Casting of Engraved work

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For years casting material sat in the cabinet rarely used. I initially bought it to cast some of my student work to have examples for future classes. Some master gun and knife engravers offer resin castings of their work. This is a great opportunity to have work to study from without spending a ton of money on it. After awhile this seemed to fall off of my radar. Every once in a while a student would try it and for years I would hint at people trying it to utilize the multiple afforded by this process. After Engraving Arts major, Anneliese Narcisi, experimented with the casting of a frame, I thought it would be a good for everyone to learn how to utilize this process. I also foresee resin casting of engravings as an opportunity to create a myriad of other items ranging from functional to sculptural works. To me, this project is only the beginning and much more lies ahead. I don’t profess to be an expert on this (luckily we have one here – Patrick Martin) but I thought we would give it a shot.

This particular project was based off of a casting by engraver James Meek. This cast was given to me about five years ago – (I think it was engraver Scott Pilkington who gave it me) Students had to loosely base their composition off of this. They had to include scrollwork, three detailed pictures and lettering.

Meek casting

Below are the results. Each image was originally engraved on steel. A combination of 120 degree engravers (and possibly a dash of 90 degree gravers) and 80 degree bulino gravers were used to execute these works. There are few that have a little more work to be done, but thus far the results are exciting.

molly casting

Molly Day

Eidman

Erin Eidman

sam casting

Sam Gleue

sage casting

Sage Hannan

Hubbs

Katie Hubbs

Anneliese cast

Anneliese Narcisi

Jpen Casting

Jennifer Pendarvis

Joanna

Joanna Wallace

ESU Yearbook Halftone blocks

I meandered though the old print services area at ESU to see if there were any items to repurpose for the benefit our department. I found a room of chairs that were a major upgrade for our print room. I am optimistic that this new level of comfort will keep people working in the print lab longer. While I was looking around, my tour guide Randy, showed me a bunch of old halftone printing blocks that were going to be thrown out. Being caught up in the spirit of the 150th anniversary of ESU, I thought it would be a fun experience to print some of these images that are relevant to the university history. Unfortunately, there is little to no information on the blocks. One block indicates that it is from the university yearbook, so I am presuming that was the purpose of the others. I demonstrated the printing of these on the small press we have and Art Major Alexandria Arceneaux became instantly addicted to printing them. Below are some of the results.

letter press 1

letter press 2

letter press 3

letter press group

These next two were experiments by Alex and I. We printed the halftone blocks on top of other prints we had initially considered unusable. Alex also integrated some of the type that we we found. Interesting results, me thinks.

letter press 4

letter press 5

Two weeks of Art Insanity

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We have had a busy and exciting past two weeks in the Art Department. Last week, Brandon Sanderson (Professor of Printmaking at UNC-Pembroke) came to Emporia State for an artist lecture.

sanderson

He visited the printmaking class and displayed a vast portfolio of his work as well as his student work.

Sanderson Talk

He also brought a few small plates for the students (Erin Eidman and Anneliese Narcisi) to edition.

Sanderson Prints

Brandon’s studio practice and work ethic are both inspiring. If you are not familiar with his work, you can check it out here – http://www.brandon-sanderson.com/

This week ESU was host to glass artist Robin Cass, Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. http://www.robincass.com/

Robin Cass poster_sm

Wednesday, November 6, she gave an artist lecture and the rest of the week she performed glass construction demonstrations.

Robin Cass

Thursday, November 7, was the opening of the faculty exhibition.

Eric

Work by Eric Conrad (Sculpture) – http://www.eric-conrad.com/ and Dan Kirchhefer (Printmaking)

Stephanie

Ceramic work by Stephanie Lanter – http://stephanielanter.com/

Roberta

Glass work by Roberta Eichenberg – http://www.robertaeichenberg.com/

Saturday, November 9, was the opening of the printmaking double feature at the Java Cat Coffee shop and Mulready’s Pub.

Emporia show_final_sm

Oz.1

We utilized Becky Lynn Mishler’s fabulous hand lettering abilities to write the show title.

Oz.2

Oz.3

Printmaking and Engraving student Erin Eidman next to her Oz inspired lithograph.

mulreadys 1

Fran Winkel’s work installed at Mulready’s Pub.

mulreadys2

Mulreadys crowd

The out pouring of community support. This event was amazing. Angie (Java Cat) and Rick (Mulready’s) and I are already conspiring to do more next Spring! I can’t wait to get the next event rolling. Keep coming out and we’ll keep doing it. Get even more people out and we’ll make it bigger.

