A Visual Guide to Rowan Art Major Katya Palsi

Today i’m going to do something different.  Instead of the usual interview format, im simply going to let you understand Katya through her very personal and unique artwork and their descriptions.  She describes her work as a “diary”–an emotional and philosophical outlet for the world to see.  Enjoy.

For a very long time my skin would crawl the second someone picked up my sketchbook. I felt as though by looking at my art the outsider were looking into my soul, like they were reading my diary, or my thoughts.

Finally I am at the point where I am comfortable enough to share myself with the world outside of my own head. The fact that I can share my artwork is a huge step for me and it has become very liberating. It is exhilarating to expose myself is such a raw way, like I am standing on the edge of a cliff looking down; and now I am not afraid to see the bottom. I am not afraid of others seeing into me. It has become a way for me to face my inner torment – by forcing those feelings out into the open I force myself to accept them.

Color choice has always been an important part of the planning process for my work. In the past few years I have been developing my own personal relationship with color – learning psychological and physiological effects each color has on human beings.

 This piece has a great deal of personal emotion invested in it. One of the reasons being that the model is a very close friend of mine. Knowing the kind of person that he is really influenced the color and composition this.

The colors used were chosen particularly for their symbolism; green is a color of healing, balance, and life. Gold is symbolic of the sun – not only shedding light and truth, but also giving life to all it comes in contact with. Gold is a color of power, strength and justice. It is also a reference to “The Golden Rule” – treat others as you would be treated. It is no coincidence that I chose to lay the gold in the area surrounding the heart. The person who inspired this piece is very nurturing and loving, and always trying to do “the right thing.”

I chose the position the body in a way to clearly display each contour line of his muscular anatomy. The position evokes reference to Christ’s crucifixion, though I myself am not religious. The reference is more about sacrifice and selfless love than structured religion. 

 Another theme one might notice in my work is the sexual undertones in each piece.

Human sexuality is a huge personal interest of mine. I love learning about the human psyche and the psychology behind our thoughts, feelings, and motivation.

I believe that each individual’s sexuality has a huge impact on our personality. This is not to say that one must be sexually active for it to effect us – human sexuality is not simply about “sex.” Human sexuality is a basic human instinct that influences our actions and desires.

 “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” – Picasso once said. For me it is exactly that. An outlet to express things I either don’t want to say or don’t know how to.

I’ve heard many people say every artist puts themselves in each piece. I do believe that there is a part of myself in every piece I create whether it is bright and cheerful or dark and disturbing.

I have been battling depression for years, and over this past summer I completely broke down. I hit a wall. It was the most painful experience I’ve been through yet. It was completely debilitating – I couldn’t speak, only scream and sob. I co uld hardly move, the only thing I could do was carve and paint, scream and sleep. This was the only outlet I had. I wanted to hurt everything around me, I wanted to hurt myself. I had the most uncontrollable urge to destroy everything. Luckily I had art as an outlet and was able to release some of my pain through this. It saved me.

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Meet Art/Advertising Double-Major Erik Benson

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Erik Benson.  The self-proclaimed Renaissance man currently double-majors in Art and Advertising at Rowan University.  He hopes to one day utilize both degrees to work in the creative arena of advertising. Erik speaks about what initially inspired him to get into art in the audio clip below.

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Meet Art/Psych Double-Major Danielle Brazinski

Spotswood, NJ native, Danielle Brazinksi, loves people and art, so shes decided to pick up dual majors in art and psychology to eventually pursue a career in art therapy.  She is heavily involved in PROS (Peer Referral Orientation Staff) and Pscyh Alliance.  When she isn’t working as a waitress, in class, or at meetings, she spends her time engaging in her raison d’etre: creating art.

Danielle chooses not to name her pieces, she would rather people assign a title based on their own opinions.

How would you describe your artistic philosophy?

I suppose my artistic philosophy is to be able to visualize what you’re putting down on canvas, paper, etc-to be able to express or convey your own message. There are so many possibilities for you to enjoy while your mind is putting your ideas out for the world.

Why did you initially get into art?

