Sunday, March 3, 2013

Check the "PAGES" to the right

for more info!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Teaching in the Arts (page in development)

Materials to prepare:

Sample Syllabus

Teaching Philosophy


Student Work Samples

Course Proposals

Teacher Resources/Links

(see my 'Arts Education' Board in Pinterest:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Notes on Artist Statements

Despite the assertions by some wise friends that artist statements should be abolished, here are some notes that I give students who have not written artist statements before:

Try writing the first draft in third person. Describe process, aesthetic and conceptual characteristics, source material an inspirations, the discourse(s) present in the work, and the overarching themes/concerns that you are exploring in your practice.

Do not use casual language (cool, dabble, "am fascinated by", etc)

Do not say that you or your work ‘Deals with’ anything. It can address, explore, investigate, question….

There are empty words that will not help you speak clearly or specifically about your art. Some examples of such words are: creative, unique, original, fascinating. These are actually vague terms. Try to really articulate what you mean, keeping in mind how to explain the ways in which the formal (aesthetic, physical, material) aspects of your work are informing and creating the conceptual aspects (how does color express your feelings, for example?). Personal expression is also a bit of a nebulous and dangerous term. What things aren’t personal expression?? It’s a double redundancy, if you know what I mean.

Do not be humble. You should not hope or attempt. This is YOUR work, you are in control. Take the reigns. OWN IT!

There is no such thing as ‘pure’ anything anymore.  (pure feeling, pure expression, pure emotion, etc).
Mentioning purity is dangerously close to the other evil P word – Platitude! Purity is a Platitude. And, don’t you forget it. ( unless you wear a purity ring like the Jonas Brothers, in which case, I commend you for your Victorian integrity. Seriously).

Inanimate objects don’t own things and they don’t feel things. The “photograph’s desire”….

Make sure to check object/verb agreement (tense and number)

Do play “Name that Precedent”!  In three brushstrokes or less, can you identify the artist or art historical movement that most directly inspired your work?

Decide whether the subject of the work is you, the artist, or your work, and stick with it (do not switch back and forth), making sure to use the appropriate pronouns, whatever your choice.

Do not editorialize. (It's annoying when an artist tells me how I am going to experience their work, what I will think, feel, perceive.)

How many things can you find wrong with this sentence:
“The painting’s delicate lavender palette represents delicate purity, yet they are forceful by way of their strong brushstrokes”

Put the titles of art works and exhibitions in italics.  The polemics of biomorphism in food today”

Don’t sacrifice clarity for poetry. This is not the place to get creative and emotional with your language.

It is better to be clear and straightforward. Save the creativity for the artwork.

If your work cites other work, be sure to be clear about which other work, and why. If you are citing particular works, include the artist, title, and date of the works that your work is in dialog with.

This is not a personal ad. The objective of the artist statement is to describe he work, and your philosophy or outlook as an artist as it relates to your work.  The reader doesn’t care if you love animals or kids or flowers, unless there is a critical correlation to your work.
Separate yourself from the work. Try to write about the work and the content of the work as objectively as possible. You do not need to explain your self in an artist statement (unless maybe you are a performance artist and your work is all autobiographical)

Do not make universal declarations. The statement should be about your work, not the historic or current state of painting, or art, or beauty, or whatever.

Do not start sentences with passive verbs/gerunds: being, having, coming to, learning (“Learning all she needed to know about painting at Chapman University, Carlee went on to become a top-selling gnome-painter in Holland”).

Use your last name, not your first name, when referring to yourself after the first time. The first sentence should have your full name. After that, you can use only your last name, or third person pronoun.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Choosing a Grad School

Grad school is a big step, a big time commitment, and potentially a big money commitment. How do you choose the right one?

