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Adele Wayman Retirement Celebration

April 18, 2014

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If you can remember a few months ago,

I wove words together to make rhythm show.

A poem was such a good way to display

All the things my painting class learned that day.

 

Adele’s been at Guilford for four decades now,

She’s impacted us all and I hope this says how.

So as a tie in to that one, here which I’ve linked,

A bittersweet wrap-up will do nicely, I think…

 

This past weekend a merry get-together was had -

And absolutely nothing anyone said was bad.

I brought my Nana – yes, Adele, she was there!

We listened intently to what everyone shared.

 

I was later than most but still got to hear

Other art teachers share stories from their years.

Up came Roy – whom we were all glad to see -

Telling Adele’s part in how his Guilford life came to be.

 

Former students were there too, only saying nice things,

With Adele, good stories are the only ones to bring,

Because even when times get rough in her class,

Everything only happens to get us on track fast.

 

Three faculty were students, (Terry, Charlie, and Mark in fact).

Their methods were molded from watching Adele’s tact.

She can get what she wants and show what you need,

Never sacrificing a student’s own way to succeed.

 

Maia came in and spoke completely unscripted,

She truthfully described Adele as “flexible but rigid.”

So many of us laughed and nodded to agree

Whispering to others, “If you’d been in her class, you’d see!”

 

Adele has this way of always working with you,

Compromising if, like me, you’re stubborn too.

Helping us along in the correct direction,

And allowing us to keep our own affections.

 

At some point during this, we heard from a very special two,

They thanked us for coming and – wait, do you need a clue?

They got us a little choked up by the time they were done…

They were none other than a certain husband and son.

 

I wasn’t able to stay past this part in the day,

And, while there, I was too shy to stand up and say

Before I took a painting class with Adele last semester,

I would’ve said I found painting to be quite the pester.

 

So thanks for showing this control-freak drawing major

That I really didn’t need to be such a painting-process hater.

Letting go and learning to paint with those oils

Is no longer a part of my character foil.

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Revisting Narratives with Romare Bearden

April 16, 2014

When I think about where I come from I return to the first house I ever lived in. It was a pale pink, or peach as my dad liked to argue, with olive green shutters. The inside was reminiscent of the 70′s with green tiled floors and wood paneled walls. My room was all the same shade of light purple from carpet to ceiling and had a large window that faced the back yard. The living room was where I spent most of my time sitting on our white, spongy couch watching Free Willy with my older sister, Alice. She was my role model. I would do everything with her, even if it annoyed her. This is where I come from; the place where I identify, where my personal history and experience reside.

In my opinion, there is no better artist that creates a sense of history, personal identity and experience than Romare Bearden. At the Greenhill until June 22nd is Select Collection: Romare Bearden from Mr. Lou Milano containing 87 lithographs, etchings and screenprints by Bearden from different parts of his career — Mecklenburg County, Pittsburgh and Harlem. A North Carolina native, Bearden makes work that have memories of personal history embedded in them. He was an active member of the Civil Rights art group, The Spiral, during the 60s and 70s. It was in this group that he began (re)constructing experiences by using collage and one of the first artists to start a dialogue about life as an African American in the United States.

The collection is truly incredible. It includes some of my favorite prints including The Train and Morning (Carolina Morning), but also images from his time during the Harlem Renaissance such as Out Chorus and Bopping at Birdland (Walking Bass). I really enjoyed seeing variety in Bearden’s work, ranging from photo collage to mixed media collage to color blocking collage. Each artwork comes to life with its captured/reconstructed action, vibrant color use, and texture.

I feel like Romare Bearden is telling me a story when I look at his work. It is one that on many levels I cannot relate to, but I don’t think relating to it is the point. He made his art to tell his story about his life as an African American living in the south during the Civil Rights movement. He owns that story in every way possible because it is his experience.

In Modern Art History, taught by Kathryn Shields during the spring of 2012, Kathryn asked us to do research on an artist from this period and create an artwork inspired by our chosen artist. I chose, you guessed it, Romare Bearden. I thought about how I would tell my story and what images, textures, colors and people I would use to own my story.