Big thanks to Kaila Mock for helping set up all the shows thus far and being a complete professional. She IS AMAZING.

Also thanks to Cory Anderson for playing at the JavaCat. You can check him out here – http://www.reverbnation.com/sapphireson

Thanks to everybody who had a hand involved with helping any of these events happen!

What does this Art Professor Do? Part 2 – The Inferior Sequel

It became of some concern to me following my previous post that I made my job sound like there are no perks to it. Why do I still do this if there is so much work? There must be something to it, right?

So here are some of the reasons.

I like people. I like learning from other people. I like that I am in an environment that is all about the constant flow of learning. It’s endless. To get into teaching with the mindset that the learning for you is done, is rather unfortunate. If you like to continually learn, this is a good place for you.

My colleagues are knowledgeable in a multitude of areas. I know people that have been all over the world and that have exhibited/published all over the place. These are people with interesting lives and stories. These are people that are resources if I am ever curious about something in their area. I don’t merely speak of the art department, but the entire campus. It’s like one giant living micro-internet of interesting information. I love that. There are resources all over campus. That’s AMAZING to me.

As an artist/professor, I have seen places that I would have never dreamed. I didn’t get to travel a lot when I was young, so seeing places as I got older was a big deal to me. Through my profession I have traveled overseas to Guanlan, China; Dundee, Scotland; and Bristol, England. I have been able to see the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. I stood outside of the house where Martin Luther King lived in Montgomery, AL. I walked by the salon that Cindy Crawford’s mom owned in Dekalb, IL (maybe that last one isn’t as substantial, but still interesting). Would I have done this otherwise? Who knows? I have been privileged to see these places and meeting some of the people there. If you like to continually travel, this is a good place for you.

I have met artists that I looked up to as an undergrad (and still do). I have developed relationships with some amazing colleagues. I have watched students become amazing artists and great people. Through my travels, I have a second family spread all over the country – my printmaking/art family. I have friends all over the country I can visit.

There’s a lot of hard work involved to get to this point as well as to maintain it. I think I established that last time. And this post isn’t remotely supposed to be about being vainglorious. The point is to illustrate that for all hard work involved, there are perks that go with it. And most important, this is a very interesting life to have. Though this is shorter than the previous blog (I can only talk about myself in such a manner before coming nauseated; if my CV is important to you it’s on this site), I am hopeful this post balances out the last one.

What does this Art Professor do?

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What do I?

I write this to be informative to some of my family and friends outside of academia….or maybe someone who is considering a tenure track art position. I like what I do, so I don’t want the writing to come off as a rant. It’s just what it is that I do. I’m merely trying to explain what this job is like.

I often feel that there’s a perception that art professors have the easiest job on the planet. They show up for a few hours a week, talk about our feelings and then proceed to show adults how to finger paint. We then sing songs and do interpretive dances to them. Nothing else. If someone knows of a job that’s really like this, please let me know.

Preparation of project

I try to figure out what’s the best way to explain this?! It’s a challenge and you do your best to reach everybody. You have to try to think of everything that could go wrong. You have to try to predict what they might ask. You have to gauge what is reasonable for people at a certain level to figure out. Most projects that I do now are heavily outlined with all goals, requirements, a calendar of every demo and homework. It takes HOURS and HOURS to figure this out. You have to imagine doing the project yourself to figure out all the materials involved. Then you have to imagine what it’s like to do this for the first time. You have to think about the amount of time it would ideally take to pull off this project and do it successfully.

You also have to try to instill some kind of work ethic/time management/accountablity and independent critical/conceptual thinking in people – those two are easily the most challenging things about teaching. I watch motivational speaking videos and I read behavioral science to try and be more effective in these areas. Sometimes I do well and sometimes I am completely off the mark. Sometimes, I don’t think students can really fathom how badly I want them to do well. It’s completely true even though it sounds nauseatingly altruistic.

You also want to try to instill confidence in people. This is really challenging because students need critical feedback, but not at the expense of their self esteem. When I can, I have tried to give feedback in a way that proves to them that they can push themselves further.

You will never feel that you know enough. Sometimes that can be a defeating feeling. Like you are supposed to have all the answers. Teaching is SUPPOSED to be a process of constantly learning and sometimes it’s a challenge to make time for that. You do what you can. The funny thing is that you really can’t fathom what you don’t know, until you try to explain it to someone.

