Saturday, May 18, 2013

Comer Con los Amigos!

On Friday evening, we shared our last meal together. And appropriately, we chose a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan called Cascabel Taqueria. We ate fresh salsa, guacamole, tacos, and burritos! It was a bittersweet meal shared for the last time between new friends.

Andrew's Sketches: Week 3&4

A work in progress...

Unforgettable: Project DUMBO

   I cannot think of a better word to describe this life-altering journey I have experienced for the past month with ten of my peers and friends. My knowledge and exposure of the art world has grown immensely, far beyond what I could have ever imagined! I now know how to survive in a city as massive and compact as New York and, upon my departure, honestly feel as though I can make a living in the art world, granted I still have a few years of college left before that happens. After experiencing this trip in its entirety, nearly all my doubts about joining the art world have been washed away, and I return home more at peace than ever before.

Jay DeFeo's The Rose.
   But what exactly made the greatest impact on me? Well...I would have to say hearing everyone's story - how they got to where they are today. Whether it was Lee Herman, Noah Becker, Cara Lee Sparry, Glenn Fuhrman, Darylynn Ayala or anyone else of the seemingly hundreds of people we met while on this trip who graciously gave their time to us to share a piece of their world with us; each enlightened me personally on a part of the art world that I had no concept of prior and aided me in my own assurance that I in fact do wish to be a professional artist in the New York art scene.

   As I stood in front of Jay DeFeo's The Rose at the Whitney Museum today, I thought to myself how Project DUMBO has been just as rich of an experience as her painting. On this trip I have experienced more "life" than I ever have before, and I think that just goes to show why New York is thee art scene of the world.

  I return home with an abundance of it is time to do something with it!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lee Herman, scientific illustrator, shows us beetle
specimens behind the scenes of the
American Museum of Natural History
The most pivotal lesson I have learned about how to be successful in the art world from Project Dumbo is the ability to market yourself as a person as well as an artist. As it has been repeated from artist to artist, success relied upon meeting someone who could help them network with other important people. Being in a world more connected than ever with Internet, it is easier for artists to contact others and make connections, but often one can get lost in the pure vastness the Internet has to offer. Making it in the art world surely relies upon digital media, but being present, going to gallery openings, studio visits, art fairs, and hangouts can help influence the success of any person pursuing a career in art. Once those connections are made, it is unbelievable how generous people can be with their time and resources. 

 "It's all about who you know.
If no one knows what you know,
than you may as well not know
anything at all."

 -Discussion with Marc and Gina on train
Walking the High Line in Chelsea, NY

 Of course, to make those connections and have discussions with people involved with the art world, it is important to have confidence in yourself and your abilities. It has been reiterated from many of the people we have met that family, friends, lay people and other artists can have a large impact on how one feels about him/herself and their future in the art world, but it is an artist's responsibility to take control of how one will deals with the inevitable judgement that one may face when saying that they are an "artist."
Detail: James Gortner's The Lovers
Sold my first painting in NYC!
The art world has it's own lifestyle, lingo, and group of people who communicate, but it is also family of sorts. To be successful, the ideal of the secluded artist, unaware of the world outside the studio, couldn't be more untrue. They become masters of their subject matter beyond paint and graphite; a true artist strives for dialogue with the viewer through imagery... which often starts with a discussion from a fellow artists or like minded individual. The modern artist must not only be active, but proactive in forming ideas and concepts for future work, but also have a strong basis of what has been done before.

   Jeff Koons Gazing Ball Show
The city truly breathes and appreciates art more than any other place in the world. Marketing yourself in a small town or city is surely doable, especially for a starting artist, but a place like New York offers so much more in terms of exposure, money, and opportunities to grow.

On a more personal note, I have learned the extreme commitment it takes to be an artist, and also the risk. A serious artist spends a good amount of time thinking and planning a piece, to actually working on it, and then fixing it to perfection... when later on, it may or may not sell. To get started, I may have to take on a couple jobs to afford supplies, let alone food or rent, or live with parents. I may have to sacrifice time with loved ones and be more selfish in my endeavours to work in the studio. But it is all worth it when it means to live out my dream. After Project Dumbo, I feel more confident, more inspired, more prepared, and ready to work harder than I ever have before to one day live and breathe New York City as a professional realist painter.

-Christina Nurczynski

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

But DUMBO puts in it's influence just the same.