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So I went back to the idea of showing where I came from. I chose an image of Alice and myself reading books with each other, sitting on that spongy couch that sat in front of our wood paneled wall. While creating this, I felt myself returning to this space. I felt the couch again, the blankets, my attachment to my sister and how it felt to be in this moment again.

To get an idea of the collection of Bearden prints at the Greenhill Gallery, located at the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center, check out the online catalog.

Alumni Spotlight| Nicole Lane ’13

April 11, 2014

Right now, a slowly shrinking number seems to be on my mind all the time. Today it is 35. Tomorrow, 34. As I inch closer and closer to graduation day, plans for the future seem to be calling my name, louder and louder as that number disappears. I am finding there are many ways to face graduation fearlessly, and my current tactic is networking. I am talking to everyone I can, getting advice and my name out there. This week, I turned to recent graduate and former Hand/Eye writer Nicole Lane. What started out as two friends catching up turned into poignant comments on topics that we as a blog have been wrestling with all semester. She gave me some amazing advice and it would be a crime by me to not share it with all of you.

During her time at Guilford, Nicole was a photo major with a deep passion for writing. Through classes with Kathryn Shields and writing for Hand/Eye, her former dream of being a writer and her artistic passion collided. Now that the North Carolina native has picked up and moved to Chicago, she is able to write and photograph in a community where art, as she says “basically falls at your feet.” As a young artist and writer, she considers her new home to be a dream, filled with opportunities to explore and find inspiration, particularly with her writing. For the moment, Nicole is a contributing writer for two art-based webzines, Parallel Planets and Gapers Block, as well as resident “social media extraordinaire” for arts center Corks and Brushes. That’s where word of advice #1 comes in: “Try to apply to something new everyday.” She admits, “The internet might not be the greatest thing in the world but take it, run with it, use it as an advantage.” Whether it is applying for jobs or submitting art to studios, we are in a time where sending an email or two can go a long way.

Nicole is following this first piece of advice in her artistic practice as well. In post-grad land, her work has only continued to flourish. Her subjects are looked at from a voyeuristic perspective and every piece feels a bit like a found object. She shoots with both color and black and white film, but her continued passion is alternative processing. Up on her website she has a few different methods on display, but her work with painted caffenol is special. By revealing the exposed image through brush strokes, this method embraces her voyeuristic point of view both visually and conceptually (one example shown below). Nicole has found post-grad to allow for a lot more experimentation with her work. School was not the best place for her to explore her sexuality and self-portraits, particularly when it came to critque. “The whole ‘selfie’ bullshit really dampened some of my experience because there was always someone who commented on the fact that I took a picture of myself (AND exposed my boob, oh no!) Now, I don’t have to worry about that anymore and I have the ability to explore my own body and my own identity freely.” What’s really exciting is her slow acceptance into galleries in Chicago. A little risk taking, both in her practice and by putting herself out there, is getting her far. That is her piece of advice #2: take risks in your practice, be bold, and get out there!

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Nicole is making strides out in the big scary “real world” and she knows how exceptional that is only one year after graduation. “I know that some art students find it difficult to adapt to the outside world once they graduate due to the lack of critiques, an artistic family and a Maia Dery shaking her finger in your face telling you to be more ‘assertive’.” Diving head first and taking risks has been her motto and most of the reason for her success, but she recognizes that Guilford missed out on some big ways to prepare her and she had some catching up to do the summer after graduation. “Guilford didn’t teach me how to make a website, how to get my art out in the world or tell me that I should get business cards. I didn’t really even know how to write an artist statement.” These elements are where many of our art students struggle post-Guilford, but when it comes to social necessities, like fitting in to a community and embracing independence, we thrive. So you heard it here, Guilford student, advice #3: get yourself out there, especially as an artist. Buy business cards, create a web presence, and make yourself and your art seen.

While she is a huge advocate of getting yourself out there when it comes to jobs in post-grad life, Nicole would say it’s even more important for students to do that NOW. “Y’all need to get OUT of Guilford and out and around IN Greensboro. Take a step outside of the campus and explore North Carolina before you graduate. I don’t care if you have a test tomorrow. I REALLY don’t care whose having a party tonight. If you don’t have a car, ask a friend who does.” Take the time while you still can to take the adventures you want to take, make the mistakes you need to make, and create memories and experiences that will shape you. Plunge in head first, and maybe one day pass along these words of advice to another nervous and excited pre-graduate.

