In the studio with Tori, Joseph and Luisa

In the studio-March 9

The first couple weeks Tori, Joseph and I spent our time getting to know each other and discussing what they would like to do with the time spent in my studio, based on my own way of working but not limited to that.  I had just moved into a larger, nicer studio than which they had previously seen so it felt a bit like a blank canvas for all of us. I talked about my approach to making art, which involves a lot of collecting things. In fact, as we spoke they helped me flatten out found candy wrappers I use for installations. We talked a lot about art, popular culture and listening to music. Today Tori plugged her ipod into my speakers and we listened to Lady Gaga.  This is essentially how I work- intimate and personal.

Since that first session both Tori and Joseph have brought their art work in to share with me and each other. What they have in common is they are both very influenced by Japanese Anime & cartoon culture, but not strictly.

Joseph’s work includes a lot of symbolism dealing with spirituality and the occult. Drawing pretty much exclusively in pencil, he has developed many characters which are repeated and transformed from drawing to drawing. Snowflake, Shooting Star, Ashe, Brock, Misty, May, Max, & Winter are names of some of his recurring mystical creatures. He has hundreds and hundreds of drawings including these and many other characters.

Today for our first drawing/painting project Joseph will include imagery, or rather let himself be influenced by what he saw in Tori’s work and in mine. This drawing will include a sorceress with a crystal ball and a skull, which he is attributing to me, surrounded by flowers-Tori’s influence.

My goal for Joseph is for him to begin experimenting with color in his work. For him it has been exclusively a pencil on paper journey, and I want to emphasize how important it is to experiment and push ones work. It’s a way of teaching oneself.

Tori showed us still life paintings from a summer workshop she participated in at Smack Mellon Gallery. She said she had never painted before. I thought they were remarkably good for someone who had never painted before. I feel already she has a natural proclivity towards painting and I am excited about offering her the opportunity to paint more, to learn to mix color and use mediums and glazes.

She showed us two collages which includes photos of herself taking on the role of a homeless person- very poignant for a 15 year old. She also draws many made up and copied Anime figures.

Today Tori is painting a still life of random objects taken from around my studio. She, unlike Joseph likes to have things to look at. While Joseph is meticulously sketching out the composition for his painting from imagination, Tori says she finds it completely awkward to sketch first and prefers to paint directly. So for now she will bypass any under drawing and go right for the paint. For me it is interesting to have two mentees- one who only draws and the other who only paints! There could be a great collaboration here in the making!!

My goal for Tori, though for now, is to help her hone in on imagery that she feels very strongly about, in order to create her own visual vocabulary from which to paint- even if it is from real objects.

I asked Joseph and Tori for their comments about Art Ready program and being in an artist studio.

Joseph: It’s fun and inspiring! A way to express yourself through art.

Tori: What he said-haha -It’s exciting and liberating!

More next time…

– Posted by Luisa Caldwell, Mixed Media/Installation Artist

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About luisacaldwell

artist, mentor for Smart Ready program at Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
This entry was posted in Mentor/mentee posts, Painting/Drawing, Sculpture/Installation. Bookmark the permalink.

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