Published: April 23, 2010
Maria Cano ’10 can’t wait for figurative artist Steven Assael to come to UT this week.
met him while on a March UT travel course to New York where the
highlight was three studio visits with working artists. The fine arts
major returned to school inspired to work on the basics of drawing.
“I stink at drawing, so I used to trace. I refuse to trace anymore,” Cano said. “It made me want to work more. I want to draw.”
was “super excited” to hear that Assael will be coming to UT April
27-29 for a painting demonstration, drawing workshop and lecture, which
is open to the public and will be held Wednesday, April 28, at 11:30
a.m. in the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery.
“He’ll start and finish a
painting while he’s here,” said Assistant Professor Chris Valle, who is
organizing the visit and who led the
. “I’d like to bring a visiting artist every year. It just happens that this year it connects back to the New York trip.”
Having a celebrity in their field interacting with UT students opens the doors to a whole new way of thinking, Valle said.
“It’s something that goes beyond what the faculty here could offer,” Valle said. “It’s another perspective to see.”
a visiting artist like Assael has a similar benefit to that of the New
York trip: students get a quick immersion into the field they are
“You can’t get an understanding of art or the art
world just studying art history out of a book,” Valle said. “When you
see it in person, you get that understanding.”
As a student,
Valle participated in a similar trip which opened his mind to abstract
art. He said the week-long New York trip immerses the students in art
from the time they arrive to the time they leave, from museums to art
shows to gallery and studio visits.
“The students get a better
understanding of what it means to be an artist,” Valle said. “They get
an idea about what it takes to get there.”
For Jeff Gibbons ’10,
the trip served a practical nature. As someone who wants to work as an
artist in conceptual sculpture, he wanted to know how to make that
financially possible. He connected with one of the artists who told him
how to do it: grants.
“I had been to New York a lot but never
with the soul intent of seeing art,” Gibbons said. “Meeting the artists
and talking to them, it was about how to be an artist for me, how to get
This kind of exposure to working artists has the potential to impact the students’ work, Valle said.
are inspired in a way such that their work grows like it would over two
to three semesters,” Valle said. “They get a sense of what is possible
and what it really means to make art.”
Since their New York visit, Cano has changed technique, painting more from a distance.
took away from the trip a lot of the way Steve (Assael) approaches his
painting,” Cano said. “When I was in his studio, I got to see all the
detail, the color of his work. The pictures online don’t do it justice. I
For Kelsey Scott ’10, who went on the travel course, having individual time with artists puts them on a more accessible level.
made me feel like they are just like anyone else,” Scott said,
initially intimidated by the professional level of artists like Assael.
“They were so nice and real. When you read about them on the Internet,
you never imagine you’ll meet them in person.”
Born in 1957,
Assael focuses on the human figure, and his work is in numerous public
and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
For more information, contact Chris Valle at
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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