To see all of her work, visit Nicole’s website at www.snicolelane.com.

 

 

First-Year Perspective on Guilford’s Art Requirement

April 7, 2014

Since Guilford College has been tweeting and sending out congratulations to all the incoming First-Years for fall 2014, I thought I might play up a bit of why the arts requirement is important to take and then share it with all these fresh, new faces via social media. The brick wall I hit was realizing this meant I would have to interview multiple current first-year students.

Interviews are weird and awkward. I’ll be the first to admit it. So a self-assigned article in which I must interview not one, but five people…I was a little daunted. What if my recorder breaks? (It did, *groan.*) What if I misquote someone? (I might! *Gasp!*) What if Google Drive crashes and all my interview questions and answers are lost and I have to frantically find the backup, praying it’s still intact? (Yeah, that happened, too.) The horrible possibilities are endless. So, as an antidote to any possible screw-ups or mishaps with today’s article, I devised an absolutely fool-proof plan (rubbing my hands together, chuckling, no less)…I would interview the five first-years I needed feedback from – drumroll, please – short essay style!

That’s a great plan, Hannah! Nothing could be weird or awkward there, Hannah!

Except it completely threw off what I was going to write about in the first place.

But isn’t that why interviewing people is so beautiful anyway? And this article is now, arguably, much better for it. You see, these awesome First-Years who graciously answered my questions and allowed me to photograph them, had some truly powerful and positive things to say about why they believe the arts requirement is, indeed, important to them personally.

But one of my questions received basically the same answer each time – How might the things you’ve learned in an art class be used in other areas of your academic study?

“I don’t know…”

 “My major doesn’t have anything to do with art…”

 “…it doesn’t contribute to my career.”

You see where my brilliant, Q&A style interview technique backfired now, don’t you? So did I. They answered truthfully to a question I presented to them without any preconceived notions about how they actually are being impacted in the rest of their academic and social lives. This was my downfall. I had expected their answers to confirm for me what I already believed, but instead it caused me to have to prove it.

With the help of some research* I dug up from my Arts in Education class I took back when I was a First-Year, I’m compiled a short list that I hope is proof-worthy,  intriguing, thought-provoking, and most importantly, relatable to whatever your major may be.

  • Creating art helps maintain creativity and discover untapped creative potential. The possibilities discovered are helpful and sometimes unexpected.

  • “Art teaches critical thinking rather than getting the right answer.”

  • The arts embrace all perspectives and allow students to do the same in other fields. This means we can use the skills found through art when working in groups and listening. Sitting in on an art critique just once will help anyone see what cooperation and helpful criticism is. Critical thinking skills and patience  are relevant in all academic studies.

  • The arts opens up doors to learning about other cultures. Many Guilford arts classes also fulfill the Diversity in the U.S. requirement. Learning about and embracing diversity is key to any career.

This is a very broad-spectrum list, trying to cover lots of outlets, so I encourage you to think about how you might utilize skills you learned through making or performing art and then let everyone know about it in the comments!

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To the students I interviewed – I hope this doesn’t seem like I’m trying to get back at you for not knowing what to write for that question. My written interview style was a bad idea, but what came of it gave me something much more interesting to think and write about, so thanks!

To future students of Guilford – the arts requirement is tons of fun and can benefit you in more ways than probably everyone can fathom. Go forth and be creative in fine art, theatre, dance, music…whatever keeps the creativity boat afloat.

To the future President of Guilford – please keep the arts in mind during your administration. We might seem a little eccentric (okay, we’re a wacky bunch) but we are also highly dedicated and motivated student-creatives who found our calling doing what we love – keeping the world entertaining, friendly, open-minded, and beautiful.

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*(This is the link I found in my research notes)

Let’s Get Real: Photo II/III

April 4, 2014

Last Tuesday afternoon I decided to visit the photo studio, except on my way there I realized, “Wait…where exactly is it?”. That’s right, I’m a senior art student and I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know where to find the photo studio in Hege- Cox until last week. It’s a tough place to find and while seemingly hidden away in the basement of the building, this space is by no means discrete.