I've learned to sketch at slightly faster than a snail's pace (progress for me, I assure you), and not have a panic attack when there are imperfections.
Sketch from the Museum of Natural History
 Sketch from the Museum of Natural History

I've learned that it is okay to make something and like it, but at the same time realize that it should probably never be shown to another living soul.
Joseph Stella- Brooklyn Bridge: Variations on an old theme

I've learned that from Joseph Stella and Georgia O'Keefe, to the guy selling his own prints on the street corner, there is no painting of the Brooklyn Bridge I dislike.

I've learned about the power of white walls to transform trash into treasure, and the options of manipulating a show's atmosphere through wall color, floor color, and soundtrack.

I've learned that a textbook "good" paint palette is almost never the most effective way to work. (Wisdom courtesy of Noah Becker)
It's alright to love the concept behind a piece and absolutely hate the execution, and vice versa.
In the same train of thought, I used to think it was okay to not have an idea or meaning behind a piece, but I've learned that's not really true. A piece with no point is kind of useless. I've learned I have a lot of work to do in this area.
I've learned that Pinkberry has the best pomegranate yogurt in the galaxy
I've learned that late night trains sound like hurricane force winds, and movie shoots are inconvenient though still exciting to be around.
I've learned that when you look closely at a painting, you may lose the representational image but you see more of the artist in the brushstrokes than any other part.
Gray Weather- Grand Jatte- George Seurat

I've learned that the art world has infinite opportunities beyond just being the one who produces the work.
I've learned that the NY art scene is a passionate one. Whether it is the creators at fairs, so eager to explain their ideas to strangers who are clearly not collectors, or janitorial staff having it out over the true value of Jeff Koons' latest work.
I've learned that I like New York as a friend, but I'm not sure if I want to take our relationship to the next level quite yet.
I've learned all this and more. This month has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my college life to date, and I've picked up so much information in the brief time we've been here it's going to take months more to even begin process it all, and likely, years to apply it all to life in the real world.

The experience of a lifetime in one month

Between the 14 hours spent in 76 galleries, 30 hours spent eating exotic food together, 5 hours at 5 different artist studios, 22 hours in 8 major museums, 8 hours at 3 separate art fairs, and doing everything in between I have learned an immeasurable amount on this trip. I have taken so much from each place we've visited and every single person we have met, it is almost incomprehensible.

I have learned to confidently navigate the Subway, weave through people on the sidewalk, how to live with ten other people, and as Marc always says "don't block the sidewalk".

But the most important lesson I have taken away from every person we have met from artists to collectors to program directors, dealers, and fashion designers, and even writers is to work hard and to work passionately. Despite the different jobs and duties each person is responsible for, the advice they all suggest is to passionately persevere, no matter what.

I have learned that everyone has felt defeated and scared and would like to give up. But the thing that separates successful people from unsuccessful people is the drive to continue on towards their goals. Undying motivation and perseverance is key to succeeding in your intended career path, whatever that path may be. To hear these artists and other art professionals speak about their work with such passion and raw emotion is remarkably motivating and inspiring to say the very least.

I recently had a conversation with the Flag Foundation's Assistant Director Rebecca Streiman about her personal journey to the position she holds today. She explained how she once discussed her concerns about her career path and her reservations about continuing in the direction she was going to a woman one night who simply replied "work harder". These simple but impactful words have stuck with me throughout this trip and surely will throughout the rest of my life. 

Work harder.

-Maggie Zurbruegg-Ramey

DUMBO and My Future

Project DUMBO is a real-world art crash course. We've met artists, publishers, directors, curators, dealers, writers, critics, and collectors. We've gone to museums and galleries all over the city. I've experienced the art world face-to-face. I've been given a tremendous opportunity to absorb everything that I can, and make something personal out of it. 

Through this exposure, I've come to the conclusion that I want to be a professional artist. After our studio and gallery visits, I've realized I want nothing more than to have my art on the gallery walls. This is the most important thing I've learned. I actually want to do it.  

This trip has provided me with an understanding of how that goal is attained. As Noah Becker said, being an artist isn't about isolation. It requires marketing and business sense- you have to be able to connect yourself with others. The art world is a community of people working together; to be successful, you must be a part of that.

This is the most important thing I've learned; but I've picked up a million other tidbits as well. I can navigate the subways better, I became more familiar with Brooklyn, and I'm certainly better at sketching. After seeing so much art, I know what I want to do at least a little bit more definitively. I can't wait to head into the next year with the knowledge I've gained. My art has become more sharp, and my goals more clear.  

-Jamieson Riling

It's only just begun

Being in New York has opened my eyes to so many new things. I have learned and taken in so much information that has only made me grow stronger as a person and an artist. I would not be able to say that if it were not for this trip.

