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Survey of Western Art History: Part II

 
Art History Survey Series begins tonight! Please note that the class will now be meeting in room 415 at the 1010 Westwood Center (not on UCLA campus).
 
We’re happy to have Mary Beth back, and know she’s excited to start class again. Part II of the series begins in the Proto-Renaissance in Italy and proceeds to a full study of Renaissance art in both southern and northern Europe. The course continues with the study of Mannerism in Italy, Baroque art throughout Europe, and concludes with Rococo. Artists and artworks studied are a select group representing the high points in cultural achievement, including Giotto, Jan van Eyck, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Dürer, Holbein, Rubens, Velasquez, and Rembrandt. There are also two field trips, one to the Getty and one to LACMA.
If you’re interested, check out the details.

Announcement: Changes to Photography Certificate Program

Dear Photography Students,

We thought you might want to know of some changes being made to our existing Photography Certificate programs.

Currently, we offer two programs; a 28-unit Certificate in Fundamentals of Photography (CF561) and a 20-unit Certificate in Advanced Topics in Photography (CF562).

Based on observation and several quarters of student and instructor feedback, we have decided to combine these certificates into one inclusive program, simply titled Certificate in Photography (CF598). This new 40-unit program will include beginning, intermediate and advanced level courses, to give all students a thorough technical and creative experience, and prepare them for a variety of professional situations.

To see the full curriculum and details for the new Certificate in Photography, click here.

We are excited to be debuting this updated program, and feel that it will offer a complete, inclusive experience. However, you may be in the process of taking courses with the expectation of joining one of the older programs. If, after reviewing the details of the new program, you prefer to enroll in either CF561 or CF562, you may do so through January 31st. After that date, those programs will be retired, and only the new Certificate in Photography (CF598) will be available.

Students who are already enrolled in either CF561 or CF562 are free to complete the curriculum that existed at the time of their candidacy declaration.

To enroll in Fundamentals of Photography, please call our registration office at (310) 825-9971 (online enrollment is not available), and reference “CF561.”
To enroll in Advanced Topics in Photography please call (310) 206-1422 to speak with an advisor. This certificate is restricted to those who have the appropriate experience and have completed a portfolio review.

Of course, students are always welcomed to take individual courses, and need not join a certificate program to study with us. This information is for those who are interested or have been considering pursuing a certificate, to keep you abreast of these changes.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Sincerely,

UCLA Extension Visual Arts

Camera Can See Quantum Mechanics Happening

From the annals of “seems too amazing to be real but actually it’s just science” comes this camera that captures images at one trillion frames per second. That’s slow enough to SEE PHOTONS MOVING THROUGH SPACE.

The explanation is interesting, but skip to 1:49 to see the really mind-blowing stuff.

Who Are We – Visual Arts

If you’re dropping by this blog but are not familiar with who we are or what we do, here’s a little introduction.

UCLA Extension is the continuing education arm of UCLA. Here in the visual arts program, we offer open enrollment courses in fine art (including drawing, painting, mixed media, etc), art history, and photography. That means that anyone can enroll – you don’t have to be a UCLA student, and there’s no formal application process to go through. We program our own classes, separately from campus (although we do offer courses that carry UC transfer credit), and our instructors are working professionals in their fields.

Most of our courses are offered on weekday evenings, or on weekends, and our students are largly working professionals who have a passion for the arts and want to keep their practice active, or just learn more about figuration, Photoshop, or the masters of the Renaissance.

You can see samples of our students’ work on this blog, and a few instructor images included below. Click here to see what we’re offering this quarter. There are courses appropriate for all experience levels, and we provide a classroom environment that is supportive yet challenging.

Questions about the program? Call (310) 206-1422 to speak with an advisor.

Course Spotlight: Calligraphy with Carrie Imai

“I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.”

 – Steve Jobs, on calligraphy

There are many reasons we think it’s important to offer calligraphy here at UCLA Extension, but one of them is its vital connection to design. A strong understanding of hand-letting and typography are a powerful tool for any designer, and the application of those skills can translate into print pieces, advertising, logos, or even, in the case of Jobs, computer design (many consider Macs the first computers to employ sucessful typography).