Over the past week I had the opportunity to hang out with fellow art students and Maia Dery for Photo II/III. The class is composed of students at various places in their photography exploration. Everyone is given the option to either follow a provided syllabus or create a production plan, a DIY syllabus in which students are responsible for setting personal deadlines, creating projects and finding an area of focus. The in-class experience is highly collaborative; everyone is in constant conversation with one another, discussing theories and concepts of photography, workshopping or critiquing work.

Julia Breskin, ’14, is apart of Photo II and chose to create her own syllabus: “My intention is to take my semester’s body of work and transform it into a cookbook composed of Spanish-Jewish fusion food, based on my family heritage.  Along with taking pictures I am writing my own annotated recipes. These pictures are part of a series of food portraits and process shots of Israeli Gazpacho.”

Now I must admit that I am not a photographer and furthermore know very little about photography. In fact, I would even go as far to say that I’m afraid of the camera — it gets a little too real for me.

Realness is unavoidable in photography. Photographs disclose, expose, acknowledge and tell the truth of our reality. At the same time though, they create beauty. This is exactly what we discussed on Tuesday from Susan Sontag’s On Photography, one of the most influential and referential photographic criticisms of our century.

According to Sontag, photography transforms reality, whether harsh or ordinary, into something beautiful. It takes the tough, everyday reality and create an unexpected or sometimes shocking beauty. By the Thursday critique I better understood my fear. The camera scares me because in a way, that is what it’s suppose to do. It approaches the unapproachable, acknowledges and exposes beauty from the ordinary and makes us look closer at what we easily pass by. Looking at students work I began to realize more and more that photography captures parts of life that I so often miss out on, even though I may interact with it everyday.

For example, James Escobedo, ’14, takes a look at identity and representation in his photography by exposing notions of racial hierarchy and gender identity: “This concept is important for me because I live in-between the borderlands of race, gender, sexual orientation and class. I never have the chance to explore what kind of impact this has on my out look on life and how I interact with the world. In collaboration with my models I want to discover what effect that living on boarders has on personal relationships. The focus of this project, in a visual sense, is the use negative spaces and how they impact relationships.”

Needless to say, big things are happening in the photo lab. Photographers are making photos of the everyday as it is relevant to their lives. These photographs are beautiful. They make you want to talk and ask questions. I encourage everyone to go to the studio and ask the people there what they are making photos of and why. You’ll leave knowing more than you did when you first arrived.

 

 

 

Access and Expression: Draw-A-Thon 2014

April 1, 2014

On the first warm evening of the spring, I walked up the stairs of Hege-Cox and entered an artistic sanctuary. With all of the doors and windows open on the third floor, a cool breeze and artistic energy flowed through the drawing, painting, and print studios. For the first time during my four years at Guilford, I attended Draw-A-Thon, an annual community event created to give students an opportunity to practice sketching live models.

The event is a six and a half hour sketch-fest, with live music, snacks, and most notably, live models. Though the studios on the third floor of the art building are open, each room is dedicated to a time interval for posing (fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, and an hour) and all had their own personality. The drawing studio, the fifteen-minute room was more sporadic, the print lab was thirty-minutes and was calm and collaborative, and the hour-long room, the painting studio, felt serious and individualistic. I spent the majority of my evening in the print studio, indulging in the music and soaking in the creativity of my peers.

Draw-A-Thon has existed for years as an accessible space for figure drawing to the whole community. What has always been an art department sponsored event is now attended by students from across the school’s population. In the main room alone, there was everyone from senior thesis students to first-years, professors and athletes, hobbyists and even non-Guilford students. How special is this one space that it brings together parts of our entire campus over a common goal, expression.

I asked one of this year’s student coordinators, Conway Boyce ’15, about why this event is so important. “Drawing models is a specific experience,” he explains. “Drawing what you see and what you think you see are two different things. This event gives our community a chance to practice focusing on aesthetic not just anatomy.” While access is hugely important with Draw-A-Thon, he brings up an interesting point. So much of our artistic experience is expression of the world around us. In the arts, we have found ways to critique and describe others art, but we are still interpreting an experience. The difference between what we see in the physical world and what we think we see are in fact totally different, but that is particularly highlighted when sketching live models. We can see the curves of a hip, the slight texture to different parts of the skin, the shallow indent of a clavicle, but is that expressed in a sketch? Is that even necessary? Draw-A-Thon provides not just access to art, but a chance to learn the difference between aesthetic and anatomy, as Conway put it.

