Sandy Stir-Crazy

By Maria Teicher (MFA 2013)

Now that the affects of Hurricane Sandy have quieted and all is back to normal within the New York Academy of Art community, I’d like to tell you about a group of students who nearly went crazy waiting for the madness to subside. 

For anyone that’s ever met us or hung around our studios for more than a few minutes, you know we’re not the most “normal” group of people.  I know, at least with my class (2013), that at any given time you can find us making weird voices, playing musical instruments, dancing around (sometimes with tap shoes), crazily on our third (sometimes fourth) cup of coffee for the day or running to the dean’s office grabbing more candy (thanks Denise and Peter!).  That’s just a small list and all is done in between a dire need to be drawing, painting, printmaking or sculpting.  Our hilarious madness and laughter between pencil lines and brush strokes help create a steady flow of inspiration and constant motivation.  None of us thought our studios, supplies and even our ability to see one another, would be taken away for as long as it was during the hurricane. So what happens to this group when they can’t get to one another AND their art materials are far from their fingertips?

The first and second day stuck at home you could see almost everyone jump on Facebook.  Social media seemed to be the best way for all of us to check up on one another and make sure everyone was ok.  Within the first 48 hours minds began to ease and feelings of being stir-crazy were setting in.  We were probably the only bunch of students in New York wishing we could actually get to school instead of rejoicing for the few days off. This is when second year sculptor Jess LaRotonda created a Facebook group to start posting whatever we were working on with whatever materials we had laying around.  It was quite amazing to see the materials being played with.  Every medium from pencil, clay and paint to make-up and dance videos showed up.  We seemed to have found a strange substitute for our typical studio environment (that even included dancing) and made it work. 

I’ve never before seen a group of people going crazy from not being able to go to school.  The drive of an artist and our need to be around those who are similar is most certainly unique. 

Here are some photos from the group and what we did to keep ourselves from going mad.




Get A Head

The Academy's walls are currently filled with incredible student and alumni artwork. As a first year student, I am especially excited about the "Heads" show that's up on the Fifth Floor, Third Floor and Garden Level. "Heads" is a student-curated show and is also the first show that first-year students are included in at the Academy this fall. It's amazing to see the diversity of styles and approaches - no two heads are alike.

Check out my video to see a quick tour of the show and hear from some students and curators.


Madeleine Hines (MFA 2014) 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 "Madeleine Hines" for more posts about her first year at the Academy.

Sandy, Evacuation, Saville, Cotton and other happenings

By Ian Factor (MFA 2014)

Well here we are coming through the first weeks after Hurricane Sandy. The good news is that the Academy was untouched and is fine, but is still, at this moment, without power, as is most of the rest of NYC below 39th street. Classes have been cancelled all week and we hope to get back in there Monday, depending on when the power goes back on in lower Manhattan.
(At the time of publishing this Blog, the power was back on after a week away and classes are back in session at the Academy, business as usual!)

Darkness - The financial district during the black out.

I'll avoid sounding like the news stations and try to focus on the last couple weeks at the Academy BEFORE we evacuated for the storm Sunday during the Jenny Saville Weekend Master Class. Yes, the weekend with Jenny was cut short by a day and a half, but I was able to get some great shots of the setup and the start of what was turning out to be some incredibly interesting exercises.

Jenny Saville Master Class!

Below are several images of Jenny working with the students who attended the workshop. It was incredible. I was lucky enough to spend some time speaking with her about her work and process and had the great fortune to have her visit my studio for a quick critique of my current self portrait in progress. The students who had the opportunity to learn from and speak with Jenny were all glowing with excitement and gratitude.

This past weekend was the Master Class with Will Cotton, which was very different from the Jenny Saville Class, equally amazing and mind opening. 

Will is an incredibly approachable artist full of knowledge and more than willing to share it all with the group. His demo was inspiring and the workshop was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work along side this master while having his wonderful and insightful critiques and observations for two full days. Here are a few images of the workshop:

Will Cotton Master Class Workshop - Will's Demo of his approach.

It's been quite a few weeks here! Mind boggling how much has happened since my last entry, so much experience, so much wisdom being passed down from such incredible artists and teachers. B
elow are some random photos from gallery visits, studio and classroom times, sketching the Sorolla masterpieces at the Hispanic Society and a few other great moments...
I hope these images give you a glimpse of the intense density and amount of information and inspiration here at the NYAA from 8:30 am till midnight 7 days a week.

Students at the Forum Gallery's "Self Portrait Show".   

Wade Schuman and students at the Forum Gallery's "Self Portrait Show".  

Self Portrait in the 3rd floor studios.

Randy McIver teaching anatomy, pelvis in hand.

Arm Study, Sculpture Studios.

Sculpting from Life in the Sculpture Classrooms.

Coffee Break on the 4th Floor.

Painting I - Still Life in the 5th Floor Classrooms.

Painting I - Still Life in the 5th Floor Classrooms, pig foot. 
Sketching the Sorolla Masterpieces at the Hispanic Society.

Steven Assael Torso Demo in Charcoal.

Painting I - Still Life in the 5th Floor Classrooms, fish parts. 
Painting I - Still Life in the 5th Floor Classrooms, fish steak.

Self Portrait work in Studio, 3rd Floor.

Wade Schuman with his Color Charts.

Below are some images of my recent classwork, some still in progress. Some Graphite sketches and lots of self portraits in the first year...self reflection time.

Graphite Sketch from Drawing I - 18" x 14" - Ian Factor.

Self Portrait In Progress, Oil- 30" x 15" - Ian Factor 

Self Portrait In Progress, Oil - 40" x 30" - Ian Factor

Self Portrait Sketch, Graphite - 18" x 14" - Ian Factor

Self Portrait In Progress, Oil 40" x 30" - Ian Factor

Now, back to the studio.

Till next time...

Ian Factor (MFA 2014) will be blogging here throughout the year about his first year at the Academy and moving to New York City.  You can also follow more of Ian's experiences on his blog: Ian Factor's New York Academy of Art Experience.