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Archive for January, 2011

The many faces of e v e

Friday, January 28th, 2011

“I see a little of you in myself,” my art teacher Mark commented to me one day as we reviewed my homework privately while the rest of the class drew a live model. It had been a particularly good day for me, where I felt like I was harnessing a certain rhythm to my drawing that had eluded me for most of the semester.

“Oh yeah?” I asked. I waited for what I might look back on as my most poignant moment in art school.

Instead, he bluntly said, “I couldn’t really draw either,” and didn’t miss a beat in his critique of my work.

Woman 1

Although harsh, his comment wasn’t entirely false. Initially, my self-portraits didn’t really look like me. In fact, I wouldn’t exactly say that they looked human. Some reminded me of Woman 1, a primitive monster-like portrait by William deKooning that I had studied in my art history classes. DeKooning was part of the American post-war Abstract Expressionist art movement where artists were interested in dialing into their subconscious. Their paintings, which were emotional and raw, were a major breakaway from the accuracy and precision from the art that had come before it. Most people are familiar with the drip paintings by Jackson Pollock, the most famous Abstract Expressionist.

Even though my drawing wasn’t where I wanted it to be, I at least took comfort in the fact that my art didn’t reflect a deep-seated emotional problem hidden within my subconscious. My issue was simply that I couldn’t draw.

I am posting a smattering of self-portraits that mark my progress over the semester. The last full-color piece is my final project.

Das Boot

Friday, January 28th, 2011

My spring semester has hit the ground running. I started classes last week, and it’s going to be a busy semester as I’m taking five classes instead of four.

I’ve gathered so far that art school is a collection of people each of whom live fiercely by their own rules; their own quirky, arbitrary rules that may or may not help them assimilate with the rest of society. The leaders of this pack are the teachers, and my new painting teacher Howard has been cracking me up. The painting that I’m posting is from his class today. First off, he asked if we’d be okay with starting class at 9:30 instead of 9 am, because “who gets up that early?” He announced that he goes to bed at like 2 am, so it’s not like he’s really awake before noon anyway. He reminds me of Larry David with his appearance and voice.

He asked us each to bring in samples of our work for today’s class. When he reviewed mine with me, he told me that he thought my paintings awkward. I gave him a puzzled look. “No, awkward was really big about 10 years ago,” he explained. “Awkward is good.” He said it’s probably because I can’t draw, which is okay because neither could Cezanne, and neither could he, frankly. At least my homework assignment for next week is to do more of the same. He did, however, ask my classmate to “reinvent” herself for next week.

In any case, I’m really happy with how today’s painting turned out. It was really fun to make.