One thing that I learned and very importantly so is to take all opportunities given to you. Taking all opportunities can only lead to good things. It is important to get your name, your work out there, and meet new people who could potentially help you get father in your career, which is possible by taking different opportunities. It is all about the right time and place for everything, and of course whom you know.

I have learned the only way to do so is by being open, honest and outgoing. Asking questions is the only way to get answers, to learn, and educate yourself and others around you. The more you learn, the more knowledgeable you become in order to do something that you enjoy or love.

I have also learned that when it comes to art, or anything for that matter, practice makes perfect. I have also learned that research is very important and when you find something, you love, such as a specific artist, copy them to become more understanding and connected to that style of work as well as how it does and how you want it to relate to your own work. By doing so you can only learn more, whether it is realizing this is what you want to do or realizing you want to pursue something else.

I have also learned it is important to try new things constantly, whether it has to do with your career or even something as simple as trying new foods. By experiencing new things, it can only lead to new ideas, thoughts, and creativity, which can help with several parts of one’s life. Thanks to this trip, I have taken in an astounding amount of information, a lot more than I thought I would have when originally coming here. Now that the trip is ending, it is my turn to take what I have learned and to use it not only for myself but to help others as well. 

- Renee Bonacci

The best view in the city

Everywhere we go I look up and I look around to try and figure out if that building has as good of a view as we have now. But nothing compares to what I get to see when I look out the window at night or what I get to wake up to. While I always knew that Dumbo meant "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass" I had no idea we'd be directly under the bridge with the best view in all of New York City.
Leaving this amazing view and returning to my bed at home with a view of tree branches will be one of the hardest things about leaving the city.

 -Maggie Zurbruegg-Ramey

What Haven't I Learned From This Trip?

As Project DUMBO comes to an end, the last assignment given was to write a post about what we have learned throughout the past month.  There has been so many great experiences that I didn't even know where to begin.

Walking in as a business major I was slightly concerned how the trip was going to go; would I fit in with all the art majors, will the art world accept me coming in with such little background of art?  But what I have learned is that it doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, what you studied; all that matters is what you do for yourself to get where you want to be.

In regards to the art world, New York City shattered any stereotypes assumed.  (Most) artists aren't crazy people creating art in basements cutting off their own ears.. they are the most caring and enthusiastic people I have ever met.  They are so passionate in their careers that I have seen and personally heard famous artists and collectors say, they are more than willing to help blooming artists get their work out there because that is what opportunities are for, someone has to start somewhere and everyone deserves a chance.
This alone changed my whole perspective on things, where else are people so willing with open hands to help those that need it?  And when opportunities like this are given, you take it.

New York City is a world within itself. The skyscrapers, subways, cabs and people are so diverse and submerged in culture.  Its a beautiful place and I wish I never had to leave. Oh, wait.. I'm not! Starting June I will be interning with Louise Blouin Media in the lower westside.
I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for the opportunity, and I hope it shows that what I have learned on this trip about taking every possibility given to you, because you never know when it can become reality.

Project DUMBO; A Learning Experience

Words cannot properly measure the things that I have learned through out my Project DUMBO experience. I learned not only art lessons, but life lessons that I will carry with me wherever I go. I feel that living in a loft in Brooklyn for a month with eleven other art majors has been an incredible privilege.

I did learn how to do a lot of things. I learned how to navigate a subway. I learned how to call a cab. I learned how to eat with chopsticks, and how to take a really fast cold shower. I learned how to fight off pigeons, and how to fight off drowsiness. I learned the proper way to drink wine. I learned how to find the cheapest food in New York City. I learned how to eat pizza every day. I also learned that when Marc says, "I'm buying lunch today", you order ALL the food.

There were, however, many realizations and epiphanies, if you will, that I came to during my stay in New York City. First and foremost, I gained confidence in my aspired career path. Coming here, I was still unsure of how serious the Art Therapy business can be. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the staff at LAND Studio and Gallery, located in DUMBO, New York. LAND is an education and treatment center focusing on adults with developmental disabilities. There, they generate and showcase the artwork produced by these people. LAND gives people the ability to express their talents and to be recognized as artists. And through talking to the staff of this wonderful treatment center, I gained confidence that my education will be sufficient, and that the lifestyle in which I am willing to pursue is both a rewarding and a creative lifestyle.

