Cuong Abel Sy: Exponential growth as an artist and a person

Cuong Abel Sy MFA '16 explored personal identity in his artisanry thesis, a series of bronze, gold, and silver necklaces.

Cuong A Sy - MFA Artisanry - CVPA

Year: Class of 2016
Program: MFA, Artisanry: Jewelry/Metals
Hometown: Cranston, RI
Next steps: A position in the jewelry industry

From military service to pursuing art

I am a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where I served as a weather forecaster. Following my military service, I lived abroad in England, but decided to return home to Rhode Island after two years to pursue an art degree: a BA in studio art with a concentration in jewelry/metals from Rhode Island College.

I had such a great undergraduate experience at Rhode Island College under my faculty advisor, UMass Dartmouth alum Dianne Reilly, that I felt that learning from the people who taught her would provide the same positive experience I had as an undergrad.

Cuong A Sy - Necklaces
Left to right: Saving Birds, 2016, sterling silver, bronze, 14k gold, moissanite, magnets; The Gatekeeper, 2015, sterling silver, bronze, 14k gold, lab sapphire, magnets; This is the Re-Write, 2016, bronze, sterling silver, 14k gold, magnets. Photos: Henry Daniel Gatlin

MFA thesis: exploring personal identity

My body of work explores personal identity. I found inspiration by exploring topics that I have neglected to acknowledge for most of my life, specifically my identities as a Cambodian-American living with manic-depression. I needed place holders to remind me of where I came from, in order to maneuver my life towards a more positive direction. My thesis is a necklaces series which I use as those place holders. 

Cuong A Sy - Necklace - Detail
Detail: This is the Re-Write, 2016. Photo: Henry Daniel Gatlin

MFA at CVPA: a positively empowering experience

Under the mentorship of CVPA professors Alan Burton Thompson and Susan Hamlet, I have grown exponentially as an artist and a person. It has been such a positively empowering experience that I feel that I will likely be drawing inspiration from my graduate school experience for the rest of my life.

A future in jewelry

My next step will be to find a job in the jewelry industry.

More information

  • BA in Jewelry/Metals
  • MFA in Jewelry/Metals

College of Visual and Performing Arts, Features - Commencement