Camila's Take Home a Nude

If you have no idea what Take Home a Nude is and the importance of this event let me explain.  The Academy has many events throughout the year.  Take Home a Nude takes place at Sotheby's, a prominent auction house in Manhattan's Upper East Side and each year many artists and students donate their artwork for Take Home a Nude's silent auction.
Events like these are very important for the future of the school thanks to the supporters and the generosity of the artists.  We the students benefit from all the Academy has to offer.  Current students and alums donate their time and work as volunteers, too. If you see a red t-shirt around, that is one of us!

This year I had the opportunity to attend. The space was beautiful and the exhibited artwork was flawless.  
Talking with some of the New York Academy of Art's supporters and patrons made me realize how serious they were about seeing our development. I felt truly motivated by their interest in our success. During our conversation they expressed how amazing the artwork created by the students were and how proud they were to see such quality work in the auction.  It made me feel like I was talking with a family member.
Just a couple of minutes after the opening, the room was filled with celebrities, models, art collectors, personalities from the worlds of fashion and design.

From room to room the silent auction took place and was filled with exciting  moments before each hot lot closed. Each room had a few gallery sections, which were closing consecutively to their respective number, preceding the live auction.

The silent auction happened incredibly fast, and within a few hours all the walls started to be cleared, a sign of great success.   Certainly those pieces found a new home.

By the last hour some of the artwork by renown artists went for live auction.  This year we had works by Walton Ford, Cindy Sherman, Santi Moix.

I can't wait for the next event.  Its good to know as students the patrons and collectors have their eyes on us, watching our progress and looking for us to succeed.

Next post I will be introducing you to some of the Academy students and showing a little bit of the diversity the Academy has.


Camila Rocha (MFA 2015) will be blogging here throughout the year about her first year at the Academy and moving to New York City.  Check the label "First Year Experience" or "Camila Rocha" for more posts about her first year at the Academy.  If you have any questions for Camila, please leave them in the comments section of the blog. 

All photographs taken by Nolan Conway.

On View: Robert Plater (MFA 2013) with First Street Green

Walking past First Park in the Lower East Side my eyes are immediately drawn to the cool aquas and warm yellows of Robert Plater’s (MFA 2013) aquatic themed mural.  Plater is the first Academy artist selected to participate in First Street Green’s cultural programming. First Park, located at 33 E. 1st Street in Manhattan, is an open art space that serves the Lower East Side community by engaging with contemporary artists, designers, architects, community groups and cultural institutions through a series of programs that activate this busy public space.

On a warm sunny day, I had the opportunity to watch Robert in action and talk with him about his experiences at and beyond the Academy. “Applying for the First Street Green opportunity was an easy 1-2-3 step process,” Plater recalled.  “I had a food chain idea for the mural.  I submitted my proposal, sent a drawing and link to my website and that’s was that.  It was pretty easy"

A few months later, Plater is now on site translating his design into a large scale mural. “Painting outside is a different experience.  The visibility is unmatched.  You are faced with many unique challenges and in many ways working against light and aware of its limitations.  The noises are different.  And it’s more interactive.  I’m more excited to talk to people.  The studio can be a chore.  In this open space people don’t even ask to take pictures, it’s public so they feel like the art belongs to them.   I get to do a lot of thinking out here, a lot of talking to myself.  I feel more confident and less doubtful. “

Influenced by street art and graffiti, Plater came to the Academy with one goal in mind:  He wanted to grow as an artist.  He enrolled at the Academy to elevate his natural artistic talents and was attracted to the big names like Jenny Saville and Eric Fischl associated with the school. His goal of growing as an artist, however, was quickly put to the test by his instinct to protect himself. 

“In hindsight if I could talk to myself then knowing what I know now, I would say that while the feeling of competitiveness is natural, I learned the most from my fellow students and I would try to engage them more and earlier.  They are like your family.  I would say smile and be open to the conversation.” As for critiques, “I would be more prepared to have my feelings hurt, however, I realized it’s part of the process.  The crits are set up in a way so you can make a comeback and be successful in the end.”

Attending and graduating from the Academy was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences Plater ever had.  “You don’t realize how good you have it.  For 2 years you are in a safe place and you get used to the structure.  You feel comfortable and everyone knows you.  Paying rent, looking for work and having a studio is all really difficult in life after the Academy.  You have to network on your own.  At the Academy, they really help you meet people. They are really great with providing you with opportunities like the Tribeca Ball and Open Studios.  I was never good at talking to people, but at the Academy it’s easy to do that.“ 
Plater agrees it’s great to question the relevance of your work and be forced to push boundaries.  In his work, he has applied the Academy’s rigorous training, teachings and references artists like Michaelangelo and Durer.  When asked about his favorite classes, Plater talks about JP Roy’s class Painting from Imagination. “It felt free and inspired my confidence.  When I was younger I did so much drawing that was simple by design and I drew from my head.  
If I could have the Academy offer any additional class it would be Drawing from Imagination.  Having this as a tool for an artist, being able to do portraits and full figures from memory, is extraordinary and I can’t say enough about it.“

Robert Platers' mural is on view until Jan 2013 at First Park, 33 E. 1st Street.  

