This course is intended for Gallatin graduate students in their first or second semester who are likely to pursue an artistic thesis. The class aims to pose difficult and productive questions that will help you understand your tendencies and priorities as an artist, the methods you employ, and where these are in the service of the work as opposed to where they stand in the way. The class requires rigorous and individualized research into your sources of artistic influence with an emphasis on analytical thinking about the methods and strategies employed by those artists or thinkers you consider key influences. The course includes assignments that explore your existing strategies and subject matter in order to understand what has motivated and generated the work thus far. Other assignments push students to work against the grain of their usual modes in order to discover new ways of working and to undermine default strategies. Towards the end of the term, the accumulated insights will be channeled into writing about your work that will be useful in the future context of an artist’s statement or artistic aims essay. In the personal and lab-like atmosphere that this course hopes to cultivate, the class also aims to connect Gallatin graduate students to each other’s work and practice, and to take advantage of the enormous importance that peer input and critique can have on work in progress. Possible side effects include: focused engagement, enhanced motivation, collaboration.