Martha Drouet (Attorney, BAVCS 2011)

Visual and Critical Studies
Martha Drouet Headshot


Describe your path since graduating from SAIC, and what you're doing today.

After graduating from SAIC (BA VCS, 2011), I went straight to law school for my J.D., which I obtained in 2014. I am now a trial attorney with a practice focusing on medical malpractice, product liability, and construction defense. Because these areas of law involve highly complex scientific, medical, and design-based disputes, I focus my practice on how to best distill these concepts into easily communicable terms via both written and oral advocacy.


Describe how VCS has impacted where you are today.

VCS taught me how to think analytically and to never take a narrowminded approach to dissecting a topic - whether it be art, pop culture, architecture, religion, or the law (among many examples). In applying for law school, I wrote a personal statement detailing visual critical studies and how it applies to art and the law. For example, when analyzing an a painting, the analysis needs to consider several viewpoints – the artist, the subject, the observer, the critic – and how those individuals’ experiences and world-view are relevant to our understanding of art. Similarly, a proper analysis of a legal case requires this broad mindset. One must take into account the legally injured person’s perspective; that of the witnesses; and those of the actors and/or legal defendants. Similarly, in analyzing the law itself, you must take into account the intent of the drafter(s); the plain language and how words are defined both at the time of drafting and today; the policy at the time the law was drafted compared with the policy now; and how legal cases have shaped the meaning of the law over time. There is no one meaning or answer to art or the law.


What is the most memorable experience you have from your time in VCS?

My cohort in my graduating thesis course. We had an intimate environment of creatives from very different backgrounds with very different interests and thesis topics. Despite (or perhaps because of) this, we created an environment of rapport, support, and growth.


Describe what VCS students might expect from the program.

To never look at society and its history, religion, art, architecture, social stratification, sexual intimacy, and philosophy the same again. Similarly, to have deep reflections about yourself and the world you inhabit.


What do you wish you had known when you were still in VCS?

Nothing. I firmly believe the VCS program is best approached with an open and empty mind so as to best absorb everything you are exposed to.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.