By Jennifer Ives
On Feb. 21, the Simmons Art and Music Department hosted a networking opportunity for art students right in the heart of the Trustman Art Gallery. Gathering four former Simmons students that went pursued creative careers in different fields, students enjoyed intimate roundtable discussions, circulating every so often at the direction of a moderating faculty member.
Guest speaker Natasha Moustache focused her remarks on the realities and joys of working as a freelance photographer. The first non-southern photographer to ever been invited to shoot the Country Music Awards, Moustache developed a strong clientele base while working exclusively on location shooting famous individuals such as Usain Bolt and Mario Batali. Speaking passionately about the difficulties of getting started as a freelance photographer, Moustache spoke at length about the importance of being a good person to work with, as well as being good at what you do.
“The key to freelance and how to get people to call you back is not only how good your work is, but also how good you are to work with,” Moustache said. “Know your worth, know your commensurate rates, but if you speak to people like you know what you’re doing and what they do they’ll respect that.”
One of Moustache’s peers, Roz Stever, who attended Simmons at the same time, pursued a career in the creative field. Stever worked as a manager of the Museum of Fine Arts Bookstore for many years before returning to Simmons in 2012 to earn her MA to pursue teaching middle school English and literature. Stever spoke extensively about her experience here at Simmons eventually had on her creative journey.
“I didn’t realize until I was reflecting several years later just how much of my sense of self was fostered here,” Stever said.
Morgan Grenier graduated in 2014 from Simmons before promptly co-founding a screenprinting collective called Trifecta Editions. Working closely with artists from a range of styles, from oil paintings to graffiti, Grenier and her partner help handmake limited edition silk screenings of popular pieces as well as other products that artists can sell to engage their audiences.
“We bridge the gap between artists who deserve to be monetarily compensated in order to support that economy, and their audience who wants to buy or own their work but can’t necessarily afford it,” Grenier said.
Grenier also works as a hardship data analyst for a firm in Boston, describing the situation as “my passion job is Trifecta, and my paycheck job is a data analyst” with her eventual goal being her passion job becoming her paycheck job. However, she emphasized the importance of having a paycheck job that was important to you.
“Find multiple things you’re passionate about, and don’t spread yourself thin, but be a blanket over the things you love,” Grenier said.
Also in attendance was Sarah Cormier, the director of the Clark Fund at Clark University, who spoke at length about her career in arts funding and its importance in the creative economy.
The speakers’ audience remained engaged throughout the two-hour reception and roundtable, munching on chicken satay and petits fours between questions and comments.
One student commented on the value of having alumnae return to Simmons and share their life experiences and business acumen, stating that “I thought it was really cool to talk to Morgan about how she started her own business, because that is something a friend of mine and I have talked about doing after school, so it was great to get her insight on that.”