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Instructor Interview: Nick Brown

eye browThis 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.



Photography at UCLA Extension

UCLA Extension photography courses provide an opportunity for adults of all backgrounds and experience levels to study photography in a structured classroom setting, producing weekly creative assignments which are critiqued by the instructor and fellow students.  Most of our classes meet during the evening or on weekends. While we offer intermediate and advanced level courses, many students come to us because they own a DSLR and want to learn to use it more confidently and effectively.

For a list of fall quarter course offerings (beginning Sept. 21), click here.

Most students start out with Photography I (we offer several sections each quarter). The class is appropriate for people who have never picked up a camera before, but also for those who may have been shooting on their own for a while but want to have a better understanding of how to achieve successful images. Class cover aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, focus, ISO, file management (including coverting files, tagging, file batching and archiving), basic lighting skills (including contrast, direction, color, white balance, histogram) and composition (including framing and perspective).

There are twelve meetings in total. The goal is for students to get comfortable shooting totally on manual, and manipulating various elements in their photography.

Students can take classes individually, but we also offer a Certificate in Photography. It’s a ten course program that includes work in portraiture, lighting, history, and concept development, and concludes with a final portfolio-building workshop and review. The schedule is flexible – students have two years to complete the program, and can take courses in any order and at the pace that suits them. The certificate, like our courses, is open enrollment, so there is no official application process; anyone who is interested in completing it can enroll.

For questions about our program, e-mail, or call (310) 206-1422.

Images by instructor Craig Havens.



Art in Pasadena with Jay Belloli

This week we have a great opportunity for students to learn about the history and impact of the Pasadena Art Museum. With the acceptance of the extensive Galka Scheyer collection of Feininger, Kandinsky, Klee, and Jawlensky in 1954, the Pasadena Art Museum began 20 years of extraordinary exhibitions and collecting, made possible by exceptional directors and curators. From the internationally celebrated retrospective of Marcel Duchamp to the first Andy Warhol retrospective and beyond, the museum made major contributions to the cultural life of the Los Angeles region.

Pacific Asia Museum’s exhibion 46 N. Los Robles: A History of the Pasadena Art Museum is closing this weekend. On Thursday, 4/5, guest curator Jay Belloli will give a lecture and slide show on the Pasadena Art Museum in our 1010 Westwood Center. Then this Saturday, students will visit both Pacific Asia Museum and the Norton Simon to view works up close and meet one of the participating artists. It should be a fun and informative session for anyone interested in the history of the Los Angeles art scene.

For more details, and to enroll in the class, click here.

It’s Your Show! Call for Submissions


It’s that time again! Time for “It’s Your Show,” our annual exhibition of student work from the areas of design, fine art and photography.

This is a fun event that brings together students of all disciplines. Plus, you can bring your friends to the opening, and there’s wine and cheese!

Please read the submission guidelines below carefully. It’s important to properly label your e-mail submissions, and remember that it’s limited to three submissions per student!

Submission Deadline:
Midnight on Sunday, April 15

Opening Reception:
Friday, May 11, 6:30 – 8:30pm
UCLA Extension
1010 Westwood Center Gallery, 4th floor

Open to all original work presented in a UCLA Extension Studio Arts, Photography or Design Communication Arts course in the last two years. All genres, formats, and media are eligible. Three submissions maximum per student.

Submission Guidelines:
Digital submissions only.

Email design work to
Email photography and fine art work to

Files should be .pdf or .jpeg images no larger than 1MB and named in the format described below. Include your name and phone number in the body of the email.

Digital File Label:


All entrants will be emailed on or before April 27 regarding their submission(s). Students will be asked to bring their original artwork to 1010 Westwood Boulevard in advance of the show and be required to sign a release of liability at that time.

Special recognition will be given by a jury of Los Angeles artists to projects displaying excellence in specific elements of art and design.

Questions? Call (310) 206-1422.

Arts at UCLA Extension


The Visual Arts program offers a range of courses for adult students who want to improve their artistic skills, pursue a hobby, or just have fun in the classroom! Click here to view our spring course offerings in studio arts, art history and photography.  Most courses meet in the evening or on weekends, and many are appropriate for students with no previous background in the arts. This spring we’ll be offering courses in Collage and Assemblage, Ikebana, Caravaggio, Photographic Portraiture, and more. Courses are open enrollment, so there is no lengthy application process; students can enroll in any courses that they feel suits their experience level and interests.

Questions? E-mail or call (310) 206-1422.

Painting by instructor Alison Blickle.

This Spring: Survey of Western Art Part III

This Spring intrepid instructor Mary Beth Carosello will be back to lead Part III of our Art History Survey Series. The lectures concentrate on the masterpieces of architecture, painting, sculpture, and related arts from the late 17th through early 20th centuries. The course begins with the transition from Baroque to the Age of Enlightenment and Romantic-Classicism in the 18th century. Continuing with Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism, instruction emphasizes the work of Goya, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, van Gogh, and Rodin. Special emphasis is given to contemporaneous developments in architecture from Jefferson’s Monticello and the Arc de Triomphe to the skyscraper. The variety of movements that ushered in the 20th century include a study of Munch and German Expressionism, Matisse and Fauvism, and Picasso and Cubism, continuing through the work of Mondrian and the architecture of Gaudí and Frank Lloyd Wright.

We’re so glad to have Mary Beth leading this series, and I know students feel the same way. As one student put it “Mary Beth is such an amazing teacher. I have been thinking about taking an art class for some time now at UCLA and signed up because of her. You can tell that she truly loves what she is doing and she makes the class interesting and informative.” Another says “Instructor was one of the best I’ve ever had, in both undergraduate art history courses and graduate courses. Provided valuable supplemental information and activities incorporated into material. Instructor was approachable and friendly, and encouraged valuable discussion in class.”

Class meets on Tuesday evenings at the 1010 Westwood Center for 11 weeks, beginning April 3. There’s also a field trip to the Getty! Click here to enroll.

TED Quotes: Sound Bites Worth Spreading

TED has a great new website that highlights a single quote from a talk – if it peaks your interest, you can press play to watch the whole talk.

Some samples:

“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” – Chimamanda Adichie (pictured)

“Art is a deception that creates real emotions — a lie that creates a truth. And when you give yourself over to that deception, it becomes magic.” — Marco Tempest

“The good news is you don’t need to be brilliant to be wise. The bad news is that without wisdom, brilliance isn’t enough.” — Barry Schwartz

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” — Ken Robinson

Course Spotlight: Documentary and Landscape Photography

For students interested in an elective this quarter, Documentary and Landscape Photography is beginning this Saturday. The class covers camera skills like flash and film balance, color theory, and white balance, in the context of the history of documentary and landscape images. Students will be completing creative photography assignments incorporating their individual locations and environments. A number of location shoots are scheduled, to give hands-on experience with the subject matter.

The class is led by Clover Leary. The image included in this post is from a series she is completing about military simulation environments. Her teaching philosophy is particularly appropriate for this class: she says “I approach teaching in much the same way that I approach my art practice. My work is often the end result of an investigation of a particular location and it’s history, and also a real collaboration with the subjects who inhabit that space. Collaboration is rewarding for me because it generates mutual learning resulting from productive dialogue between individuals with varied skills and interests. For me teaching requires a similar intellectual exchange. I always wish to learn something from the teaching experience and from working with students. By remaining actively engaged and passionate about the subject I am teaching, I can let students draw from my enthusiasm for the medium.”

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