I spent last weekend with the students and faculty of The Florence Academy of Art’s US branch, in Jersey City. The school is set up in the Mana Contemporary complex, click here for an interesting article from the New York Times on the history of the Mana complex. It’s an interesting place to run an atelier-modeled school- not only because of nearby NYC’s endless galleries and museums, but also what’s going on in the building at any time. Right now, there’s a show of Andy Warhol’s silkscreens in the building, as well the Mana Urban Arts Project showing work by Shepard Fairey, Adam COST, a RIME tribute to NACE, and any number of specifically not-traditional-painting-related-things. Clearly the students of the FAA NJ branch will not be able to convince themselves that they are at the forefront of the art world, but in a new niche existing in parallel with the greater art scene, vying for attention. This is probably a healthy bubble for an art student to be developing in, plus- Newark Ave in Jersey City has the best Indian food in the States.
grinding yellow ocher
This branch of the school is new, they’re in their second year. The director of the school, Jordan Sokol had asked me to come to help get the student body started in making their own materials, as many are now beginning to paint after finishing with their Bargues, casts and figure studies, and it seemed to me that I came at the right time. Everyone had lots of questions, and we talked about everything from grinding paint, to oiling out and sinking in.
It’s always nice to have a large group of students that are really hungry for information- they ask such a variety of questions that I don’t really need to ‘lecture’, it’s more like a two day workshop. Here are some photos from the weekend.
talking with the students about different supports, rigid and flexible
sizing linen with rabbit skin glue
mounting raw linen to panel with Rabbit Skin Glue
cooking gesso ground with the students for their panels
We covered a lot- we talked extensively about paint rheology, ground 15 tubes of yellow ocher, around 10 tubes of ultramarine blue, made 17-20 stretched linen canvases with oil ground applied, mounted linen to wood panel with animal hide glue, mounted pre primed linen to aluminum composite material with BEVA 371, cooked and tested rabbit skin glue, cooked a gesso ground, and made 30-odd gesso wood panels. I hope the students enjoy using all the handmade stuff that we made together.
My next weekend materials class will be at the studio in Waltham, on January 21-22nd 2017. Email me if you are interested in joining.