Carrie Imai has been leading the class successfully for several quarters, and teaches a new alphabet during each session. This spring she will offer the Italic alphabet (characterized by elegant, fluid letterforms). We encourage design students to consider this elective option, as well as anyone interested in gaining skill and learning more about handlettering.

Some samples of Carrie’s work are below. To enroll in this winter’s class, click here.

Interview with Photographer Craig Havens

Craig Havens teaches Introduction to Digital Photography, which is often the course students start out with in our program. He’s a successful and productive photographer in both the commercial and fine art field, so I thought it would be interesting to hear a little bit about his process and experience. In the below interview, he talks about his latest project, Soundings, which you can view on his website, craighavens.com. His commercial work can be found on studio642.com.

Can you talk a little bit about your Soundings project? What’s your vision, how do you set up the shots, etc?

The imagery of Soundings depicts phenomenological occurrences set mostly within the nocturne landscape. The work is created by handholding a camera for as long as twenty minutes. During this time the camera settles into a state of stillness, allowing the phenomenon to unfold while releasing attachment to the outcome of the exposure.

This state correlates to many pan-religious descriptions of epiphanies of the sublime. The final creation and display of large-scale silver prints of these images mimic the intricate rituals and resonant metals of religious iconography. In essence, I am engaged in constructing a meaningful mythology around these moments.

How is the creative process different on commercial shoots than when you’re doing your own work? Is working for clients “paying the bills”, or does it just feel like another creative enterprise?

I have always felt that the artist’s intent is the determining factor between personal artwork and professional work. My art-making fuels everything else as far as inspiration and personal fulfillment is concerned.

With regard to commercial work as a creative enterprise, it varies greatly depending on the project. For example, I just completed shooting an editorial piece on San Onofre State Beach for Huck Magazine – a beautiful surf and skate magazine out of London. It was a completely solo shoot because my client was in England and had asked me to interpret the subject matter independently. I was able to spend 3 days just walking the beach alone and meeting surfers young and old while documenting the atmosphere of this unique Southern California beach.

On the other hand, I recently shot a national print campaign for Comcast Communications that involved a crew of almost 30 people on set. While producing and delivering a shoot like that can be nerve-wracking, I am fortunate enough to be working with a lot of professional creative people who are great at what they do. In the end we had a wonderful shoot and delivered above and beyond what the client was expecting.

You just sold a piece – congratulations! What were the circumstances, and what does it mean for the project?

Yes, I was recently honored to be asked by the curator of the Armory Center for the Arts, Jay Belloli, to participate in the Pasadena Armory Biennial Art Auction. This is a great event held every two years to support the arts in LA. The event was a great success and a wonderful collector and patron of the arts who is very active in collecting photography acquired my piece. Any time a collector is willing to add an artist to their collection by acquiring a work, it affirms the convictions of the artist that there is an audience for their work. So I was very pleased to be a part of the event and am looking forward to completing the series and showing it in full over the course of the next year.

What’s something you’ve learned by experience that you wish you could go back and tell your just-getting-started photographer self?

I’ve definitely learned that making art takes patience and perseverance. I always had deeply personal reasons for creating and that has sustained me through the hard times. I’ve learned that no matter what may come, the work always continues. Over time the process becomes less and less about defining your success against exterior measures. Eventually an artist’s measure of success becomes very personal and the greatest challenge becomes the act of creation itself.

Shooting Nudes: Interview with Photographer Roxann Arwen Mills

This spring Roxann Arwen Mills will be leading A Perspective on Nudes: A Short Photographic Workshop. It’s a unique class that involves intensive critique and a full day of shooting models, so I thought I would ask her to share some thought on the topic of nude photography. Images from the last workshop are included throughout. Click here for a previous interview and more thoughts from Roxann.

What are some common misconceptions or assumptions about nude photography?

I think that one of the most common misconceptions is that it’s easy; there’s nothing to it. Another is perhaps the perception that nude images inherently have a sexual intention. For example, the infamous banned nude album cover of John & Yoko was not meant to be a sexual statement, but a human one. This is a distinction with which Western culture still seems to struggle, even with today’s pop-cultured highly erotized cover art, and many critically acclaimed and sometimes equally disdained images of photographers who deal with sex, or have strong sexuality in their work. In many cases the subject isn’t entirely naked, so how does one discern the difference between what many refer to as the artistic nude, and mere nakedness, or the erotic nude, or soft porn? These conversations and many more will be further examined in this 4-week workshop in order to give students a more informed view from which to develop their own concepts in approaching the female nude.