Whenever I was in school-from the beginning where Art classes for a necessity for you to take-I always excelled past most students with my abilities. So when I got to high school and I could continue them, I did. The teacher that I had was someone who got you so mad at her that you pushed yourself to do the best you could. She did it out of love for her students, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I got into Advanced Placement Art and then into nine different colleges because of my portfolio.

Which art courses did you enjoy the most?

The art classes that I enjoyed the most were probably Jewelry and Metals because it was a way different technique than I have ever been exposed too. I was able to build 3-D pieces out of metals. I also thoroughly enjoyed my Expressive Drawing class. I was able to be as free as I wanted. There were very thin guidelines, so I was able to express myself in the best way. Also, I will add in Perception because I was able to learn about the visual system and how it responds to color from the scientific aspect of it.

What does Rowan’s membership to PAFA mean for art students?

The PAFA membership is majorly beneficial to Rowan Students in general. There aren’t many people out there who don’t enjoy looking at something magnificent like art pieces. The Rowan art students are able to go there for inspiration, and to enjoy someone’s art besides their own.

What artists influenced you the most when you started making art?

The artists that influenced me the most when I first started making art were actually the people around me. I learned so many different techniques watching them. The project that influenced me the most was when we were assigned to paint a mural in the high school. We had to work in groups, and the people that I worked with were on board to go above and beyond to paint a 576 ft mural, filling an entire hallway in the school.

What artists currently influence you?

I am, and always will be, a Salvador Dali fan. I come across many different artists and I pick up things here and there. I like Banksy a lot because he has many different qualities about his work. Chuck Close has always had a place in my heart to because of his amazing work with color. He has so many colors on a canvas, that create such an astounding piece. It is difficult to go through all my inspirations because I’ve picked up so many things over the years from things I’ve seen.

If you could give an aspiring artist one bit of advice what would it be?

If I could give words aspiration to a new artist, I would tell them that no matter what anyone else says, you are an artist because you’re able to create something that no one else can.

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Seven Exciting Exhibits in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania Area

It’s very important for budding artists (and even experienced ones) to seek outside works of creativity for inspiration.  These days, artistic illumination is always around the corner; you can view some of the world’s most famous art without leaving the confines of your home because of a neat little invention: the internet.  But while the Web offers a seemingly endless array of art, it can’t compare to seeing the works up close and personal (besides the “Mona Lisa,” which is very underwhelming in person).

This popular work of art has taken on a larger than life status but is actually only 30 x 20 7/8 inches in size.

There serendipitous nature of attending an exhibition you know little about opens the mind in ways that scrolling through photos of galleries can never match.  Here is a list of seven exciting exhibitions in the area:

Back to Basics 20 artists from Israel, Europe, and the United States join curator, Doron Rabina, at the Institute of Contemporary Art to analyze the nature of origin and originality. Open through Dec.4

Ahoy, matey! N.C Wyeth’s famous Treasure Island-inspired oil paintings on view at the Brandywine River Museum through Nov.20

N.C. Wyeth illustration inspired by Treasure Island

Gilgamesh in steel Philadelphia sculptor, Joe Mooney offers a three-dimensional retelling of the classic epic at Ursinus College through Dec. 11

Remembering South Cape May New Exhibit from curator, Robert Kenselaar, that examines the rise and fall of vibrant Cape May community.  Now at Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities til Nov. 6

The Global Art of Patchwork:Africa and Asia A wide array of patchwork from from vary countries- China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, India, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tibet- all on display at the Newark Museum through Dec.31

The Life and Death of Buildings Deals with the relationship between space and time through the deconstruction of photography and sculpture on display.  Open through Nov. 6 at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Form in Motion Iraqi-born British architect, Zaha Hadid’s innovative sculptures are on display for the first time in United States at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through March.25

Dubai Opera House and Cultural Centre by Zaha Hadid

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Group Exhibition “Repetition:Repetition:” Begins Its Run In Westby Hall


The multimedia, group exhibition, “Repetition:Repetition:” opened to an eager crowd of admirers on Wednesday, October 15.

Onlookers had the chance to view original works of art from several different genres, free of charge.

Much of the art on display, including this Summer Yates installation, is uniquely incorporated into the exhibit.

Guests who stuck around until 7 PM were lucky enough to hear independent curator, Michael Gardener, and artist, Leslie Atik, speak about the nature of repetition and how it is evoked in the art displayed.