Well, the hippie in me says 'you'll end up where you're supposed to be'.
The OCD in me says, consider/do the following, while considering grad schools:

Do your research.
Talk to people, ask your professors, artist friends, grad program alums, curators, what programs they would recommend for you.
Research the programs you're considering - know who teaches there, who has gone there, what is the general 'philosophy' of the school, what is the school structure, etc.
You should also find out:
What kind of aid is available?
What are the studios like?
How big is the program?
How long is the program?
What are the facilities like?
What have past grads gone on to do?
Who are the visiting artists that have come in the past 1-4 years?
What is the city like, where the school is? Is it a place that you could see yourself living for a while after grad school?

You should know who teaches there, what kind of work they do, what kind of work the grad students do, and what the expectations are of students while in the program.

Set up appointments with the grad program counselor, with current grads (I recommend 2nd year students), with professors in the program, with former grads.

Grad school is a big commitment, and will require a lot of you. DO NOT set your sights on a school that you have never been to.

....that's a start. But I have more to say on this topic. I'll add to this soon.

Grad art programs in LA/SoCal:

Art Center College of Design
Otis College of Art and Design
Cal State LA
Cal State Fullerton


Art Grad Schools on the East Coast:

New School

Art Grad Schools in the Midwest:

Programs in Europe:
Rome Academy

Helpful Books

There are, of course, some books out there already.
I don't know about you, but I find less and less time to read books (love them, though I do). :(

These books will go into more detail that I will, most likely. But, they are great references:

Try the GYST Artist Guide or Teaching Manual


Art Work

Art and Fear (a little cheesy, but also comforting. especially to artists who haven't gone thru grad school yet)

In the Making

How to Get Ideas

A Technique for Producing Ideas

The Critique Handbook

Why Art Cannot Be Taught

Writing About Art

Theories and Documents

Letters of Rec

It's that time of year again, and when school applications are due, so are letters of rec. There are some things you can do to make it easier on your would-be recommenders.

Some tips and suggestions regarding letters of rec, IF a school requires them (not all schools do):

-ask for letters from people who know your artistic practice, your character, and your potential to excel in a graduate school environment.

-if you are asking for a letter from someone you have not seen in over a year, be prepared to put in the effort necessary to get that person up to speed with your practice and intentions (talk to them, show them your work, explain your reasons for wanting to go to grad school and why THAT school in particular, etc...).

-provide your recommender with the following (this is what I require before writing a letter): a copy of your artist's statement, a copy of the description of the program to which you are applying, a link to your website (or, if not up to date, a copy of your latest body of work), a copy of your application essay, a copy of the portfolio of images that you are applying with

-BE SURE to provide the requirements of the letter as stated by the school(s); the EXACT AND FULL address of the person and department that it needs to go to, and the POSTMARK deadline by which the letter needs to be sent. If a  hard copy is required, provide a stamped and addressed envelope.

-give your recommenders at LEAST 1 MONTH to write the letter. Send them a gentle reminder 2 weeks before the deadline.

-Be prepared to write the letter yourself (for the recommender), and then send it to the recommender for modifications. This may mean the difference between getting them to 'write' you a letter and not getting a letter.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Artist Residencies

Well, having done only one residency, I'm certainly no expert in this category, but below are some of the residencies  and studio programs that seem to be most popular (and interesting). Again, and as always, in no particular order:

a good program for aspiring photojournalists. Involves travel and photography!

Terra (France)

Vermont Studio Program
1-3 month programs that provide studio, room, and board. relatively expensive, unfortunately, but good.

Cowhouse Studios, Ireland

GuestHaus Residency, Los Angeles
for artists and scholars who need a place to stay while working on a project in LA (must be a project with a designated location/exhibition space)

McColl Residency, Charlotte, NC

Tilian Farm Development Residency

Denniston Farming residency

Montalvo, (California)

Smithsonian Fellowship

Princeton Hodder Fellowship (for artists and writers)

Georgia Fee Arts writing residency in Paris

For a fantastic repository of residencies around the world, visit: Resartis

Another residency repository: Residency Unlimited