As a first time attendee of Draw-A-Thon, I had a few expectations. Mostly, I thought being around so many nude models, that are also fellow students, would be awkward for me. But that gut-reaction, that hesitance and discomfort, passed within seconds of entering the space. Whether they were experienced models or first-timers, the collaborative and professional atmosphere of the space totally negated the vulnerability of nudity amongst peers. However, the live music and the access to space and materials was a bit of a let down. Music is crucial to encouraging expression and cutting the silence of a live drawing session, but the artists who were booked didn’t match the mood of the room. I wanted something soothing, maybe instrumental, but found the often loud singing and and guitar playing to be sensory overload. The thought behind the event came through and had a successful turn out, but the intention behind the planning was a bit lacking.

Though I am critical, I am so excited by the access and audience of Draw-A-Thon this year. I hope that as students and a department, we can find a way to harness the energy and participants to continue collaboration between art students and the rest of the school. When have you had unexpected access to creative expression? What does that do for you and your creative process? Comment below and start the conversation!

Don’t Forget Layout! Behind the Scenes at The Guilfordian

March 27, 2014

They’re the ones you might forget about when you’re reading the newspaper, but they also happen to be one of the most important teams behind it’s production. Imagine if no one was there the make sure articles were uniform or pictures were the right size…The Guilfordian would be a hot mess, and it certainly wouldn’t be the award-winning college newspaper we’ve come to expect every Friday.

Upon entering the main lobby of Founders, newly renovated in 2012 and updated to fit more specific needs of the newspaper staff and other Guilford organizations, if you travel through the clear glass doors to your left, you’ll find yourself standing in the Student Organizations and Media Commons, a spacious area full of anything media-related you could possibly need. It’s like if Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory stopped making candy, instead assigning the Oompa Loompas the meticulous new task of building tablets and laptops. If you continue onward, you can take a right into the realm of the layout staff – the Pub Suite. Upon entering, you are greeted by the familiar hum of technology, ticking of fingers typing rapidly on keyboards, and an overabundance of mouse clicks. Michaela Beggins, ‘16, one of two layout editors, rolls around in a wheeled chair giving directions and answering everyone’s questions patiently, including mine.

“I enjoy working with the layout staff because it’s when I get to be artistic. I love being creative, but I don’t really make traditional art like the art students – this is my creative outlet,” Michaela says, “I also really love getting in here with the whole staff – we spend a lot of time together and we’ve gotten really close. We get silly, but we’re professional, too. This is our chance to use art in a professional way.”

Using art in a professional way is a big part of just about any job today. Artists are found everywhere, and this idea is crucial. You might not be drawing from life or painting en plein air, but you need people with a creative outlook on your team in what our parents like to call the “real world”, wherever you end up. This is why it’s frustrating to the layout staff that no one seems to recognize the sheer amount of work they put into The Guilfordian on a daily basis. “I wish people knew how meticulous everything is, because you have to get these tiny, minute things perfect. You might not necessarily notice if something was off, but we do. It might take half an hour to make sure one word is in the right place. It’s a lot of time, effort, and fiddling,” says layout staff member Gloria Hoover, ‘15.

Everyone I spoke to agrees on this point, and I know we as creatives can sympathize. Think for a second: How often have you slaved over a work of art, only to have your audience casually glance over it, not even taking into consideration how long it took? Pretty frustrating.

Despite the fact that they’re doing a necessary job that gets overlooked, morale is high. While I was in there, I was well aware of how close these people are and how hard they work making our newspaper look as amazing as possible. And hey, next time you’re enjoying the Quakeria’s Pizza or chicken nuggets from The Grill while you read your copy of The Guilfordian, take a moment to shuffle through the pages, thinking about all the hard work behind the blocks of text and pictures – the layout staff deserves it!

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