Recounting the Final Weeks of First Semester

By Ian Factor (MFA 2014)

Tomorrow is New Years Eve 2013...We're Still Here...Ready For More!

Hard to believe the first semester at the New York Academy of Art has come and gone already. It's been a wild ride since my last post with this month being a super-human push to get everything done, scrambling to catch up after the week away from school due to Hurricane Sandy. Since it's been a while, I've included almost 60 images here from the end of the semester, which is still just a tiny fraction of all the experiences in the last few weeks.

I spent about 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week at the Academy, about half that time in class and the other half in studio. Here's a shot of my studio by the end of November:

My Studio, working on "Self Portrait #4".

I was told by many current second year students as well as many graduates of the NYAA that "It's incredible how fast the time goes here, soak up every second."  It's true. I can't believe how fast it all went.

Another thing commonly mentioned is, "It's an unbelievable amount of work and the first semester is the toughest and most demanding." I thought I was prepared for anything thrown at me...I can now say without hesitation that it has been one of the most intense and challenging experiences I have ever had. The sheer amount of information passed has been overwhelming, frankly impossible to absorb all of it, it'll take years to fully digest even a small fraction. In the first month of class I felt I had learned more than I had in the last 12 years of my own personal studies, research and painting full time. Towards the end of the semester, just the classroom information alone was so dense and deep that I literally felt that my brain would explode.

Aside from the immense growth from class-time and homework, the experiences and knowledge gained during the countless conversations with other students has been just as enlightening, educational and inspiring. The community here constantly amazes me and never ceases to energize and motivate. It is an honor to be a part of this magical and surreal place. 

Tearing it up at the NYAA...
Now, a week into winter break, and a bit caught up on my sleep, I can't wait to be back. I miss the energy, passion, stimulation and constant push of creativity and ideas. 

Before I get into the main body of this blog, first thing I'd like to do is to send out a HUGE THANK YOU to all my Teachers and Teacher Assistants (TAs) for everything that you've imparted to me this semester. I have so much gratitude for the time, energy and passion you put into your work and in turn your students. With the almost impossible expectations I had coming into the program, though I tried not to have any, it's easy to say without a doubt that I never expected it to be this good, this fulfilling, this humbling, this intense and this immediately life altering. I am moved beyond description by what I've learned in such a short time. Only time will tell how I'm able to manifest it into my work and life. I am thrilled to have 3 more semesters to dig deeper and go farther...

Il Maestro Wade Schuman Critiquing our fourth Self Portraits, Painting I.
Randy McIver, the Anatomy Genius working with
our Ecorches in Constructive Anatomy I.
Randy with his amazing Ecorche.
Steven Assael, Master Draftsman pointing out the
"Shadow Shapes" in one of his sketches, Drawing I.
Another one of Steven's remarkable drawings.
I'm just at the very beginning of the process, the treasure hunt, still wandering though a forrest, I have a map but can't quite read it all, or understand it all, but I know treasure awaits, and as I struggle to understand the directions and work my way through the heavy undergrowth to break free (from my own ego?), I am acutely aware of every step, every scent, every sound and every beautiful moment of light streaming between the tall trees, dappled against the wet leaves through the steam rising from the softly wet mossy forrest floor. I am not lost, I am wide awake, and I know that the true treasure lies not in some buried cave but within the process, the way and experience unfolds into truth and growth. This is the real gold.

My Anatomy Class with Randy McIver at the helm on the last day,
our Ecorches displayed.

Below are some moments and memories from the last month of the Fall Semester 2012. Some images have captions, some are grouped into similar events with the titles and descriptions above. For those reading this who are not now, or have not ever been a student at the New York Academy f Art, feel free to contact me with any questions about my experiences thus far or leave questions in the blog comments area, there's only so much I can put here in the blog.

Spring semester starts January 22. Come visit the Academy!

In the meantime, wishing everyone a healthy, happy, creative and successful 2013!

Process Images of "Self Portrait #3" Using the "Dead Palette", 3 Colors:
Cool Black, Flesh Ochre and Yellow Ochre.
Oil on Canvas 40" x 30" ©Ian Factor 2013

Stage One
Stage Two
Stage Three
Stage Four

Aleah Chapin (MFA 2012, Fellow 2013), my studio neighbor
Aleah's Workspace

Deck the Walls 2012

Dean Peter Drake
Alonsa Guevara (MFA 2014) working the welcome desk
Gaetanne Lavoie (MFA 2013) preps her work while the models break
Shannon Kenny (MFA 2013) in the spirit

NYAA Marathon Drawing Night: 9 Hours and 4 models!

A few of us enjoyed the dedication of the old "Sargent Room" to my dear friend and mentor Everett Raymond Kinstler and the unveiling of his portrait of Christopher Plummer at the Players Club on Gramercy Park. That's Sargent's painting of Edwin Booth, the founder of The Club.

Ray accepts the honor of the new "Kinstler Room".
Christopher Plummer speaking about sitting for Ray.
Kathleen Marie Skirvan (MFA 2014) and Kerry Roy Thompson (MFA 2014)
in the "Booth Bedroom" at the Players Club.

A few priceless moments during my journeys around the Academy...
Sometimes a power nap on the studio floor is in order.

Guno Park (MFA 2011), setting up the projector for a lecture.

Dan Thompson drawing demo.

Cozy in the Library - 
Madeleine Hines (MFA 2014) and Bill Logan (MFA 2014).
Alexis Hilliard (MFA 2014) in the front lobby.
Sarah Elise Hall at the front desk
practicing with her new "Commuting Hipster" look.

And in the midst of the semester I moved to a new apartment in the East Village.
LOVING the neighborhood and proximity to school! (Thank you WS!!!)

Wade Schuman gives a three hour tour through The Met, 
a completely awesome experience. His knowledge is unfathomable
and his passion and enthusiasm for teaching is unmatched.

Mid-Year Crits for the second year students...Incredible showing of some spectacular works and some very intense critiques. Two full days, Damn! (No pressure...)

A few of the studies I did for my "History and Theory Of Composition And Design Class:

"Edge Resolution" assignment - 6"x6" Monochromatic study, oil on panel.
Copy of Ruben's "Study of a Head" from the MET.

Detail of imprimatura stage from a Baroque Modality
assignment, final piece is 18" x 24" Oil (Still in progress).
Another Detail of imprimatura stage, Baroque Modality.

Here's a selection of some of my "final" works for Painting I.

I completed 17 paintings for this one class alone.

Final Crit Day.
Here's my final Self Portrait Assignment, Painting I.
We had to do a self portrait without a literal
physical representation of our current selves.
This is me as an old chess player in
Washington Square Park, NYC.
48" x 36" Oil on Canvas (Still in Progress).

Self Portrait #4 - Oil On Canvas - 60" x 36"
For those who know the area, this is right in front of the Academy,
looking West on Franklin St, the Academy flag flying overhead.

...and last but not least, studying for my Anatomy Final Exam,
Coffee and Bones. 

Ian Factor (MFA 2014) will be blogging here throughout the academic year about his first year at the Academy and moving to New York City.  Check the label "First Year Experience" or "Ian Factor" for more posts about his first year at the Academy.