Making work and exhibiting

Doing my own work is increasingly challenging to pull off. I don’t get much time allotted to doing that during the week. The moments that I do are precious to me. It can take months for me to finish an engraving. Submitting work for exhibition is time consuming – you have to research where the shows are, if your work will possibly fit into the theme and if you can make the deadline. You also have to constantly document your work in case any opportunity comes up. Thankfully, I can scan most of my work. Matting, framing and packing work for ONE piece can take an entire day if starting from scratch. I am over-simplying this section. I could go on and on.

Teaching “stacked” classes

A stacked class is when multiple classes meet at the same time. For example, all of my print classes are currently at the same time. Print I all the way thru advanced. This is a major challenge to keep up with everyone. After speaking for a while demoing, sometimes you really need a breather. Coffee helps.

Advising

This entails meeting with a student to put together their schedule for the following semester or whatever they need to do to graduate the following semester. I spend about 30 minutes to an hour preparing for each person that comes in to talk to me. Sometimes an appointment can take 30 minutes (fast and efficient use of time) and sometimes it can take an hour.

Classroom tech

This entails making sure that all supplies are present and that tools are in working order. This sounds easy when there are a handful, but there are a ton in printmaking and engraving put together. It’s also a challenge to keep track of every single thing to make sure it doesn’t completely run out. You also have maintain a budget to make sure you can afford all the supplies you need for projects that you give. Some schools hire another person aside from the instructor to do this.

Receipts and purchasing

Keep receipts for EVERYTHING you buy for a class. Accounts are also limited in what can be purchased. You MUST keep track of your money. Over spending can get you in some trouble. If you don’t spend your money by the end of the academic year, it disappears. You can’t save it for a big purchase. Not only that, if you don’t spend it all, there will be perception that you don’t need that much money and will be potentially cut the next academic year.

Marketing and recruiting

As a department, we are obligated to coordinate all of our own design and advertising for ourselves. We go to events, sometimes out of town to meet prospective students. We give tours in our department. Some places hire a full time person to do this.

Committee work

There are all kinds of committees in the department and campus wide. They coordinate events and modify university policies. I am running out of steam writing this because the committee work section of this should be much longer.

Then there’s random requests for things (reference letters, art donations, etc) and fires (problems) to put out – I’d say an average of about 15 outside of class a week. Then there’s meetings outside of school for events and other community/business oriented things.

Here’s a pretty standard work week schedule

Mondays and Wednesday

Arrive around 7 or 8 am to 11:00 am

In this time I get some committee work done and other school related random tasks. Sometimes I work on class project ideas only to find that I hate them later and destroy them.

11:00 am – 12:00

I eat if I don’t get roped into doing something. Food is important. Healthy food is also tricky to find if I forgot my lunch.

12:00 – 2:50 pm

Engraving II and Advanced Engraving

3:00 – 4:00 pm – Every second and fourth Monday there’s a faculty meeting; if not this time gets used for prep work or to get something to eat. Depending on how the schedule went, I have gone days without getting anything to eat until 8:00 pm.

4:30 – 7:20

Engraving I

Tuesday and Thursday

Arrive around 7 or 8 am

Take care of any prep work for the class (getting materials ready for a demo, etc)

9:00 am – 11:50 am

Printmaking I, II, etc

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Lunch hopefully

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – timeslot available to give a student tour (Tuesdays only)

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm – Faculty Senate meeting (Tuesdays only)

Friday

Arrive at school around 9 am

Prep work, committee work

11:00 am – 11:50

AR 095 First Year Experience Class

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch

1:00 – 5:00

Depends on whether or not I want to work on school stuff over the weekend. Sometimes I leave for KC to see Fran instead of staying to work. Sometimes I’ll do as much as a I can earlier in the week to avoid having anything to do Friday afternoon so I can work on prints. Sometimes this is the only time a committee can meet.

Evenings and weekends are variable as far hours dedicated to work. It really depends on what is going on. I have done recruitment events on weekends. There’s also documenting student work and grading that can add hours to the week. Or producing a completely new project with new techniques involved. I have given myself the goal of a 40 hour work week, but it’s usually more than that depending on what’s going on. Sometimes its around 60 or 70.

Being a practicing artist is also required of the job. My goal every year is to be a part of at least 10 exhibits. You see that in the above schedule that there are virtually no studio time hours. That happens sporadically during the week sometimes. Weekends are usually studio time.

It takes a lot of energy and organizational skills to keep this up. Sometimes during the summer I don’t know what to do with myself unless I have a summer class. (Contrary to popular belief, summers are unpaid)

I left A LOT out, but did you survive this blog to the end? I almost didn’t and I wrote it!

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