The Art Students League has always captured my imagination: it’s the perfect blend of the unconventional and the tried-and-true qualities that define a good art school. I’ve always wanted to take one of these summer courses in high school, but I never had the opportunity to do so. When I was attending high school, my illustration teacher, Mr. Weinstein, offered me to sit in on one of Max Ginsberg’s Alla Prima classes. It was a culture shock for me because I’ve never sat in an environment that took my passion for the arts so seriously. The new atmosphere had a tremendous impact on my artistic psyche.

As I drew, I entered an automatic flow state, giving me a sense of hyperfocus, as if I was floating in zero gravity, aware of the three-dimensional space of my surroundings. Never in all my years have I focused so hard on drawing in a room full of professionals. The only different experience I had at the League was the Fall-Spring Saturday online oil painting class with Amy Weiskopf. I learned a lot about color and composition that year, but it didn’t have the same effect as attending a class in person, where the room had its natural adrenaline, and you wouldn’t need any caffeine to keep you awake.

As I begin my first semester at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), I want to get an advantage over my peers and push myself creatively. A steady summer program and commitment to the League will adequately prepare me for my first year of college. My goal is to develop my sketching and painting abilities, particularly in the areas where I can use my observational skills and creative ideas. I tend to overthink things as I create my art, and I must remind myself that it takes decades to perfect your craft. Most artists will continue to practice and hone it throughout their careers. The kind of guidance I am looking for comes from someone who has dealt with similar issues before, so an instructor of that nature would benefit me tremendously.

As a student, I focused on drawing from observation as part of my illustration investigation. My goal in putting up this portfolio was to get people to look at commonplace items in new ways while developing and refining the art of observational sketching. Nature, architecture, and backdrops were my primary interests. Because we see these things every day, we tend to take them for granted.

As a result of what I saw, the process became more precise and comprehensive. It was the natural antidote for my imagination.

Pablo Picasso’s cubism movement profoundly affected me. It is common for Picasso to design a cubist rendition of the face that resembles an African mask. He would reduce the figure to its most basic forms by taking out detail. I appreciate how abstract art uses nonrepresentational shapes to convey meaning and truth. Nothing in a painting has to match reality or be a representation of the tangible world around us in any way. In its own right, it is free to be interpreted in whatever way the user chooses. Having always been a realist, abstraction was a refreshing change from my typical approach.

But of course, as I begin a new chapter in my life, it’s only natural for me to reflect on the past. In the future, I’d want to create in a style that incorporates elements of realism and abstraction since both have significantly impacted my perspective on painting. As someone who dreams of becoming a prolific artist, I aim to become a “triple threat” in the entertainment industry by specializing in writing, drawing, and animation.

School of Visual Arts
Cornelia T. Bailey Scholarship-2022
Russian/ Ukrainian

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