NYAA Leipzig International Artist Residency (LIA) 2012: Final Week

On June 1, Four Academy students arrived in Liepzig, Germany to start an 8-week Artist in Residence Program.  Brian Dang (MFA 2013), Robert Fundis (MFA 2013), Elizabeth Glaessner (MFA 2013) and Noelle Timmons (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.

It's the final week of our residency in Leipzig and its going to be really hard to leave. Our summer show opens this Friday and I think that I share everyone's sentiments here of excitement, eagerness and satisfaction.

Last week we had critiques with David Schnell, who I found to be extremely intelligent, thoughtful and intuitive. He spent a good portion of his afternoon with us discussing our works and answering our many questions about his experiences an artist in Germany. A few days before we had the chance to see some of his prints in Vlado and Maria's print studio. They work with select artists to create prints, mostly etchings, in their space in the Spinnerei. It's really an incredible initiative that has resulted in an extremely impressive number of collaborations with artists such as Neo Rauch, Matthias Weischer, Christian Ruckhaberle and many more. They also work with many young artists and have put on several shows with their prints.

Per Alex Barton's request, we finally visited the legendary antique store. It was definitely worth the visit and I will go back before I leave. I bought two stuffed rodents and a bird which I have incorporated into a piece that I will exhibit in the final show.  On Sunday I went with Kristina to visit the diploma show in Halle. It was a beautiful town and the campus was pretty incredible. The school is known for their design program but there were also many impressive sculptures and paintings displayed.

Today I had the chance to visit the studio of Rosa Loy, an artist whose work I have admired for a while now and who happens to have a studio above us. She was incredibly gracious and I left feeling completely inspired and thankful to have established a connection with such an interesting, intelligent, thoughtful and talented person.  I have experienced so many things in Leipzig that I never would have dreamed of experiencing and the many wonderful people that I have had the chance to talk with have made my time here completely transformative.

This experience has made a huge impact on my work so far and I am now one of the many people who come to Leipzig and return knowing that I will be back.

Now, back to painting!!

Maria and Vlado doing studio visits 

David Schnell studio visit with Elizabeth Glaessner

David Schnell studio visit with Robert Fundis




Potluck supper with other Spinnerei artists

NYAA/Shanghai Univ./CAFA 2012 China Residency: Shanghai in Rear View

On May 31 Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.

July 23, 2012 - By Nic Sanchez (MFA 2013)

Arriving in Shanghai, we hit the ground running and kept the momentum going. With cultural excursions, creating a new body of work, and preparing for an exhibition, our residency has been going at an exhilarating pace. We have experienced a lot and have been very productive. Now, with Shanghai and a little over half the residency behind us, we wanted to wrap up our first leg of the residency and fill everyone in on some of what our time in Shanghai was all about…

Nic & Kristy
Expected to learn a great deal about the foreign culture we are visiting, we also learned a little more about each other and ourselves.  A great part of the residency has been creating bonds. With our trusted translator, Academy alumni, and friend Wang Yi, we were ready to get our hands dirty. 
Professor of sculpture and drawing at the Academy, Harvey Citron joined us here a week into the program and quickly meshed with the group. Much like Gandalf leading the fellowship of hobbits, he spent a great deal of his time with us in and outside of the studio.

More team bonding and resourcefulness occurred during complete power outages at the school, late night studio sessions, early morning bike rides, and trying new foods without a translator!


When we weren't in the studio working, we were out in a tour bus visiting outlying towns and in the surrounding countryside. Traditional farming villages, the awesome Yellow Mountain, Venice-like ancient water towns, the great West Lake, and Buddhist temples were just some of our destinations filled with beauty and history. When given the opportunity to stop and stare in wonder, we attempted to capture what we could in our sketchbooks.

Another enriching part of the residency has been getting to know the people of Shanghai and the students of our host school, Shanghai University. We kept an open studio policy and met interesting new people and made new friends. 

As very obvious foreigners walking the scenic campus, we seemed to be people of interest and very often the studio was filled with Chinese students from different backgrounds of studies and occasional professors coming in to ask us questions about our work, our school, and Facebook and QQ information. Of course we fired right back with questions of our own creating multiple lanes of cultural exchange.
Nic working in his studio
Establishing and working in our studio space, traveling to unbelievable sights, making new friends, and carving what we could of our presence in Shanghai was a remarkable experience. 

Megan working in her studio

There is a lot to be digested and will surely come out somewhere through a brush or stick of charcoal as we continue to move forward. Leaving Shanghai was sad, but we definitely left on a high note as we reached the first of our many goals - our exhibition at the 99 Art Center in the renowned M50 district! 
Watch for our next post about the exhibition…

NYAA Leipzig International Artist Residency (LIA) 2012: Influences in my work

On June 1 Four Academy students arrived in Liepzig, Germany to start an 8-week Artist in Residence Program.  Brian Dang (MFA 2013), Robert Fundis (MFA 2013), Elizabeth Glaessner (MFA 2013), and Noelle Timmons (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer. 

Time had gone by so quickly; I still can’t believe it has been a month so far at Leipzig. It makes me sad to count the days left of trip here in this crazy art town. I can’t describe how wonderful it is to be surround by the many artists that work here and make Leipzig their home.  

Brian with Neo Rauch (and his baby) in the Studio

The energy is positive and uplifting a great sense of an artistic community exists here that I can not compare to anywhere else I have been before. You see the same familiar faces at local drive bars and it is a great feeling to be greeted by many recognized figures in Germany—Neo Rauch, Dave Schnell, Steven Black, Christiane Baumgartner, etc. The culture has influenced my work here directly and indirectly. The biker town of Leipzig and green thumb of the city has woven into my work, incorporating nature with man-made objects. 