(photo by student Norman Schwartz)

(photo by student Carol Henry)

What are some of the challenges of shooting these kinds of images?

One of the biggest challenges is often overcoming the idea that you can just pick up a camera and take a picture that says something, although this is certainly possible by sheer luck, like the Sunday painter who by accident stumbles upon an interesting process, without any clue as to what they’ve made. And in fact I’m a big fan of accidents, because they can lead us down the most interesting paths by showing us what our imaginations are truly capable of, but I also believe that knowledge is power, and that extends to making informed choices when creating art, otherwise your imagination often just repeats the past, or you cannot adequately express your vision. Just like a painter, you have to develop the skills to translate what your imagination sees. You have to know your equipment well enough to understand what it will do, and to be comfortable with it, and you have to develop the ability so see and utilize light in order to capture the complex and subtle aspects possible in your imagery, to capture something beyond the mundane. Sometimes beginners, as well as seasoned shooters, have happy accidents slip in, and in many cases they’re the best images of the shoot. They can be the most inspiring images to those photographers, as it shows them what they’re really capable of creating, and that kind of discovery can be magical. Yet when you look closer, you find that most seasoned photographers have some kind of framework within which they are working, and the technical skills to execute it, so when those happy accidents drop in they’re not lost as a single image that, no matter how interesting, has no relevance to the rest of the work. Then they can build on that image, or decide to begin a new path of investigation. I always keep a quote of Einstein quote close to my heart as I feel it resonates on many levels: “Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world…” But in reality creative photography, like creative science, demands both.

(photo by student Eleonora Ghioldi)

(photo by student Eleonora Ghioldi)

 

What can students expect if they sign up for the course, and what might they be surprised to learn?

This intensive 4-week class addresses the beginner to intermediate student. Students will become acquainted with a wide variety of approaches to photographing the female nude. They will also receive personal guidance to help them develop their own ideas. The course includes an in-class demo-photoshoot, with a model, before the all day location shoot. Here students will have an opportunity to learn how to give direction, and communicate their ideas effectively to the model, while at the same time learning some of the challenges of working with natural light. There will be a second natural lighting demo on site the day of the location shoot. During that day I will be on hand for personal coaching as well. We also have a guest speaker, who’s printed for some of the most celebrated nude photographers in 20th century. He’s been printing nudes over over 25 years, and has worked with such artists as Nan Goldin, Irving Penn, Sally Mann, Herb Ritts and more. He brings a unique perspective in his discussion on photographing the contemporary nude.

 

Students are often surprised to discover how freeing, and perhaps at the same time a little forbidden, it feels to be out in the grassy mountain landscapes working with nude models.

We ‘re born naked, and perhaps in spite of the inhibitions that are imposed upon us in Western culture, somewhere subconsciously we know that being naked is a natural state of being. Maybe that’s why we continue to be fascinated by the nude in art; even when we find an image distasteful, most of us can’t help but look at it. We all identify with the human body. And through our nakedness there is a common bond. But even in the 21st century there’s still much fear and contempt for the nude in our culture. Because of this, I believe it’s a subject worth continued investigation. I don’t believe we’ve said all there is to say about it, and I’m not sure with the advances in biogenetics and the future of technology we ever really will.

Photography is a powerful form of nonverbal communication. But I think that many students are surprised to realize that even when photographing the world in front of their eyes, it’s the world behind their eyes that is truly communicating their deeper intentions. As artists, we’re all on a quest for a sense of our inner freedom through many forms of communication. The art of photographing the nude is a wonderful and exhilarating place to begin that exploration.

 

Interview with Artist Jay Stuckey

Jay comes to us from a previous teaching position at Brown University. Want to learn more about Jay? Check out our interview below.

Can you describe your own artistic practice – what type of media do you prefer, what themes does your work deal with?

