CLIFTON PARK — Rosa Miranda, 21 and a Clifton Park native, wasn’t sure that she would make it through high school.
She struggled to get through standardized tests like the SATs and largely went directly home from class, struggling to become involved with clubs or other extracurricular activities.
Miranda is a junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology now, and recently began an internship at the International Print Center New York, a nonprofit that focuses on fine art prints.
The turning point, Miranda explained, was her decision to delve into art in high school, with the help of her teachers.
“I didn’t really feel like I belonged anywhere at all. I was never good at my other classes. I struggled in high school,” Miranda said. “Except when I had my art assignments. That’s something I always felt like I excelled in and wanted to keep working on.”
Against long odds, Miranda graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2016. After that, she immediately began college at FIT and continued further on her artistic journey.
Miranda’s art is currently being exhibited at Uncommon Grounds in Clifton Park. Mainly an oil painter, Miranda studied abroad in Italy and explored classical etching there. She plans to do her thesis work next year at FIT in oil painting, and has considered returning to Italy to learn about art restoration. Sometimes she paints self-portraits, but a majority of her work right now she called “explorative.”
“I’m building myself up in different ways as an artist,” she explained.
Miranda’s path to get to where she is now was a long one.
Her parents moved to Clifton Park from Brooklyn before she was born with the intention of being near good schools for their children. From an early age, Miranda was interested in art, and spent time drawing cartoon characters and learning about artists in elementary school.
She started to take it more seriously when she began to work with a handful of teachers at Shen who urged her to explore her passion.
Once she started to study academic art in high school, she understood that art was something she was meant to pursue. She credits her teachers with believing in her talent.
“I feel like they saw something in me, which made me think, wow, maybe this is something I could really be good at,” Miranda said.
Part of being in art school, and living in a city that Miranda calls “raw,” is noticing how the art world is changing. Recently, much of the art in the city has been done in pop-up exhibits, during which exhibits are up for an extremely limited amount time and then dismantled.
“The art world is changing now and installation art is a big thing. Things come and things go. Right now, oil painting is not as much in,” Miranda said.
She isn’t a fan of the temporary pop-up exhibits, noting that often, people visit the galleries exclusively to take pictures with the art.
“They make the art about them. It’s just so interesting to watch. Art is a backdrop now. I don’t want my art to be a backdrop,” she said.
Ultimately, Miranda would like to have a career in art that brings in an income, such as working in a gallery or doing art restoration. Having a safety net, she said, will allow her to pursue her oil painting on her own terms. Not being beholden to galleries, she said, will allow her to keep embarking on the personal journey she goes through each time she completes a painting, with no restrictions.
“Doing art is so therapeutic for me. If I wasn’t a creator I don’t know what I would be doing,” she said.