10 Questions for our alumni
Eleanore Lubbers, BFA, Illustration, 2016
1 - Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?
My sister attended GV, and I had an opportunity to meet some faculty members. They seemed really welcoming and genuine.
2 - How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?
Haha, that’s a long story. In high school my mother insisted I do career counseling because she didn’t want me wasting time in college trying to decide a major. Despite my initial desire to go into medical, all the aptitude tests pointed to art. My counselor seemed hesitant to recommend art, “It could just be a hobby.” Friends and family also expressed doubt. However, I went the art route and never looked back. I have no regrets.
3 - What advice do you have for future students thinking about colleges?
Try to talk to current students in the program you’re interested in and talk to some faculty members. I think people are the most important part of any experience, and they certainly made Grand Valley an excellent experience for me. Also, be realistic about what you can afford. Grand Valley was an affordable college for me, so I wasn’t drowning in student loan debt when I graduated.
4 - What advice do you have for current students thinking about careers?
There are so many more options than what you could ever imagine. If you have passions, no matter how opposing they may seem, that combination gives you an edge. Nurture your passions, talk to people outside your “knowns”, and if anyone says you can’t or you shouldn’t, well, they’re probably wrong. A professor at GV once sat me down and told me about his friend who was passionate about painting. However, his friend couldn’t support his family on his paintings. So he went and got a dull office job, but came home every night and painted. For 10 years. Finally, after a decade of persistence, his paintings started selling in galleries. He became so successful, he was able to quit his “day job.” Basically, art is hard. But if you keep at it, you might actually make it.
5 - What did you do after graduating?
To be honest, I got a little lost. Talk to any recent grad, and they’ll tell you about the post-graduation blues. I spent some time working a temp job & making art on the side.
6 - What are you doing now?
Living the good life! I moved to South Korea and teach English in Seoul. I now can afford to enjoy life, be a part of Seoul’s excellent art scene, make art, and make a decent living. I’m illustrating a children’s book, doing commission work, and enjoying every day.
7 - How have you used the skills you developed in your field of study in your life and/or career after GVSU?
Design and thinking skills are daily things for me. I’m constantly facing new challenges living and working abroad. I’m continuing to grow and change as an artist and a person, but I credit my time at GVSU for shaping me into the change agent I am today.
8 - What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley?
The best advice? That’s a toughie. Basically anything from Ed Wong-Ligda. The man was a legend through and through. Every class was chuck full of anecdotes and life advice and sass. He told us the artist who wins is the one who never quits making. And he told us that we’d never “arrive” as artists. The day we arrived was the day we should quit, because that means you’ve spent yourself creatively and have nothing left to learn or make. Basically, it’s good to be dissatisfied with your work.
9 - What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?
The people. Ed Wong-Ligda, Renee Zettle-Sterling, and Jim Visser, to name a few. The community, the classmates, the professors, the adjuncts. I met the finest people at GVSU and learned some solid lessons in and outside of the classroom. I was also a resident assistant while earning my art degree, and that in itself was such an amazing learning opportunity.
10 - Anything else you would like to share with our Visual and Media Arts Community?
Do absolutely everything you can while you’re there. University is such an amazing opportunity. Connect with people. A good friend I made in the art department once told me, “College is a giant networking opportunity.”
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