Also, I was able to see and experience first hand the countless opportunities that the art world has to offer. Art related careers, with hard work and perseverance of course, are numerous and diverse. I was able to meet and greet artists, visit almost 100 galleries in Chelsea, see many museums, action houses, and openings. I observed both the classical art world and the ever-changing contemporary art world.

Another extremely important realization that I had come to through this trip was the recognition of sense of community in the city. New York City is full of many different people. There are many cultures, lifestyles, and ideas floating around the big apple. But in spite of the differences that all of these people may have, when it comes down to it, New York City is truly one of the strongest and largest true communities that I have ever witnesses. A perfect example of New York City coming together as a community was during 9/11. I had visited St. Paul's Cathedral near Ground Zero. Rummaging through the memorabilia in the cathedral, I learned how supportive the city, and even the nation was as a whole.

On a more personal note, I learned about the many different cultures and the diversity of the people in the city through music, food, clothing, and by simply meeting people. I also made a wonderful new group of friends, with whom I can relate to and be supported by, especially when it comes down to my artwork. This experience had exceeded my highest expectations. I made realizations, learned life lessons, gained confidence in my future, and made a new and wonderful group of friends. I lived in a beautiful loft that overlooked the East River, and most importantly I was able to share this space with eleven exceptional people. I, as well as many other students, am terribly sad that Project DUMBO has neared it's end. If I could do this again, I have no doubt in my mind that I would take advantage of the situation. I will leave with this city soon, but what I have learned from it will come with me wherever I go. I hope to see DUMBO again someday soon.

Jeff Koons

Being able to see Jeff Koons' dual show at Gagosian and David Zwirner Galleries was one of the best parts of our trip. However, one of more difficult parts was not being able to photograph one show and being allowed to photograph the other. Both shows were equally amazing and I desperately wanted to document my many favorite pieces. David Zwirner Gallery housed Koons' white plaster figures with the reflective spheres and Gagosian displayed Koons' stainless steel balloon animals as well as his paintings. It was disheartening that I was able to freely document the work at David Zwirner but not at Gagosian. In a world that seems to depend on and thrive on the use of technology and social media it seems odd that the work of a visual artist cannot be viewed by others through the means of social media or on a camera. While there is no question that these enormous colorful sculptures are better when you are standing right in front of them, it would be nice to have a record of these breathtaking sculptures for future reference and inspiration.
-Maggie Zurbruegg-Ramey

My DUMBO Experience

How Project DUMBO has influenced me

1. Became familiar with the Chelsea Galleries - I had never been to Chelsea before this trip. Visiting galleries and going to the art fairs were new experiences for me. In addition to seeing art within the galleries, I learned more about their function, how they represent artists, how they curate shows, and how it is a full-time job for people. 

2. Learned about Contemporary Artists- Before coming on this trip I had a very small knowledge of contemporary art history. At some point I realized that in order for me to appreciate all of these opportunities we were given, I had to know more about the art world. We went to museums and I did outside research. Now I have a wider knowledge of the contemporary artists. I still only know the basics. I plan to read more art books and magazines over the summer. I see that understanding the history is just as important as understanding the technique.

3. Tried new food Initially I worried about the group dinners because I expected that I would not being able to find food that would accommodate with my gluten free diet. Before each group dinner I would research gluten free dishes from that region. I found that a lot of the Indian, Vietnamese, Egyptian, and Thai foods were safe for me to eat. The group dinners ended up being some of the highlights of the trip so I’m glad I didn’t have to miss out.  

4. I learned how to navigate the subway- I lied, I am very poor with directions so I have just been using an app to help get me places.

... but it's alright though because I never really wanted to leave Dumbo anyway

5. Became more assertive This experience has taught me to be more assertive. In the beginning, I would hesitate to ask questions or even restrain from writing blog posts. I’ve learned that no matter how much I may try, I will say things that I wish I had not.I found that I regretted not asking a question more than when I asked a ridiculous one.  Everyone we met was extremely respectful and informative. Their answers made all of our questions appear more insightful. It became much easier to have discussions with them. Even though I overcame my fear of asking questions, I still have not overcome my fears of birds, rats, gum, or crossing the street. 

Especially towards the end, I questioned my commitment to art. There were times when I would wonder if it was worth the effort. There will probably always be moments of doubt, but that’s when I have some chocolate and just continue drawing. However, there were more times that I could not imagine myself being anything else. This trip helped me to better understand which specific jobs would be best suited for me.  I’ve even been inspired to make more work and to establish my own style of painting. Learning about the challenges that I will have to face just makes me become even more motivated than I was before.