Saturday, April 05, 2014

Final Semester: 3 weeks to go! Gantry detaches

T-minus 3 weeks till we hang our ASE show! This has been the busiest two weeks of my time in the MFA and as a student at PAFA. My thesis was due last week as well as two other professional deadlines and teaching so I was just pushing the pedal through the floor and going for broke. I don't think I have been this tired in a long time--but now the good times should roll in--as well as the checks!
My these was probably the most frustrating issue to deal with technically as WORD was not helpful at all in getting the formatting correct. Ugh! I know a lot of my fellow MFA2's were ripping and curing Microsoft and their computers last weekend and the thesis was due last Monday by 5. Luckily the excellent Copy Center Manager, Mike at the Manoa Staples saved my arse here. He was able to correct my formatting issues and get my copies printed out! Whew! It is difficult enough to just deal with the writing aspect of your thesis without having to battle with tech issues like being able to put page numbers on. My suggestion for the MFA coordinator Steven was to have a word template set up that everyone can use, and then to have an account at a local Staples or  Kinkos to get the thesis printed. that way they have the thesis paper, and the binding requirements already set. That would make the hassles so much easier to deal with for everybody. The subject of my thesis was Adobe Photoshop and it's effects of Contemporary Painting. A nice meaty subject! My thesis reader was Scott Noel and so we had many good talks about all of this over the past few months and Scott really pushed me hard on my writing as well. I can truly say however, I will be really, really glad to never have to write another paper for school!

 We also had a graduation practice to hep the process run through as smooth as possible and they gave us our handout for our tickets and guests for the graduation lunch. I did this same drill in the undergrad just 2 short years ago. I think walking up those steps made it seem even clearer that graduation was now a month away and I could see on the faces of some of my fellow grads a sense of relief.
Steven Connel our MFA Director of Graduate Program Services kept us all in line and focused.Steven is a great guy and has done me many favors and smoothed out some bumps along the way in the program.

Even as the MFA2 grads move toward the exit we get to watch the MFA1's move toward he end of their first year. I remember being here last year and looking forward to my final review in my first year. I know many feel such a mixture of dread and fear and excitement at this time of year. For some the wheels are falling off and others a growing sense of confidence. I had my final critic with Denise Green and it was a nice goodbye. I didn't always agree with Denise in some of her readings of my work but I did get a deeper sense of maybe what I do choose my subjects, especially the urban landscapes and why the resonate with me. For me I now have ideas still to ponder and explore but I also have a pretty good map of where I came from and where I want to go.

We also had the last visiting artist for the year last Thursday, Hilary Harkness, a narrative figurative painter based in NYC who is represented by Mary Boone. We didn't have that many artists this year in our VAP that I was really interested in, Anne Gale was the painter I was interested in seeing and hearing the most. But Harkness was a good choice. I hope going forward they bring more painters and more figurative as well as landscape painters.
Clint Jukkala the head of the MFA, who knows Harkness ,brought her in to talk about her work and journey from Yale to Mary Boone. Harkness gave a good talk and was very open and honest about her school experience and search for her own voice as well as here struggle with becoming a better draughtsman. She is now taking classes at The Art Student's League to improve her drawing--which is pretty unheard of from an artist at her level in the high-end gallery scene. One thing I did take from her talk was that I really have no interest in the type of gallery and all the extra worry it seems to cause artists. You make money but then you constantly worry about your prices and secondary markets destroying your prices, people dumping your work, etc. Good lord it seems like nothing I want to deal with.

I have four pieces currently in the PPAP group show that is up now at Ed Oliver's Golf Club in Wilmington. We'll have a official reception on April 18th where you will be able to meet all of the artists in the show, including me. For more info on the group, check out our PPAP blog.

Now I get to just paint and work on the strip for a few weeks!

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