Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Coming Full Circle

Updating my website has been an ongoing endeavor, but as I worked on it these past few weeks, I was reminded of some most excellent advice that I got as an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon School of Art. At both my sophomore and senior year portfolio review, the repeated, resounding advice that I consistently got was, FOCUS, MAIA, FOCUS!!! Sometimes I wanted to paint, sometimes draw, sometimes work in the foundry… Their advice definitely checks out, because as I have found in the real world, most applications, fellowships, grants, etc. are looking for works that speaks as a whole, not a little bit of this, a little bit of that. So clearly, armed with all of this real world knowledge on top of 6 years of art school, I took their sage advice, and…

…Completely ignored it! My work continues to be all over the board, ha! Some days I feel like cats and comics, some days I like to revel in the beauty of a landscape, or maybe some creepy skulls, but no, what about portraits? Let’s paint them, no, let’s draw them, wait, what about a coloring book? So yeah, I continue to explore my vast and varied interests which leads to a bit of a random website, but on the upshot, it definitely helps me as an art teacher!
I’m still not quite sure how I landed my dream job at the premiere art school in Delaware, but I’m pretty sure that my knowledge of everything from printmaking, digital art and photography, murals, ceramics, painting, and drawing may have played a part in it. (Also for which I have CMU to thank for giving me such a well-rounded foundation!) One of the biggest challenges I have found teaching at the AP level is that students are doing ALL sorts of different artwork, and having a diverse skillset to be able to help them is definitely key, although let’s be very clear, I am STILL very much learning! I am lucky to have had such amazing coworkers over the past few years, like Cheryl Lynn, Kate Huffman and @dweldzius , and now Lindsey Ostafy– I have learned SO much from all of them!
Aaaaaaand, circling back to my professors at undergrad, Mary Weidnerand Susanne Slavick, they will be happy to know that I did SOMEWHAT take their message to heart... It took about 20 years, but I think that this past summer I finally figured it out, and have created a body of work that I’m truly proud of. It is cohesive, meaningful on a personal level, and it is a style/technique that I find myself falling into and in love with and see so much potential for coming projects. It’s actually interesting that I have come full circle in more than one way. It was in undergrad that I embraced large scale charcoal drawings, and I loved it so much! But somehow, somewhere along the way, drawing fell by the wayside for me. I think I fell into the trap of trying to make the artwork that I thought would be “marketable” or saleable versus the artwork that I truly felt compelled to make. Another great thing about teaching, is that hey! I don’t have to sell my work for money – that’s what the teaching is for, ha! But realizing this means that I feel more freedom to pursue my own interests, and I’m not beholden to any market.
So thank you to my profs so much for helping me all those years ago – I’m still learning from you both, and I’m super excited to see where this body of work will take me! Ya’lls can check out this body of work under the “Portraits” tab (okay, and then the “Self-portraits” tab… yes… still too many tabs and sub menus, but hey, work in progress, right?). Check it out and let me know what you think of my website!

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