This summer we’re happy to welcome new instructor Nick Brown. He’ll be teaching Introduction to 2D Materials and Techniques, a great class if you don’t have a background in fine art and are looking to get some helpful fundamental skills in a variety of media. Nick attended School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has had his work shown at The Drawing Center, NY; P.S. 122, NY; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; and The Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL.
By way of introduction, I asked Nick to share some thoughts about art school, his current work, and what he hopes students will accomplish in his class.
Can you describe your current practice? What projects are you working on or hoping to start soon?
Currently, I am working on a series of large-scale oil paintings based on stone chimneys in the snow. They are remnants of a high mountain community. I also have an ongoing series of red pastel drawings. These are predicated on personal imagery and feel dreamlike and foreboding.
Are there other artists who have influenced your style and interests?
There are many artists who have influenced me over the years. The ones I mostly return to worked in the middle to late 1800’s. They are often categorized as Romanticist and Symbolist artists. James Ensor and Gustave Moreau are big favorites. Goya doesn’t fit the former description but is also amazing. Haiku poetry is another source I enjoy especially for its economy and directness. Music that is driven by tone and atmosphere is also very important to me. I’ve reached a point now though where I no longer think of other artists as I work. The knowledge drawn from their work informs subconsciously I think.
You have an MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. What was the art school experience like for you?
Attending SAIC was great. I actually went twice, for undergrad and grad. I was exposed to so many ideas and ways of working. That combined with a dedicated period of time in which to concentrate solely on art was very important. I think it heightens your technical skills, deepens your thinking and the whole process of learning becomes expedited. I would encourage any student to follow that path. Hopefully we learn our entire lives. Why not be immersed in a pursuit with little distraction.
How are you planning to approach teaching your summer class. Do you think there are unique experiences to be had in continuing education vs. undergrad or graduate school?
The summer course will be structured with demonstrations and critiques. There will be quite a bit of working time in class. The environment should be very sociable with dialog between the students as well as with me. I look forward to a lot of discussion. Continuing education is unique in that many students work full time. They have specifically chosen a particular class rather than say one that just fulfills a requirement like an undergrad student might. I think this engenders an amount of intensity and focus. People are really seeking this knowledge out.
What do you hope students walk away from your class with?
I want students to have the confidence to make work on their own and enjoy the process of discovery inherently involved in making art.