This blog was created to share with as many people as possible the work that I may be doing at any given moment. Somehow I find that many of my friends are scattered all over the world, and certainly all over the States, so this seemed like a great way to allow those that are interested in what I’m doing to stay up to date. Dialogue with other people has always been really important to me in whatever I’m working on, and even just in daily life, so hopefully this will facilitate that dialogue regardless of where my physical proximity to some of you may be.
So a little bit about myself for those of you who may not know, since I tend to be influenced by absolutely everything I see and do and learn about along the way, and all the people I meet and talk to. I was born in Aurora, Colorado, one of the many suburbs of Denver to Alan and Namsook Armstrong. My dad was one of those hippies who joined the Peace Corps after college and traveled to Korea in the 70s to teach English. That’s where he met my mom and eventually married her and brought her back to the States, then they had me! After 2 years in CO, they moved to Austin, Texas with me so my dad could get his masters degree in Library Sciences. After 2 years there, we moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, home of the Virginia Tech Hokies, where I grew up. Initially, both of my parents worked for the University–my dad as a reference librarian (which explains my weak spot for books of any kind), my mom as a bookkeeper for the Psychology Department while she worked on her masters degree in Accounting Information Systems. Once she was done with that degree, she actually got a job as a computer programmer and has been doing that ever since.
When it was finally my turn to go to college, I debated a lot about whether or not to jump right into an art school or go to a liberal arts school first. I’d always had the problem of being interested in absolutely everything under the sun and so was hesitant to limit myself to just art right away. I went to the College of William and Mary for 2 years and academically had a blast. Since I wasn’t particularly dedicated to staying there, I took whatever classes I thought sounded interesting, ignored all of my major and general education requirements and just had fun learning about all kinds of random subjects. Everything from Japanese Buddhism to Backpacking to Feminist Theater to Psychology and Sociology to Northern Renaissance Art History and of course various art classes like Figure Modeling and Painting and lots of music (Music Composition, Contemporary Music Ensemble, W&M Symphony Orchestra, etc. etc.). At the end of the 2 years, I had completed all of the Freshman Foundations equivalents for RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) plus all of their liberal arts requirements. I also thought about staying at William and Mary and pursuing something related to Biology or going to UVA to study architecture. In the end, I decided I needed to finally just take the plunge and go to art school–plus with Brown right next door, I knew I’d make it a priority to take classes there whenever possible. Brown was a great resource for music, environmental studies and korean (and engineering for my design work) and even a tour of China with the Brown University Orchestra so can’t complain about that!
Oh RISD, such a love hate relationship! Who knew that art school would be quite so insane! You go to an academically high powered liberal arts school and you think you work really hard… Then you go to an art school and realize that was just scraping the surface. And then you graduate, start working and trying to do art on the side and it only gets crazier! But to be surrounded by some of the most talented people around was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I can say with complete honesty that my time there changed everything about who I am–how I work, what I’m interested in, the kind of people I want to share my life with, what I value and so much more. So many of us came out equipped with tools to change the world if we want to and some of us have made a good start down that path! Sounds silly and idealistic, but I truly believe that RISD has done that for us. And of course we all had our daily frustrations with RISD, but overall, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
So a year of architecture, then another transfer but this time only of departments into Industrial Design. Finally, six years after starting school, I graduated, moved to Boston and began work as a professional designer. Currently, I work for Exhibitgroup/Giltspur in Avon, MA designing booths for trade shows. I also work for the Harvard Office for the Arts Cermics Program as an Assistant to the Director and am a visiting critic for my friends that teach at the BAC in Boston. So long story short, come back to this blog as often as you like to find out what’s going on. I’ll try to update with some regularity and let you know thoughts, new ideas, potential projects, current work and anything else that seems exciting. So enjoy and feel free to contact me any time! This is about continuing a dialogue afterall…
Oh yeah, and for those of you that have been wondering where the title Ms Arms comes from, it used to be my e-mail address when I was at William and Mary. The formula there was first initial first name, first initial middle name, first four of your last name, thus m-s-arms. Sweet, eh?