CJ Fore '12
Freelance Scenic Artist
Briefly describe your current job responsibilities.
As a freelance scenic artist I work independently for theatres, production companies, and other independent contractors using and creating painting techniques to produce a desired work.
While a student at BW, what experiences outside the classroom did you participate in?
I held a scenic artist position in the scene shop during my 4 years at BW. I was involved in USITT, TAP, and Art Attack student organizations and was occasionally involved in SDLC Arts House events. I co-produced the 24 Hour Theatre Project with Professor Jeff Herrmann for 2 years. I staged managed 2 productions, costume designed a one act play, and designed the scenery for Hamlet in 2012. I also had a scenic art internship with Great Lakes Theatre in the spring of 2011 and 2012.
Who was your faculty mentor in the department and how did this professor help you while you were a student and afterwards?
Jeff Herrmann was my advisor, one of my supervisors in the BW Scene Shop, and is still one of my mentors. As my advisor, Jeff helped me plan my course schedules so that I could graduate on time, still have time to work in the shop, take internships, do design work, plan events I was in charge of, and I guess sometimes do homework. As a supervisor he taught me scenic painting techniques, gave me appropriate constructive criticism, and brought in guest artists for me to work with and learn from. As a mentor, Jeff makes himself available to me to discuss anything from ‘How’s your life?’ to ‘You need to get it together.’ He is always honest with me, even if it’s something I don’t want to hear, which I have always appreciated. I am still in contact with Jeff and we try to connect whenever we’re in the same city. He’s a pretty swell dude to have around.
What makes the BWU Theatre and Dance department special?
The faculty and staff make this department. They are personable, fun, and talented. They maintain high standards in the quality of work produced by the students of BW, letting us learn by ourselves, but stepping in when necessary. They remain open to change to improve the growth of the department and its students. The new curriculum is a result of their constant endeavor for progression.
What advice would you give to a prospective student interested in theatre or dance?
Take your time and decide if it is really what you are passionate about, if it is really what you want. Theatre is actually work. It’s not just a club. If you absolutely want it and, most importantly, are willing to work for it, then you can do it. You must be able to work well with people. Theatre is completely collaborative. You must keep communication open between all parties and you need to know how to communicate well with each other. You need to be able to articulate your wants and needs as a theatre artisan as well as accommodate for others’ wants and needs. This is something you learn how to do over time, so don’t freak out. Absolutely never be afraid to fail. It’s going to happen. And at some point you will probably be happy it did. I think I’ve learned more through my failures than I have through my successes. Especially don’t be afraid to fail while still in college. College is THE best place to take risks. You’re safe in college. It’s where you’re supposed to fail, because it is understood that you are learning. So learn.
How did BW prepare you for graduate school/employment?
Even though I had a Scenic Art/Design focus while at BW, I was still encouraged to and got involved in as much as I could handle. I kept myself well rounded and experimented in other fields i.e. stage management, costume designing, etc. Understanding what each department does is important because it makes you aware and considerate of each other’s work, and helps you communicate and collaborate, which is highly appreciated and essential in the professional world.