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Perfect Imperfections: VADA and Comp Sci senior Priyanka Jain

Photo credit: Xinyu Chen

By Sunny Liu     10/31/18 12:09am

The walls of Priyanka Jain’s studio flow with pink and purple. From a distance, her in-progress piece looks like an ocean wave made of tiny trapezoids. Up close, you’ll find that each trapezoid is slightly different from the one next to it. Jain, a Will Rice College senior studying computer science and visual and dramatic arts, says these slight imperfections are exactly what she is going for.

“My computer science major has influenced the way I think. I’m taking an artificial intelligence class, and we’re seeing how so many things can be created by machinery or via a computer,” Jain said. “What is the benefit of humans doing the same thing? Humans can’t be more perfect, but an error can [be] more interesting in the same types of work.”

According to Jain, she draws inspiration from minimalist artist Donald Judd for most of her recent work. However, she said her art typically varies in style and medium piece to piece, depending on her interests.

“I feel like I’ve changed very much this year in terms of what I’ve been working with,” Jain said. “I previously liked working with charcoal because it’s so forgiving. I’m enjoying working with wood right now because the precision you can get is pretty incredible. The lines are just so clean and it’s really quick to work with.”

Jain’s current piece is made primarily from wood. Unfinished, the piece sits on the ground as 72 individual shapes made from wood, as well as wax and cardboard. Ideally, Jain said, there will be 250 to 300 shapes in total.

“I’m obsessed with the idea of repetition. I’m also into the idea of making something that seems really precise, but [actually has] a few errors,” Jain said. “What’s eventually going to happen is that there is going to be a sea [of shapes] and you’ll be surrounded by them, [showing] an obsessive aspect of the piece. I want people to notice the outliers and imperfections and get attached to them. At the same time, I want people to feel that it’s mass produced.”

After graduation, Jain will be working in product management. She says she looks forward to combining the skills she has gained in both computer science and studio and applying them to her career.

“[Product management] is not strictly a computer science role — there are more aspects [than] that,” Jain said. “I think it requires a decent amount of creative thinking that I’ve developed as a studio major. [VADA] has taught me a lot about thinking on my feet and making things work. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and one big thing that it’s taught me is that art and life are not perfect things. You have to go with it and make it work.”

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