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Last week our Photography and 3D Modeling & Animation classes were given the opportunity to receive a private tour of the new Ralph Arnold Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. We are so fortunate that our school is right in the heart of downtown Chicago, our classes have easy access to the museum campus, nearby events, and more. Travel for a field trip like this is a simple 10 minute walk down Michigan Ave!
Born in 1928, Ralph Arnold was a Chicago based artist and one of the fathers of modern collage. During the 1960s-1970's his complex photo-collages commented on media, gender issues, sexuality, race, the military, and politics. Arnold drew from his own experiences as a gay, black, military veteran and rose to be a prominent member of Chicago's modern art community, working alongside those like Ed Paschke he created amazing exhibitions. Later in life Arnold focused on education and teaching the young artists of tomorrow!
When we found out the MCOP was going to profile Ralph Arnold in this exhibit, we knew we had to bring our students to check it out! Students were given a private tour and participated in some thought provoking Q & A with our host at the MOCP.
"I believe Ralph Arnolds time in the military proved to be violent as all wars are. It may have been hard for him to fit in with the rest, as he was looked as an outcast being gay as well as African American. Arnold inserts his identity into his artwork by using specific media in his collages. For example, he provokes the audiences' emotions by using graphic images of violence. By doing this, he may be trying to reveal to us how the violence he endured in the war is not too different from that in the streets of big cities as a result of street violence and police brutality." - 3D Modeling & Animation Student, Aaron Bergante.
"Despite viewing Arnold's other art pieces, my mind keeps going back to his piece called The Soul Box. It might be the mixture of different media used in this piece that caught my attention. The Soul Box depicts photographs of African-Americans, a music sheet of the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and a picture of a watermelon. It also has a picture of a hand painted with the American flag, as well as a few fists in different parts of the piece. It is mostly made of different pictures, a lyrical sheet in a tube shape, a glass marble, a pillar, and a miniature wheel. Seeing this piece makes me feel conflicted, I truly admire its intricacy but at the same time feel upset by the piece because I know the meaning behind some of the objects in the Soul Box... like the racist connotations of watermelons and the song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” This song was sung by escaping slaves and makes me feel upset. I believe that Ralph Arnold created Soul Box in order to convey the hardships and history of African-Americans."
- 3D Modeling & Animation Student, Metzli Castellanos.
After viewing the exhibit our photography students created their own photo collages inspired by Ralph Arnold's work!
Thank you MCOP for an amazing experience, we can't wait to return!
- Until next time. Stay creative, Chicago!
Thanks to the wonderful collaborative efforts between classes, we at Advanced Arts had our first Figure Drawing Studio Marathon! For two days, the conjoined classes of Drawing & Painting and 3D Modeling & Animation squeezed into one of the larger classrooms in the building and worked with a few amazing students from our Dance Program as models for the two day workshop.
Drawing & Painting Teachers Matt Bozik & Alex Goldin, and our 3D Teacher Emily Steffen set up a the workshop for both their classes. Dance Instructor Melinda Wilson, excited about the collaboration, offered a rotating set of Dance Students to model for the workshop, bringing the amount of classes collaborating on this endeavor up to three!
Matt Bozik took the lead on day one, morphing into a "Figure Drawing Drill Sergent," he had all students pumped up and pumping out amazing work from the beginning of class to the very last minute! Here is Matt's reflection on the workshop:
"Last week’s figure drawing class was a blast! We combined students from the 3D Animation class with Drawing & Painting. Additionally we were very fortunate to have dancers from our Dance Program model for the students. The lesson involved learning how to make gesture drawings. Most students enrolled in the Advanced Arts Program are very good at contour line drawing and rendering but without gesture the drawings can sometimes appear stiff and lifeless. In last week’s workshop dancers struck awesome, active posses and students were asked to focus on the action and movement of the pose in their drawings. This needed to happen quickly in seven seconds or less. This was a new experience for most students however in a relatively short time they made exciting drawings capturing the movement and the weight shifts of the dancers. Students from all three classes learned from each other and seemed to really enjoy the experience."
The workshop began with a lot of quick gesture drawings. Matt led the warm ups in high-energy, fast-paced exercises, which caused the students to make a lot of work quickly, with little time to hesitate. As can be imagined, the students from the Dance program provided amazing and challenging poses for this portion of the lesson!
Once warmed up, we took a short break to set up for the longer poses, including a chair and backdrop with directional lighting. Students then began to work; Drawing and Painting students focused on using highlights and shadow on a toned paper, 3D Animation on proportions and drawing in a realistic fashion, abandoning their usual "cartoon-style-safety-zones."
The second day began similarly. Students had more options for the longer poses and were provided an array of mediums, from charcoal, pastels, inks, and a range of colored paper. We opted for several longer poses that day, with the instructors Matt, Alex, and Emily stepping in to provide a range of poses and body-types. We took reference photos at the end, and the students from Drawing & Painting will be working further on pieces based on what was gathered in those two days. 3D Animation plans on using the reference photos for upcoming sequential art and animation projects.
Despite the slight crowding of having over 30 students in one room, the energy was electric and contagious! Everyone got to make a bunch of great work, make friends with students from other classes, and share in a traditional artistic experience in a fairly non-traditional setting!
- Until next time. Stay creative, Chicago!
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