Liz and Noelle in Dresden
My consciousness is more awakened at how little I know about the world.  Seeing the rich cultural history of Germany from traveling to places like Dresden where the town has been rebuilt from WWII bombing and Berlin’s GDR era and reunification of the city.   

Brian at the Berlin Wall

I am so privileged to work with accomplish LIA artists from other countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland) and stay engaged in art dialogue. 

NYAA Leipzig International Artist Residency (LIA) 2012: Falling in Love and Tearing Away

On June 1 Four Academy students arrived in Liepzig, Germany to start an 8-week Artist in Residence Program.  Brian Dang (MFA 2013), Robert Fundis (MFA 2013), Elizabeth Glaessner (MFA 2013), and Noelle Timmons (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer. 

by Noelle Timmons (MFA 2013)

It's week six in our residency here in Leipzig, and the multitude of planned events and scheduled critiques will keep flowing through the end of the month. 

Noelle Timmons & Neo Rauch

In June, Rosa Loy and Neo Rauch visited us in our studios, and we not only received thoughtful and thorough words from both artists, but also a promise for a return visit, in order to give us feedback on a larger breadth of work, and in preparation for our final show at the end of the month. 

Edgar Jerins visiting Spinnerei

We also had the arrival of Edgar Jerins just a few weeks ago, and during his first weekend here we took a day trip to Berlin. Anna toured us around the city, and we got just a taste of the amazing capital. My favorites were the Kaethe Kollwitz Museum and the Holocaust Memorial: both were incredibly heavy, touching, and inspiring.  Looking ahead, we will soon get our studios visited by David Schnell, and just tomorrow we will tour the etching studio here at the Spinnerei. 

Noelle's Studio at Spinnerei

With all the art-related-goodness we are experiencing, I've been incredibly motivated, and am getting a true absurdness for my own art practice. As our time is slipping away, I keep thinking, "thank you Leipzig, you have so much to offer..."  We are constantly hearing whispers from other residents, people around the city, all agreeing, to something of the sort, "You will fall in love with it. You will come back to Leipzig." We can all feel the draw of the city, and sense the unique drive of art, and of alternative and underground movements, that do not exist in other cities, at least in not such a potent way. 

And so, we have three weeks left, to keep painting, keep inspired, keep falling in love with our little art city. And three weeks to tear ourselves away from it...

(L-R) Noelle, Elizabeth, Robert, Brian

NYAA/Shanghai Univ./CAFA 2012 China Residency: Impressions

On May 31 Four Academy students arrived in China to start an 11-week Artist in Residence Program in Shanghai and later Beijing.  Cory Dixon (MFA 2013), Megan Ewert (MFA 2013), Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013), and Nicolas Sanchez (MFA 2013) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.

July 4, 2012 - By Kristy Gordon (MFA 2013)

Yellow Mountain
It is said that to be a good painter one must see Yellow Mountain. After visiting I recognized it from almost any Chinese painting I have ever seen involving a mountain range.  The hike was a long rugged way up to the top.  We were able to take a cable car up most of the way and then just walk along some beautiful stairs to get to the top.  When I think about the artists that used to go on pilgrimages up Yellow Mountain, before the benefit of modern technology, it must have been a true challenging spiritual pilgrimage.  Having grown up in the Rocky Mountains of Canada I have seen a lot of mountains, but none have matched the beauty of this particular landscape--lush, gorgeous greenery mixed with striking jagged escarpments.  It is almost so picturesque that it’s hard to believe they exist.  They seem to always be encased in mist and even though it was actually pouring rain the day we went up, that didn't seem to stop anyone.  Everyone on the mountain was prepared with yellow rain ponchos, which we joked is why it is called Yellow Mountain.

Yellow Mountain

Ancestor House

 We also got to visit a nearby traditional village where we saw an ancestor house, which was built to honor their ancestors and use as a meeting place.  We even had the opportunity to go inside some traditional Chinese houses, many filled with intricate wood carvings. 

Woodcarving detail
Ancestor House "woodcarvings"

Ancestor House "Heavenly Well"

They all had a “Heavenly well,” an open air portion in the middle of the home that is open to the sky with a rocky indent in the floor directly underneath, symbolic of the connection between heaven and earth.  It was amazing to think that people actually still lived in these gorgeous homes, and I was surprised to see a mix between more contemporary fashion and products within older, traditional dwellings. 


Impression on West Lake

We ended the trip with one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I was a bit tired by the time we arrived at “Impression on West Lake,” which was a performance directed by Zhang Yi Mou, the same guy who directed the opening to the Beijing Olympics.  I hadn’t seen that so I had no idea what I was in for.  

Impression on West Lake

It was amazing! Focusing on theatrical lighting illuminating the lake in the darkness, the stage appeared to be invisible; the actors appearing to walk on water. Light was put into motion by black clad performers, schools of fish and flocks of birds created by synchronized choreography. 

The show was a new interpretation of a well-known tale of forbidden love: a girl disguising herself as a boy in order to go to the university and living with a man who discovers she’s a woman and they fall in love.  Since he is poor and she’s from a wealthier family, her father arranges a different marriage. Bereft, the young lover kills himself.  Upon hearing of his death, the girl jumps into his grave and two white butterflies fly out.  

Impression on West Lake

I have gained so much inspiration from this residency already.  It is always hard to say how an experience in another country will influence my work, and sometimes the impact is indirectly related to the new setting.  Almost every aspect of this trip so far has involved mist and smoke of some form and worked its way into the content of my paintings.  In just three days we travel from Shanghai to Beijing and I am excited to see how this new setting will influence all of our work.