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Student Profile: Jud Froelich

IMG_0773 (small)Jud Froelich of Richmond, Virginia is a fifth-year student double-majoring in Studio Art and Russian. Froelich grew up in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. After graduation in the spring, he plans on staying in the Blacksburg area and working for a year while continuing to create and exhibit artwork.

You moved around a lot growing up. Tell me about it.

My parents work overseas doing humanitarian work and have done so since I was 2 years old. We lived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for 13 years, and then moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Growing up overseas was a wonderful experience, which has given me a good perspective on life. I grew up speaking Russian (and English) because Kyrgyzstan had just gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and still had a heavy Russian influence. The country is small, but beautiful. It has gorgeous mountain ranges which are ideal for camping. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from camping in the mountains.

When our family moved to Chiang Mai, I was going into 11th grade. The culture is very different from Kyrgyz culture, and felt very foreign to me during my time there. People are very reserved and friendly. Thai people also treat time very differently from the way we treat it here in America. People can show up to events an hour late and still be “on time.” My parents and my youngest brother still reside there, while my older brother, younger brother, and I live in the U.S. It is hard being apart at times, but that is just part of growing up and becoming independent.

So where do you consider home?

I consider Kyrgyzstan to be my “home,” but this word is a difficult one when it comes to people like me. Is “home” where you live currently? Is it where you grew up? After many years of traveling, I have come to understand that “home” is wherever the ones you love are.

Why did you choose to major in Studio Art and Russian?

I was led to Studio Art because I enjoy creating things and communicating visually. I grew up speaking Russian, so I wanted to continue studying the language.

What is your favorite thing about your major?

We are given the freedom to challenge our culture and to create in ways that no one has ever created before. I love how we are able to experiment and explore without restrictions. There is no right or wrong answer in Studio Art.

Tell me about your most recent project. 

I worked on a project that involved printing large-scale image code. I was interested in the relationship that computers have with images. To a human, a painting or a drawing has spiritual qualities and emotional ties. However, a computer views Irunewal’s Isenheim Altarpiece simply as lines of pixel information that it needs to output a display. In order to emphasize this point, I created single lines and brush strokes on various materials, scanned those marks into the computer and printed the resulting code on a large-format printer. The tiny marks were then displayed next to the giant prints.

What was your favorite part about working on this project?

I was able to use large-scale prints. I haven’t worked with prints this size before, and I enjoy learning new creative techniques.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on manipulating an inkjet printer in order to create unique digital prints. I am interested not only in the prints themselves, but also the performance that goes on as I fight with the printer to create the prints.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I would take my fiancé to Thailand, to visit my family.