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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.

 

 

Arts at UCLA Extension

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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 visualarts@uclaextension.edu or call (310) 206-1422.

Painting by instructor Alison Blickle.

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.

Library Privileges: You’ve Got Them

Okay, so it’s not free like your local public library, but for $20 you can have library privileges at UCLA. You have to present proof of current enrollment (every quarter) and a photo ID at either Young Research Library or Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library to get a library card. This could be well worth it when you’re enrolled in say, Design History and Context.

Here is a link to the UCLA Arts Library: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/arts/index.cfm

Here is a link about researching design and media arts topics specifically:
http://guides.library.ucla.edu/content.php?pid=69777&sid=516494

Also, here is a link to design topic bibliographies at AIGA:
http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/bibliographies

Also, in terms of resources, if you haven’t spent a lot of time browsing the back pages of the UCLA Extension catalog (General Information), may I suggest you do so. It’s a good orientation into what resources are available and how to go about certain administrative tasks. It’s a reference I use often!

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