When Rachel Weaver debated potential areas to study in college, she never felt safe settling on one pursuit alone. With a background in science, photography, painting, music and writing, Weaver searched for a field that would allow her to utilize all her abilities simultaneously. The unlimited creative potential of emerging digital fields in the fine arts drew Weaver to explore new media forms.
While working on a creative project in East Africa, Weaver realized that she needed to further her digital media education and applied to the Master of Fine Arts digital art program at Indiana University. She began studying at IU in 2009 and graduated in 2012.
“One of the most valuable things I learned as a graduate student at IU was the importance of getting to know my colleagues and mentors, and developing friendships and professional relationships both in and outside of my academic discipline,” explained Weaver.
After working in video production, filmmaking and media art for several years prior and post receiving her MFA, Weaver realized the need for people in the media marketplace with specialized abilities at the intersection of fine art and technology. Her realization led Weaver to become co-owner and co-founder of Thesthetics, a media production company specializing in new experimental multimedia digital art and production in New York City.
“There’s this exciting reality of new and emerging technology, growing access to digital art-making tools, and growing access to technology education,” stated Weaver. “Even artists just beginning to dabble with technology can dream a lot bigger and learn to utilize digital art-making tools much more quickly than before.”
Weaver advises students interested in a career in digital art to focus on building strong foundation in various digital art applications and platforms.
“Even if you know what your one real passion is, you shouldn’t neglect learning the foundations in everything else you possibly can,” explained Weaver.
On a day-to-day basis, Weaver works with a wide range of media software program ranging from 2D and 3D animation software, photo-editing, web development programs and coding for interactivity. She hopes her work will inspire people to think about the landscapes and spaces around them differently and value their own stories and histories.
As questions are spurring the creation of artwork in and outside of the digital realm, Weaver believes that anyone can step into the existing technology-based media modes and develop novel ways of presenting ideas, information, stories or experiences.
“Maybe you can even be one of the thinkers steering that future,” said Weaver. “In that way, I feel like I am half artist, half inventor.”