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Anchor points

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Monday in Advanced Studio on zoom ART YARD Artist Maraya Lopez presented a session entitled:

A Day in the life of a security guard at The Met


Scene 1: Guard standing at the entrance to the Egyptian art wing.


Visitor: Where’s the Nile?

Security guard: (Dumbfounded face)


Scene 2: In the ladies’ locker room


Security guard Pink: “I can’t stand this place; these visitors are imbeciles!”

Security guard Lopez: “Okay, what are you doing to change it?”


(I think even Reg Lewis, ART YARD linguistic magician, and professional scrivener of a circuitous title, has not yet titled a session with a play!)


Maraya explains: “In this session we discussed something we want to change/do in our lives but haven’t for whatever reason. I wanted to hear from everyone on this topic, so we started with an open discussion. Then, we looked at the website and artwork from my Met Museum colleague, Emilie Lemakis. Emilie works in a variety of mediums, but we focused on her “studio diary” series for this class. She started the visual diary series in January 2021. They document her day-to-day activity, in and out of her art studio. During the pandemic, Emilie said, “Being separated from family, friends, work, and leisure activities by lockdown, I reproached my everyday reality with greater sensitivity and awareness-whose meaning and context I sought to set down on paper with heightened attention to detail and celebration.


Emilie Lemakis, Studio Diary and in her Red Hook studio, 2023

For the assignment, I asked students to create a visual diary page inspired by Emilie’s work. The piece would speak to their day-to-day activities and or a plan to change/do something in their lives that they haven’t yet started. Students will be asked to keep the artwork and return to in November as a tool of accountability to put their desired change into motion. In November, students will work together in pairs over email or telephone. Through a series of weekly meetings, they will act as accountability partners to support each other in realizing the first step to putting their desired change into motion. We will follow up in December, when I teach again. At that point, students should have put their plan into action.


Maraya shares thoughts of the artwork made in this session:


Marilyn made the comment that Meridith’s piece could be a page from a children’s book, and I totally agree! The full page of color and the animated drawing, whimsically pulls us into to her nights of insomnia due to reading into the wee hours.


Meridith McNeal, Sleep More, 2023

I compared Ed’s piece to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in that it is tilting to one side, as well as to the work of Dan Graham and some of his conceptual pieces where he implemented charts and graphs. Ed finds retirement to be distracting in the sense that he has too many things going on in life when all he wants to do his to concentrate his time and energy on his art studio practice.


Ed Rath, Weekly activity breakout, 2023

Marilyn uses lists to organize her days. The use of text and image is reminiscent of Emilie’s studio diaries. The torn squares at the top playfully echo the hair on the face at the bottom right.


Marilyn’s To-do List, 2023

Vera’s piece portraits a chaotic sense of energy and reflects her fast paced life in Graduate school.


V Tineo, To Do, 2023

Kevin created an autobiographical visual journey that documents his recent travels to Europe.


Kevin writes: "This piece consists of my journal entry to London, Paris and Amsterdam containing my notations of my external and internal experiences. I started off talking about how I was not ready to come back back the US as yet, followed by revisiting several of the experiences that I had. The city streets of London, the architecture and arts of Paris, the cultures and canals of Amsterdam; all of which were experiences that I loved. I also ended up talking about personal things about myself. Regarding how at first I was afraid to explore these foreign places, but soon ended up getting out of my comfort zone.

Kevin Anderson, A Trip to Europe, 2023

Maraya Lopez, Midlife crisis makes space for change, 2023.


Karla’s piece is based on her recent visit to The Met Museum where I gave her a brief tour but was cut short due to my work schedule. Here, Karla puts herself in the shoes of the museum guard. She compartmentalizes space with line and pattern, creating galleries where guards pace to a from, contemplating life as they watch time tick-tock on the clock.


Karla writes: “Thanks Maraya for the challenge to address our personal goals and speak to things we might wish to approach differently or check off a “to do” list! The title of the lesson took me back to my Brooklyn residency and afternoon at the Met. Maraya managed the clock to take me by Man Ray works, down to the Library, and then a highlight coffee room visit in the Met basement! Awesome!! My work brings back traversing the halls and exhibitions as if they were a maze. My calendar seems so full even in retirement. Not enough hours in the day! What day is it? How did the week fly by so quickly? I hope for more studio time!”

Karla Prickett, Looking at Art, 2023

Richie really put his experience into action in his video. While he initially considered this a piece in progress, many of us thought it perfect as is!


Richard Lee Chong, This is It, 2023

 

Advanced Studio was back in person at our studio at BWAC for the first of a three-part series of figure drawing sessions taught by ART YARD Teaching Artist Evelyn Beliveau.


Evelyn gives tips to Sigrid.

Evelyn recaps the session: “It was a privilege to lead the first day of a three-session cycle on figure drawing for AYB Advanced Studio. Participants were open, game, and focused—a teacher’s dream.


