CS Faculty Enrichment Grants: Tony Latess installs exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH)

Post by: Anthony Latess (Instructor, Professional Institute for Educators)

Art to me is storytelling. I feel that every work of art tells a story, whether it be a hand-blown glass sculpture, landscape or portrait painted in oil, or abstract photograph of a barely recognizable subject. The glass sculpture tells a short story which may be concise and dramatic, the landscape or portrait is like a novel with details and characters to learn more about each time it is viewed and the abstract photograph may read like a free-form poem, conceptual and satisfying.

In December of 2011, I was invited to put together a show for a print gallery at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. I received a Faculty Enrichment Grant from the University of the Arts Continuing Studies Division, which assisted me in making this project happen. The show, titled “iRemember: Moments and Details in Personal Icons – 1950 to the Present” is showing at the Butler until March 10, 2013.

As an artist using photography in my work, I created a series of 10 installations for the Butler Institute that used scanned personal photos from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I also photographed these same subjects in 2012 and wanted to show how memories of people, places or things – I call them personal icons – either changed or stayed the same over time. I used almost 200 printed square images and hundreds of pins to create the 10 fragile and temporary 40” x 40” installations.

I am obsessed with square formats and superimpose a square grid over my work or printed photographs like a “window” to view the images through. The viewer may be looking through a window back into time and may be peeking at these “private” views and personal icons through the grid!

Each installation consists of two photographs, a “Guide Photograph” and a “Current Photograph.” The smaller “Guide Photograph” is a scanned personal family photograph taken by a family member or myself, the memory of which has become an icon in my life.

The enlarged “Current Photograph” is a recent photograph I took that contains the same or similar elements as the older original “Guide Photograph.” Together the two images reflect how details have changed or stayed the same since the original was taken.

The “Current Photograph” of each work is magnified and cut into nine squares.

The smaller “Guide Photograph” is layered with gouache and written on in colored pencil to describe the scene and my reflections and memories. I then painted over the text with watercolor. Some of my personal comments and writing is not readable, but the viewer may be able to determine keywords that point them to ideas and elements in each work.

I mounted each “Current Photograph” on a piece of black foamcore board which is covered with nine patterned squares, each affixed with two pins diagonally from left to right. Each square of the “Current Photograph” is pinned diagonally from right to left to the patterned squares. The “Guide Photograph” is affixed to a patterned square and pinned to a smaller square of foamcore.

To complete the installations, I cut and fit wet-medium acetate to several photo squares in the large “Current Photograph” and painted a red line around the subject in each work.

The “Guide Photograph” and “Current Photograph” are mounted side by side so comparisons may be made from the past to the present in each installation.

Each of my works has a strong narrative aspect, which I exploit to heighten the storytelling nature that art might have. In this collection of 10 installations, I explore how time and memories play out over the course of a very personal timeline. The installations in my show are my way of telling personal stories based on photographs and specific memories, that to me are like the expanding Universe – the older you become, the farther away memories of a person, place, event or thing become. Sometimes, along the way over space and time, images such as photographs, drawings or paintings, “bookmark” memories for us. These icons along our personal timeline help us to remember details and prompt us to make comparisons about how things have changed, or not.

My pieces are pinned together to enhance the natural “intelligence” of paper, inviting environmental influences to possibly cause the paper to bend or curl and become part of the work. My works are handmade and fragile and temporary and disjointed just like memories and materials may be.

If young artists see their work as storytelling, maybe some of the questions they ask as they create will influence how the viewer will experience their work and the messages it might evoke!

CS Faculty Enrichment Grants: AnneMarie Robinson Explores Drawing + Painting the Human Figure (Philadelphia, PA)

Post By: AnneMarie Robinson (Instructor, Pre-College Programs)

I was very excited this year to receive the 2012 Continuing Studies Faculty Enrichment Grant.  Lately my relationship with the University of the Arts is quite intimate, for in addition to teaching Graphic Design in the Pre-College Programs, I am enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching in Visual Arts graduate program.  The MAT program requires three Painting studio credits for graduation and certification.  With the grant money I received, I decided to take my relationship with the University one step further and take the Continuing Education class, Drawing + Painting the Human Figure. It had been years since I had drawn the human figure, so I was quite nervous to be in a studio class again.  Recalling my undergraduate days, it was humbling carrying a large newsprint pad to and from class again.  My instructor was Coy Gu, a professor at the College of Southern Maryland and a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  Our class met in the evening once a week for 12 weeks.  Despite a few classes without models due to scheduling issues, my overall experience was fantastic.  I was able to further explore the human figure and refine some of my skills that had become rusted over the past 10 years.

We began every class with 10-minute gesture drawing warm ups, then we moved on to longer sustained poses.  Towards the end of the semester we focused specifically on hands, feet and portraiture— three things I had always ignored in previous drawings.  The painting I’ve included is one of a series of gesture studies that I did in acrylic.  Since the painting portion of this class was optional, Coy worked with me one-on-one to develop an approach.  I really enjoyed delving into paint.  In quick gestural studies the brush becomes more of a sketching tool for capturing lights and shadows, as opposed to detail.  I actually embraced the paint “sketching” more than drawing with charcoal.  When painting the figure I was able to think more abstractly – focusing on capturing the essence of the pose, rather than getting caught up with the detailed anatomy of the model. My participation in Coy’s class was two-fold: during each class I tried to absorb drawing/painting techniques, as well as observe Coy’s teaching method from an “Art Teacher” perspective.  I used this class as an opportunity to understand how to draw and paint the human figure so that I can better teach this subject with confidence to my future students.

