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Before and After SVA: Dana Davenport on Creative Focus, Exploring Gender and More

We recently caught up with Dana Davenport, who graduated from SVA in 2015 with a BFA in Photography. She talked about creating socially charged work, balancing her work life and art life, what attracted her to New York City and more.

Where are you working now, and how did you get the job?

I’m currently working at Self Magazine. I saw the listing online, applied and reached out to an old co-worker who currently works there for a recommendation.

Did your interests change from when you applied to SVA to when you graduated?

I bounced around a bit. My creative focus definitely shifted throughout school. At first I wanted to work in publications and make commercial work. My creative focus has changed, where I’m now more interested in creating socially charged work that deals with identity, gender and power dynamics. I wanted to work in publications when I first got to SVA so I started interning at magazines such as Lucky, Maxim, Men’s Fitness, Interior Design, etc. Because of that I was able to land my first job at Lucky magazine. My work life and art life are totally split, which I’m okay with for now.

What’s been the biggest adjustment to the work world?

Finding the time, resources and motivation to continue making my personal work. Without critique classes every week it can be difficult to get consistent feedback.

Why did you want to attend college in NYC?

You’re exposed to so much living in NYC, especially right after high school. From professional opportunities, to having to be independent, to easy access to art everywhere.

Which instructors made the biggest impression on you?

Joseph Maida and Barrie Karp.

Do you have a favorite experience that you can share?

Living in New Residence freshmen year. I met a lot of my best friends there.

Any advice for incoming students?

Take advantage of what your instructors have to offer you. They are willing, you just have to reach out.

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