison to Rockford, Minneapolis seems to be more open-minded and creative. With the same idea in mind, Madalyn Emerson, from Almelund, Minnesota, expresses that her town was so small she can't meet anyone new since there aren't many newcomers. On the other hand, there are way more people in Minneapolis that she could talk to and get to know.

A breeze of inspiration 


I have always been interested in bringing Vietnam, the core of who I am, into my art career. Last semester, my professor for Ideation and Process, Piotr Szyhalski, introduced the class to a project called the Pilgrimage. The project asked everyone to revisit a place that can heal them, collected something from that place, then incorporated that object or idea with a theme. I was 8,334 miles away from Vietnam, so I decided to work on the project using Google Maps. I collected screenshots of the place I have been to in Vietnam, printed them out, made a collage of them, then traced over the collage to connect the places together. This was a very healing and nostalgic process for me so I was curious if MCAD students also have the same experiences of using their hometown or Minneapolis as a muse for their art projects. Turns out, I was not alone!


Kai Haag, an illustration student, shares that they were inspired by the protests and the conversations they had with Minneapolis locals who were directly affected by the events that took place in their neighborhoods over the summer. Even though there are no photos of the project they have done during the summer, they shared this beautiful illustration of Dogwood Coffee.Duncan_!450

Duncan was part of a summer art program called Arts Place that allowed apprentices to gain the first-hand experience in how to market, think critically, and have a deeper understanding of their own artwork. One summer, the apprentices were tasked with painting a 50 by 18 foot mural under a city bridge. The work was divided amongst seven apprentices and one known muralist in the Chicago land area. They submitted seven ideas to the city for approval and the city chose their favorite. Everyone had a week to complete the entire mural. “The mural is currently still part of the Jefferson Street Bridge, in Rockford, Illinois,” Duncan shares. The colorful mural catches my attention immediately so I'll have to look out for it if I ever happen to visit Rockford!Ashlynn_1450

Ashlynn Micoliczyk, an aspiring entrepreneurial studies student from Wisconsin, shares the piece she made for her final project in drawing class: an atmospheric open-ended road near her hometown. I can't take my eyes off the mesmerizing landscape she created.

Nostalgia, when reality and dream merge together

Due to the sudden pandemic, many students lost one year of experiencing the on-campus life at MCAD. I was lucky enough to be able to explore MCAD during my freshman year before we all left in March, but many of this year’s first years missed out on that opportunity. In response to that, I asked students what will they be doing if they are back on campus for the Fall 2021 Semester. Here’s what they had to say: 

“Probably grab me a cup of coffee and sit on the Morrison steps with my sketchpad.” -Kai Haag

“If I would be returning to campus after graduation, I'd want to participate in a movie club or something like that. I love watching movies with people.” -Duncan Richardson

“Probably cry of happiness and order Dominos and get bubble tea, my town is out of range for delivery and the nearest bubble tea place is an hour away. (I miss Sencha so much)” -Madalyn Emerson


The students that participated in this feature were kind enough to provide me with a photo of the environment they were in along with the time as they filled out the forms. I tried to create a collage out of the photos, turning it into something like an old photograph. Hopefully, we can one day look at this photo and remind ourselves of this time when everyone was far away from each other despite being in the same community.

With the release of the COVID-19 vaccine and a recent announcement of returning to in-person learning for the Fall 2021 Semester, we will soon be together again at MCAD!