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Risks + Rewards

Risks + Rewards

With his high school slacker days behind him, Felix Beaudry 18 TX responds well to the challenge of exceeding high expectations.

Sophomore Felix Beaudry 18 TX draws inspiration from his peers and the creative climate at RISD.

Looking back at Foundation year, sophomore Felix Beaudry 18 TX pinpoints his Drawing class with Norm Paris 00 IL as the RISD experience that officially blew his mind. “He taught me to think about space on a two-dimensional surface,” Beaudry recalls, “and totally changed the way I draw—getting the dark darks first, seeing the whole paper…. The energy from that class was amazing.”

Halfway through his second year, Beaudry says that such in-studio epiphanies aren’t exactly an everyday thing. But what is common—and equally game changing—is drawing inspiration from his peers and the creative climate on campus. “Everyone is totally invested in being productive and striving to go above and beyond what’s expected,” he explains. “The culture demands respect for [the process], and you will get called out if you don’t put enough effort into an assignment.”

Beaudry has taken ownership of his work in a way that he never imagined possible. “I basically got away with doing no work at all in high school,” he explains. Fortunately, an Outward Bound outdoor education course he completed after high school did a lot to prepare him for RISD. “There’s a similar mindset and devotion to [moving forward] no matter how tired you are,” he says.

Over Wintersession, Beaudry focused on two liberal arts classes, one of which gave him his first theatrical opportunity —playing one of the leads in an original play called Reynard the Fox. Last year during Wintersession he chose to immerse himself in materials via a Furniture Design studio called Experiments in Weaving Furniture & Form.

“The class was very experimental,” Beaudry recalls. “For the final project, I tried to make a chandelier out of tubes of concrete. It ended up crumbling. It turns out there’s a reason people don’t make chandeliers out of concrete! But it was important to figure that out on my own.”

When it came time to choose a major, Beaudry was torn between Apparel Design, Painting and Textiles. “I chose Textiles,” he says, “because it almost seems like the medium between Painting and Apparel. And in the end, [I think I made the right choice] because they teach what I want to learn.”

Beaudry says that his ideas for projects come from everywhere—a book he’s read, personal experiences, people he meets. “It’s important for me to have interests outside of RISD,” he notes, “and to bring those experiences into my art.”

Though Beaudry had heard about the demanding workload and intensity of studios before he got here, he finds his peers to be incredibly supportive and says that most of his friends are happy to cut loose a bit on weekends. “There are lots of parties,” he says. “We work intensely during the week and then try not to think at all about work on Friday and Saturday nights. That break really helps with stress.”

Another RISD stereotype Beaudry begs to challenge is the harshness of crits. “Crits are actually totally fun if you’re in the right mindset,” he says, pointing out that they’re a natural part of learning to communicate through making and translating ideas into tangible work. “If you’re invested in what you make but at the same time adaptable, [crits are] an interesting learning experience.”

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