Healthcare for Artists, Freelancers and Entrepreneurs

Learn about local Philadelphia options in healthcare insurance for artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs including new affordable options, tax credits, subsidies and federal programs.

An illustration featured by the North Minneapolis Arts District

Feb 28: 6:15 – 8:00 pm
401 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA

Free for UArts students and alumni (ID required); $10 for Center for Emerging Visual Artist (CFEVA) members; $12 for general public. Payment by check or cash at the door. To register, email genevieve@cfeva.org or call (215) 546 – 7775 x 11.

Presented by Jim Brown, National Director of Health Services at the Actors Fund with experience in the arts, social services and the insurance industry.

Co-sponsered by the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Flying Kite Media and Small But Mighty Arts Grant.

Listen to David Carson's TED Talk on Design + Discovery

Newsweek magazine said David Carson “changed the public face of graphic design.”  Known for his innovative,  ground-breaking and often controversial approach to typography, sometimes called “grunge typography,” Carson states, “Don’t mistake legibility for communication.”

David Carson

Sociologist and surfer-turned-designer, David Carson walks through a gorgeous (and often quite funny) slide deck of his work and found images in this TED talk.  Listen Here: TED talk on Design and Discovery.

David Carson’s typography rose to prominence in the 1990s, in Ray Gun magazine and other pop-cult books, and ushered in a new vision of type and page design – breaking the traditional mold of type on a page.

Squishing, smashing, slanting and enchanting the words on a layout, Carson made the point, over and over, that letters on a page are art. You can see the repercussions of his work to this day, on a million Flash intro pages (and probably as many skateboards and T-shirts).

The End of Print is the book that provides the definitive statement of Caron’s work.  This classic book by Lewis Blackwell has itself become part of the history of graphic design. It features work from the magazines where Carson first made his mark including Transworld Skateboarding, Surfer, Beach Culture and Ray Gun – as well as his instantly recognizable advertisements for clients such as Nike, Pepsi, MTV and Sony. Lewis Blackwell’s text includes an interview in which Carson examines the origins of his approach and discusses the extreme reactions to his work.

Let us know what you think of Carson’s work?  Does it still stand up today?  What has been his influence?

Technically Philly

A better Philadelphia through technology.  That is the motto of Technically Philly, a great resource for our forward-thinking digital creators to connect and share innovative ideas and stay informed.

Technically Philly is a news organization that has covered technology issues in the Philadelphia region since February 2009.  Their focus is on building community through technology in the following ways:

  • attracting and retaining jobs through entrepreneurship, business and the creative economy
  • increasing access and education for low-income and marginalized residents
  • making government more transparent and efficient

They connect a broad and diverse technology community that works together to organize the annual Philly Tech Week, an open calendar of events celebrating innovation in Philadelphia. They publish hourly at TechnicallyPhilly.com (or tphilly.com for those power users) and on Twitter and Facebook with news about startups, venture capital, social media, web design and development, digital access, technology-related government policy and anything having to do with technology in the Philadelphia region.

Creating with Constraints Lecture Series – Begins Feb 19

Creating with Contraints

Join the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy and DesignPhiladelphia, in partnership with the University of the Arts, for our annual spring lecture series, Creating with Constraints.  The first lecture begins on February 19 at 7:30 pm at the Unviersity of the Arts.

In an affluent society like ours, we seem to have lost the ability to invent with limited resources. After all, when you’ve got money, natural resources and the authority that comes from being a world power — perhaps “the” world power — we assume that muscle and resources will be enough to buy us out of a problem or solve a crisis. Since the Second World War, we have not had to live with constraints — the limit of resource, money and authority. We’ve begun to forget, and we are not teaching our young how to create using limited resources. In fact, we’ve too often built on the principle that only the “great” was worth doing and the merely “doable” was not good enough.

That’s the theory we will explore in Creating with Constraints. It seems, in fact, that the new energy for creation and invention is now often found in developing countries and emerging economies where Robinson Crusoe-like, those inventing and creating take the fragments of the past and repurpose and reshape them to build something new.

We are now entering a resource weak economy. The generosity of resources that fueled our economy over the last 70 years is rapidly fading. If we are to regain our purpose and renew our ability to invent our future, we’ll need to relearn how to work with limited resources, often building a model that illustrates the idea before attempting to build the “grand” version of it.

February 19 – Diana Lind
The Resourceful City: How Cities Flourish Despite Constraints
Next City executive director and editor-in-chief looks at cities that have developed unusual responses to their financial, spatial or social constraints, becoming paragons of design, culture and creativity.

March 5 – Medard Gabel
Designing for the Planet
Author and co-founder of The World Game Institute with Buckminster Fuller, Medard Gabel discusses an interactive program that transforms audience into problem solvers. You are in charge of a very large spacecraft. And something very serious has gone wrong. What are you going to do?

April 16 – Leah Murphy and Aaron Goldblatt
The Making of a Viaduct Green
Urban designer and exhibition designer examine how two former railway lines — a stretch of fifty city blocks — can become a future garden, a civic project that can enhance the quality of life, cultural landscape and economic vitality of Philadelphia. For information about a tour of the proposed VIADUCTgreene project, visit corzocenter.uarts.edu.

Tickets: corzocenter.ticketleap.com