For more details on the artist take a look here Robert Plater (MFA 2013).

Artist and Teaching Residency for West Nottingham Academy - Part 2

By Jacob Hicks (MFA 2012) 

My experience at West Nottingham Academy has been one of learning in many regards.  Along side my time working in the studio, I teach two high school courses-an introduction to drawing and studio painting.  To teach is to become firm enough in your artistic practice to share it.  It calls for a re-examination of formal and conceptual principles and applicable history.  Art is such an ancient and expansive field that it is hard to imagine any other mode of thought not relevant to its understanding, i.e. science, literature, music, mathematics, religion, etc.  To say the task of infusing its vast wealth into young minds is daunting is to not dabble in hyperbole. 

West Nottingham Academy embeds its pupils in a program that teaches the values of creative art, exposing them early on to the richness of the practice. Students in my introduction to drawing-freshman and sophomores-mostly came in as clean slates, with little to no guided study. My task became setting a precedent of enjoyable learning.  I wanted to make it rigorous yet fun so that the children might become converts to its ways and not end up with future disjointed memories of art fused with disinterest.

The first lesson, and one of my favorites so far, was a practical study in analytic and synthetic cubism.  Cubism is a 20th century art movement, the visual equivalent of a parallel advancement in the sciences-relativity.  Advancements rarely populate single territories, but spread across all of the humanities; there are cubist poets as well as modern authors who used verbalization to express similar revelations of the period, just in different mediums.  To help my pupils grasp an abstract concept, I created a studio exercise.  Each chose a partner and cycled between posing for and drawing one another for ten minute sessions.  After one round the original pose was again taken, but each artist worked from a new viewpoint.  This second perspective was layered upon the previous, thus illustrating multiple vantages of a single object, effectively fragmenting its stability.  This is the nature of analytic cubism.

After several rounds of perspectival layering, the students then collaged words and images on top of their works.  Like the synthetic cubists, the students playfully mixed and matched the medium of text with that of drawing, collaging together various modes of thought and expression.

Each week we work on a new project, and included are pictures of some of the most successful works.  (I have also included a photo of the painting I am making while my students work.)

My painting students have had more experience, being juniors and seniors who have taken several semesters of art.  Most of them, however, have not had much experience with oil painting.  I designed the course to teach the students the principles and craft of oil painting from start to finish, through canvas construction and surface preparation to indirect and direct painting application, all based on various modes of historical practice.  The students work on a single composition throughout the course; so far they have created the surface-gessoed canvas on stretchers, composed the drawing, painted the drawing achromatically, applied generalized dead palate color, and are now working to finalize the image with multiple glazes and layers of full chroma.  I asked that each composition include a subject and environment and elements of the imagination.  This course is far-reaching in that it introduces and explains painting material and its history, the principles of design and composition, tonal structure and drawing,  intensive color-theory, and the use of oil medium directly vs. indirectly.  

Each student is asked to meet painting progression deadlines, contribute during critique of one another’s work, and present analysis on old master compositions of their choosing based on all of the formal, material, and historical information we cover. 

We have a way to go before the class concludes with a student organized show in the school gallery, where we can celebrate everyone’s achievements.  I must say, all the work is definitely paying off; I have included some shots of the paintings in their current states.

I am having a wonderful time not just teaching, but learning daily from my students.  Each subject they choose to represent sets me on an experimental hunt alongside of them to find the clearest, most luminous way to embody it.

##Jacob Hicks (MFA 2012) will be blogging here throughout his artist residency at West Nottingham Academy, Colora, Maryland about his experience.  If you have any questions for Jacob, please leave them in the comments section of the blog. 
All photographs taken by Jacob Hicks.

Artist and Teaching Residency for West Nottingham Academy - Thus Far

My excitement could not be tempered as my father helped me load up a U-haul rental with my current body of work in the early morning hours of an overcast Brooklyn morning.  I had received my Joseph Campbell-esque call to new adventure in the form of an artist/teacher-in-residence acceptance phone call from West Nottingham Academy a few weeks prior, but now the moment of action was upon me. 

Durga (in progress)
West Nottingham Academy has a special relationship to New York Academy of Art in that our highly respected senior critic Eric Fischl was an alumni of the boarding high school (which just so happens to be the oldest institution of its kind in the nation).  Mr. Fischl decided to construct a bridge between the Academy and WNA to provide an enriched artistic program for the high school and a funded opportunity for selected Academy alumni to gain a trimester’s worth of teaching experience and a sheltered, quiet space for art production.
As my father and I pulled onto and off of busy city-scenic highways (I myself having forgotten the burden of traipsing giant automobiles through urban asphalt labyrinthian webbings; I am strictly publicly transported these days), painting and drawing projects that could finalize the syllabi for my two classes popped in and out, on and off in my mind, like interstate entrance and exit signage or traffic lights. The program to which I was headed was to provide room and board, three wonderfully well-cooked meals a day, a beautiful three-windowed studio space, a solo-exhibition, a generous stipend, and two studio courses to teach five days a week for the duration.  I want to make clear the immense benefits of this for current and future alumni, because the program is available for you to apply to every session, and three alumni total are awarded the residency every year. 

