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Archive for March, 2011

The Critique

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

A few weeks ago, my teacher drew in a breath to start class but was suddenly interrupted by a loud blast of music. It was the opening song from The Lion King. The words: “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” blared from an unknown source. While the music selection and volume were surprising and dramatic for our 9 a.m. class, it wasn’t that shocking for us to hear unexpected sounds since all of the classrooms on the San Francisco campus share the same ceiling. Imagine a warehouse with large cubicles.

In most of my classes, my peers and I would be painting, minding our own business, when all of the sudden a round of thunderous applause would break out from another classroom. For me, it wasn’t disruptive, but instead, rather curious. As it turns out, classes clap after a critique of a student’s work. I had always wondered how a critique would go, since I had heard prior to attending school that the critique was the most valuable part of the art school experience.

I had my first critique a few weeks ago (in a different class from the Lion King enhanced class) and enjoyed hearing feedback on my work. I’m posting the four paintings that I presented. The teacher started off by saying that every painter has to figure out the process that they’ll use when they work and asked the class to make comments that could help us with our procedures. The class thought that my nude and standing figure paintings were somewhat academic (read: boring) and encouraged me to take risks with making my paintings look more painterly, like in the portrait with the blue background where there are a lot of colors in the face. One student felt that the portrait was the strongest painting of the four. Another student liked the subtle shadow I depicted in the biking painting and suggested that I develop that idea further.

So basically the advice I got was to go a little more wild with the paint. Perhaps I should start all of my classes with the Lion King soundtrack.