1 minute poses

Starting with loose, mutable vine charcoal and newsprint, we worked our way up to charcoal pencils and drawing paper by the end of the day. After a quick demonstration, I encouraged everyone to begin with a pure gesture, loosening up the arm and making marks unrelated to observation. This is our raw material: marks made by movements of the arm. Then, we got started with our fantastic model, Jacob (Delphine’s dad, whose good humor and creative poses were perfect for the session!), with a series of 30-second and 1-minute poses. Many participants found it challenging to work so fast. We started to get a sense of how much can be accomplished in these short time frames—quick gestures to lay out the line of action and blocky shapes estimating the main masses of the figure. After these warm-up drawings, a five-minute pose felt luxurious. Over the course of a few five-minute drawings and another demonstration, we added more tools and considerations.



We talked about anchor points (the furthest left, right, top, and bottom points of the figure), which must be located early on in order to fit the whole figure on the page.


We talked about weight: every person is acted on by gravity, so there must be at least one point where the figure is supported (and with poses involving couches, chairs, propped-up feet, etc. there were often several such points). Strategies for showing weight include getting an accurate sense of the figure’s shapes in the early stages (line of action, basic masses) and using heavier line weight at the points where the figure is in contact with the supports.



We talked about course-correcting as we gain more information from each new glance at the figure. I encouraged participants to embrace “mistakes” and working marks, which display the history of the artist’s looking and the history of the drawing’s creation. It’s also very useful to jump around to different parts of the drawing rather than getting pulled into perfecting one area.



We ended the session with a 20-minute drawing. Now, with more permanent charcoal pencils and drawing paper and even greater luxury of time, participants embarked on their most refined drawings of the day. This drawing incorporated what we’d practiced so far—gestural lines of action and light blocking-in of masses with vine charcoal. Then, the map of working marks was used to locate more precise contours and details, which were added decisively in charcoal pencil.



The results blew me away. The final drawings feel closely observed and display a range of styles or interests particular to each participant: heavy outlines; light-filled forms; decisive, singular marks; clusters of energetic working marks. It was wonderful to see Delphine progress from an initial reluctance toward figure drawing to a strong grasp of the techniques and new appreciation for the expressive potential of this kind of drawing. Akash’s economical mark-making (clearly informed by precise observation) impressed the whole group, and Sigrid jumped right in partway through the session to create an effectively foreshortened drawing from a difficult viewpoint of the model. We admired Elijah’s foreshortened foot and decisive marks, and Michelle’s use of erasure next to dark marks to get a sense of the weight of the laptop and the ankle. Each drawing had something special about it, and I loved hearing participants’ comments about their experience of the process. We will continue to build on this foundation in Week 2.”


Figured drawings by ART YARD Artists: Kevin Anderson, Elijah Bobo, Saidou Camara, Morgan Day, Sigrid Dolan, Abriel Gardener, Michelle Kim, Marcy Leiman, Delphine Levenson, and Akash Wilmot.

 

On Wednesday, October 18, students from a professional practice class at Pratt taught by Yasmeen Abdallah visited our exhibition Earth Mothering.



ART YARD Teaching Artist and co-curator of the exhibition Iviva Olenick led a brief tour and description of AYB’s advanced Studio programs, her Stitchcraft project, and how she and Meridith collaborated to create this exhibit. Iviva also talked about her art practice and process of applying for grants. Students asked insightful questions about curating and research-driven art practices, and Iviva suggested resources for following up on these ideas.

 

During ART YARD Summer Session 2023 we were thrilled to work with Teaching Artist Xinan Ran as part of a collaborative community project. Also involved in Xinan’s Tree Chuang public art piece are classes from other Brooklyn arts organizations including Voices Ciudadanas, Mizteca, and Apex for Youth. In this session we created two types of fabric pieces including an appliqué and cyanotype that have become a part of the exterior Chuang, two soft sculptures that are now installed in Sunset Park.

Tree Chuang installed in Sunset Park. Photos by Javier Salamanca and Isabelle Li Shen St. Clair | 沈力


Xinan explains: “Tree Chuangs are textile sculptures that create multifaceted sensorial experiences throughout the urban space. Using the form of a traditional Chuang—a cylindrical textile apparatus commonly used in Buddhism—as a launching point, the soft sculptures are created collaboratively between the artist and the public, and showcase the unique personal narratives of local participants. The theme of the workshop will be “pass-downs” —concepts, ideas and advice given to us by family members, which we feel worthy of sharing with others.”



 

I hope you are planning to join us on Saturday November 4th for COVERS an art-filled/record-inspired party at The Record Shop in Red Hook!!!


However, if you are out of town or otherwise occupied that evening, please consider lending your support to the endeavor. You can purchase a ticket at Eventbrite and support a student going in your stead! And on Galabid you can bid on artwork and purchase art raffle tickets.



100% of the proceeds will support ART YARD BKLYN programs.

We are very grateful for your support!


 

Other Art News


Candy spent some time showing her brother around NYC and they took a visit to SeaGlass Carousel in The Battery in downtown Manhattan.



 

Continuing the aquatic theme, Dennis took these photos of Sicilian mermaids.



 

ART YARD Pal Artist Pamela Talese invites us to stop by for Brooklyn Navy Yard open studios!



 

💖


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