Sunday, April 20, 2014

Group Opening at Ed Olivers

Friday was the opening of the Philadelphia Plein Air painters group show at Ed Oliver's Golf Club in Wilmington. You can read all about it over on the PPAP Blog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Final Semester: 2 weeks to go!

Things are moving fast now. toward graduation  blasting through the final stages and my launch away from PAFA and into a new orbit and eventually wherever my Art journey will take me post graduation. PAFA evidently has one of the lowest student loan default records of any art school and its something they want to keep, so they had an exit counseling meeting which I attended that basically lays out how to go about paying back the big, fat, huge loan we all have to pay back. I have done all of my final exit counseling on-line and my last in studio crit with Scott Noel, and started actually moving out of my studio on the 8th floor. Most of my work for my ASE wall is done and will go to the framer this week. 

It is a great feeling to essentially be free except for the hanging of my wall and final crit with the faculty, which is really a faits accomplis. I just recieved my date  and schedule for my final review and once again they are running two crits at the same time so there is always going to be conflicts and freinds having final reviews at the same time. I have a lot of critics in my final review I never had as critics during my time in the program, some I avoided to be honest, and most are not painters, but what the hey, how bad can it be--its 20 minutes and then I never have to have another critique in my life.
Scott Noel and I had a really good talk for my final crit and we discussed what my future might be, what I think the MFA might do for me, or not, the value of it and the way the art education industrial complex is turning and how my career might go post grad. Some things will change and some will not--like still working as a cartoonist, commercial artist and teacher. How all of these things change in proportion and what new things might develop out of them is something only time can reveal.

 It's a conversation that as Scott said, he and I will continue...To be honest I am feeling a sense of relief mostly to be essentially done but also a lot of other feelings, like frustration and a bit of disappointment that I think I will let settle for a while.  The thing I will be focusing on the most is trying to enjoy the last few weeks of the ride out the door.

I also wrapped up my work on the next issue of Draw! Magazine which is going off to the printer in China and will hopefully make it back in time for TwoMorrows to take it to this summer big geek fest--the San Diego Comic Con. I won't be attending again this year and I seriously doubt I will ever be going back due to the complete craziness that whole event has become. Hotels are selling out in a minute according to some reports I have read on Facebooks, which seems like just a crazy hassle, and lets not even talk about badges, etc.

I did get together with my Dirty Palette friends last weekend and it was a grand old time painting some still lifes and just sharing each others company. It's been two years ago now that we all graduated from the Undergrad at PAFA and its been a great thing that we have all still been together as friends and artists still working and supporting each other as we move along. Alina, Will and Jaime set up still lifes along with me on my dining room table  inside while  Lexi set up outside since it was such an awesome day to paint outside. You can see Lexi's awesome painting of my house on her tumbler. I thought about doing that as well but decided to paint a still life using acrylic, something I have never done. I have really been using acrylics a lot lately and feel I am just starting to get the hang of them. 
So many people we graduated with in 2012 are already off the map as artists, not painting anymore. It happens fast to so many after graduation.  The DPC has in a way sort of merged into the Philadelphia Plein Air Painters group that I started about two years ago and that started with the DPC members as the core group, and we still are basically still the core group. We have a group show coming up Friday at Ed Oliver's Golf Club in Wilmington DE, so if you are in the area stop on down. I think having such a core group of supportive friends is essential, especially post college.  I can't stress this point enough as a artist post grad.I can't tell you how many times I have drawn upon the strenght of the DPC in the last few years, especially during the times I was very frustrated with the MFA program. I have bonded and made friends with several MFA students and I hope we will also continue to get together and see each other for those who stay in the area after graduation.  I think a lot of them will be moving on from Philly though, and I can't blame them in a way. But even if you leave Philly you can never really leave the PAFA family.
There were plenty treats to eat from Baklava, roast chicken and turnovers---artist need to eat and paint!

Here is my painting of the still life I set up. 
 Will's awesome little painting.
                                                       Jaime's great still life of tomatoes
                                           Alina's great still life of my old clock and a pear

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!