Upon arrival in a lush rural landscape, overgrown with the stunning type of nature I didn’t yet realize I yearned for,  I met Trish Kuhlman, head of WNA’s art department.  Trish, an immensely talented painter and teacher, whose care for and responsibility to her students goes above and beyond the call, introduced me to faculty, staff, and students.  Everyone showed (and continues to show) me such hospitality and welcome that I immediately became convinced I serendipitously turned up in some type of cinematic vision of paradise, where community is close and caring, where nature exhales a majesty that I then breath, where education unites and illuminates. 

My father and I, elated and hopeful, unloaded the truck.  Within the next two days we hung my show, the gallery being a beautifully open space in the main school building, and the proud owner of an authentic Foucault Pendulum, an early mechanical device that legitimized the theory that our Earth was in orbit (I could have believed the theory without the device, seeing as how my world never sits still for too long).  


I have now settled in and have moved through several wonderfully fun projects with my classes, all the while contentedly working along on my current composition.  Still, only two weeks have passed!

I fear the difficulty will now be for WNA to pry me loose at the end of my trimester, for I have fallen in love with this intimate, beautiful rural oasis.

Jacob Hicks (MFA 2012) will be blogging here throughout his artist residency at West Nottingham Academy, Colora, Maryland about his experience.  If you have any questions for Jacob, please leave them in the comments section of the blog. 

All photographs taken by Jacob Hicks.

#2014Academy - First Year Experience Begins

By Camila Rocha (MFA 2015)

Hello Academy Blog readers!  As a first year student, I will be writing to you honestly about my experiences. All the affairs, fate, happiness and lovelessness of my current life, hopefully my view can give you periodically an idea of how overwhelmingly brilliant is to be a Master's of Fine Art student at the New York Academy of Art.

First let me introduce myself, my name is Camila Rocha.  I am from Brazil and before the Academy had a very successful, 13-year-career as an International recognized Tattoo Artist. Following my dream of becoming a fine artist, I came to the USA and right after my undergrad school in Los Angeles I decided to step up for the Master’s Program at the Academy.

On my arrival I was overtaken by love for New York City. As a tattoo artist, I have traveled to many different places but what one can find in this place is definitely something else. The first impression was incredible! I was amused by the art, the personality and the multicultural aspects that enrich the great New Yorker character. At any corner, in the subway, on people’s attitudes, there is a vital energy that stimulates your senses. I've never been in a place that, as you walk, you feel so connected to art everywhere; it’s the perfect atmosphere for an ambitious art student.

Old Masters Gallery at The Met
The search for an apartment is fascinating, chaotic and overwhelming.  Useful tip: if you are a promising candidate student, give yourself at least two weeks prior to your moving date to find something. The students and the Director of Student Affairs (the nice and helpful Elvin), can help you find roommates in case you want to share a space. Remember, don't leave it for the last minute and follow the school's advices to avoid scams, such as never do any money transaction before checking the place in person and read many blogs/online material about the subject. The volume of people arriving and leaving this town is so frenetic, there are many great neighborhoods and you want to visit them personally to choose the one you will feel more comfortable to start your journey as a student.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn art installation
As an international school, such as the Academy, I have met brilliant artists with a variety of backgrounds coming from all over the States and the Globe at the first students meeting. My class was definitely precious to have such a talented group, from freshmen to veterans. Tears came to my eyes while listening to the President of the Academy, David Kratz’s, first speech at orientation. The excitement was all over the place and shared so sublimely for all the students present, by this point I came to the realization that my "big dream", that was so long desired had begun, but if I looked around I could absolve the same feeling coming from all the faces in the room, we were living "the time of our lives." Nothing could make it better after a few days of pretty amusement in this magnificent concrete jungle and then we had the fantastic show of the 2013 Fellows opening, this one I can't describe. Being able to talk to Aleah Chapin's real 'Aunties' in person and get to know the process they went through to create and compose those pieces was priceless. I'm very thankful for being in here!

Please stay with me and I promise to tell you all the greatness of this process, in a very informal and entertaining way!


Camila Rocha (MFA 2015) will be blogging here throughout the year about her first year at the Academy and moving to New York City.  Check the label "First Year Experience" or "Camila Rocha" for more posts about her first year at the Academy.  If you have any questions for Camila, please leave them in the comments section of the blog. 

All photographs taken by Camila Rocha.