Interviewing with Jarred Bowen

Open Studio: MassArt x SoWa and Jazz Pianist Witness Matlou

Perhaps one of the most scariest and proud moments I had experienced. While 2021 was one roller coaster of a year, one of my greatest accomplishments of the year was interviewing on Open Studio with Jarred Bowen and graduating from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a Masters degree in Fine Art, something I grew up only dreaming I could accomplish. But that dream became a reality in May of 2021. While we did not have an in person ceremony due to the COVID19 pandemic, I had a chance to celebrate with friends and family.

A few weeks before graduation, my friend Sarah and I had a chance to be interviewed on Open Studio with Jarred Bowen. I couldn’t have done this interview without her. We literally had a conversation expressing how we was not going to do the interview without each other. We spent a few days practicing for the interview, calling each other on FaceTime and going over potential questions and answers.

On the day of the interview, I felt ready! I wanted to do this interview and get my work out there. As soon as I get to MassArt x SoWa, all my nerves come to the surface. All of suddenly I couldn’t do this interview. I was ready to run right out the door until I saw Sarah, who also shared the same anxiety. She was always able to find the right words to keep me calm.

Before officially filming the interview, Bowen does a quick run through and pre-interview process. If the pre-interview process was a grade, I would have aced it. I felt like each question was fairly simple to answer. However, once the cameras started rolling and he began asking questions, I literally had a whole shut down moment. These questions were not the same questions he asked 10 minutes ago, in fact the language he used was slightly different. I became stuck at some moments, stumbling on words, and just having the hardest time trying to produce a simple thought. However, when he began asking questions about my grandmother, that’s where I became slightly comfortable and the nerves started dissipating. I was happy to speak from the heart as my grandmother is an important figure to my life.

When the interview was over, I was sure that I had completely bombed this interview. I had thought that there was no way to fix the many mistakes I made. I was reassured that the interview was fine, but I couldn’t believe it until I saw it.

The day the episode aired, I was sitting at a close friends house who streamed the episode on her tv. I was extremely nervous to see the outcome of this interview. But to my surprise, the interview was way better than expected! I am grateful to the editors of PBS, who did an amazing job with the edits. I am also grateful to Jarred Bowen and MassArt for this amazing opportunity.

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