Right now my main focus is on painting and collage. The work has both representational and abstract elements. For me the main goal with these recent pieces is to initiate an idea within the viewer, to have the images ask questions versus posing answers or making statements. It gets tricky because ideally the questions asked are unique to each viewer, as each viewer is indeed unique. I also hope that the images are visually engaging. That they have visual presence when one comes upon them, and, if a viewer feels so moved to sit with a painting or collage for 10-20 minutes, they can actively wind their way in and around throughout the image while subtle nuances and new bits of information reveal themselves.

What advice would you have for beginning art students, or those who are considering making art a part of their lives? Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known when you started?

Wow, a lot, I actually taught a seminar on this subject at Brown. Yes it is difficult to forge a life where the creative act is part of your weekly if not daily existence, but at the same time if I figured it out, and number of my friends have figured it out, it can’t be rocket science. If you really want to make it happen, you’ll make it happen. I would say, perserverance furthers, always make sure you are enjoying, engaged, or challenged with what you’re doing, if not change your approach. It’s so difficult to find/carve out the time to make things, that you want to be stimulated by what you’re doing. Community has always been a high priority to me, surrounding yourself with like minds, so I would suggest getting to know your art community. Luckily for us Los Angeles has an AMAZING, thriving, international art community. We really are lucky, on a global level there are not many places for art that compare to L.A. right now. Oh and don’t walk into a gallery cold asking them if they’re looking at work. Yes this has worked for some artists I know, but it’s like playing the lottery. Sure you could win, but your odds suck, and the experience is a little embarrassing….for everyone.

What benefits and challenges does working with collage and mixed media present?

One of the main benefits I see is being able to take an image and recontextualize it. Perhaps it’s an advertisement familiar to everyone, but by cutting or manipulating it and placing it in a different context, you can take that preconceived association everyone has of that image and amplify it, subvert it, nullify it, you name it. It’s wonderful. On the flip side, I find one of the greatest challenges is the options available within the broad scope of ‘collage’, it can at times be overwhelming there are so many possibilities.

What do you hope your students accomplish by the end of your class?

In general I hope everyone walks away with a love for the creative process and the physical act of making things. Specific to collage I hope that everyone will have a solid foundation with the mechanics and materials behind making a collage (various forms of cutting and gluing, composition of shapes, basic design/layout ideas, etc..), AND, more importantly how these mechanics and materials behind collage are the vocabulary for this non-verbal form of communication which has great seductive powers.

Was there a moment when you officially began to consider yourself “an artist”?

I can’t think of a specific date. However, I do remember walking through Jonathan Borofsky’s retrospective in Washington, D.C. when I was 18 and thinking, “I might have to do this for the rest of my life.”

(paintings by Jay Stuckey, from top to bottom: Forming a Communist Party, The Apartment But It’s Different, Chinese Map of Paris and Chicago)

Jewelry by Hannah Kaufman

Hannah Kaufman, a student in Coleen Gee’s Handmade Jewelry class, sent me some images of a beautiful piece she did as part of a project.

I asked Hannah for a bit of background, and here’s what she had to say:

“I have been making beaded jewelry my whole life, since I was 4 years old. I have been in the diamond business for 15 years, designing high-end jewelry for a store (JR’s Diamonds & Jewelry) in Sherman Oaks. I have always wanted to be able to actually create the metal work I was sketching and finally decided it was the right time after finding Coleen’s class at UCLA Extension.

The inspiration for the butterfly came from a close friend of mind who calls herself “Butterfly Dreamer.” The assignment called for a spider on a web….I decided to alter that image a little into something more “beautiful.” 🙂 The whole thing came together quite serendipitously, with Coleen encouraging me to push myself every step of the way.

This is my first time creating a hand-sawed piece and soldering and making a pin back!

I’m truly excited for the future of my collection as I have been given amazing confidence in this class and know that it will only get better from here!”

You can see more of Hannah’s work on her website, hannahmade.com. Her tag line is “Every Woman Is A Muse”©. I like it!

Thanks to Hannah for sharing her piece – I have to say, for the first time sawing and soldering, this is amazing work.

It’s Your Show 2010!

 

Thanks to everyone who came out for the opening reception of our show! It was great to see our students, along with their friends and supporters.

We hope you enjoyed the opening as much as we did – here’s a slideshow and some pictures from the evening.





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