The exhibition's curator, Michael Garden, explains how the themes of repetition, obsession, and compulsion are evoked through the art.

Leslie Atik's piece"...And ever: Notes on Thoreau" features lines written from Henry David Thoreau's "Walking"

Gina Spadavecchia watches Thomas Bugaj's "Time Lapse: Comcast Center" a video of the Comcast Center's construction, taken every day over a three year period.

"Internal Conflict" By Abby Shcmidt was made with thousands of toy soldiers.

The Exhibit will be open until November 10, 2011, and I suggest you take advantage of this display at least once!













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Q&A With Art Major Leanna Crisofulli

Leanna Crisofulli

Leanna Crisofulli is a Fine and Performing Arts major in her senior year at Rowan University.  She is the Vice President of the National Art Education Association at Rowan.  She plans on getting her Master’s degree in art therapy to eventually pursue a career in the field. 

1. How would you describe your artistic philosophy?
I believe that art is the process of creating or making something, not just the end product. I like to paint, do ceramics, photography and have recently gotten into printmaking. I’ve been working with photography since about 2006 and have since experimented with all different types of artwork since I’ve been here at Rowan University.
2. Why did you initially get into art?
I initially got into film photography because my father collected cameras and has a passion and hobby for photography. I thought the technicalities behind taking an image was a fine art within itself. Since then, I’ve learned to express myself through different mediums, such as plaster, ceramics, printmaking, and digital photography.
3. Which art courses did you enjoy the most?
I’ve enjoyed all of my art courses thus far at Rowan. I enjoy printmaking, which I’m currently enrolled in. The process before actually printing a series of images is tedious and detail-oriented, which makes me pay attention to minute details. I also enjoyed introduction to ceramics. I have a whole new appreciation for working three-dimensionally.
4. What does Rowan’s membership to PAFA mean for art students?
Learning about the institution itself as an art history monument in class was as spectacular as it was going there to see the American artwork in their collection. For the department, it’s a great feat to have a museum easily accessible to us art students and to have free admission. The building is a monument I had to study for History of American Art. It now has an installation by Claes Oldenburg on its property. 
5. What artists influenced you the most when you started making art?
When I started making artwork, I had many artists whose work I was inspired by. I liked the photographs of Ansel Adams because I love natural landscapes. I also like Juergen Teller’s photographs.  
6. What artists currently influence you?
Currently my inspiration is scattered across the board. I like the works of painter, Jenny Saville, and the architectural sculptures of Richard Serra. The simplicity of his massive, metal forms illicit an odd reaction when you’re standing next to them. 
7. If you could give an aspiring artist one bit of advice what would it be?
I would tell them to not give up when something isn’t working, to go back to it at a later date and to not get frustrated. There is no right or wrong answer in art.

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Rowan Now an Institutional Member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art

Courtesy of Phillaphelia Blog Spot

Earlier this year, Rowan became an institutional member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (PAFA).  With this distinct honor, Rowan students and faculty can gain free entry into both the museum’s locations: the Historic building and the Hamilton.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was founded in 1805 by painter Charles Wilson Peales, sculptor William Rush, and several other notable artists and entrepeneurs.  It is considered the first Art school and museum in the United States.

Being a member of this esteemed institution doesn’t just make the University look good; it offers Rowan’s art students the opportunity to visit some of the US’s finest art without any burden on the wallet.

“The opportunity to enjoy art in person is something that helps inspire an art student,” says Fred Adelson, a professor of art history at rowan university. “At the same time, all students are enhanced by any opportunity to see significant art.  Since the focus of the Academy is on American works, this becomes even more special to our cultural heritage.  We are so fortunate to have Philadelphia at our back door, so this also connects our campus in Glassboro with the city’s cultural resources; it offers another venue for all students to broaden their experiences.”

Membership into the world renown PAFA will also garner prestige for Rowan’s art program and the University as a whole.

Image Courtesy of Visitphilly.com

“It’s a big deal to become a member of PAFA,” says Rowan Admissions Coordinator and student, Danielle Petulla. “We’re one of a very select few Universities.  It’s going to get our program more attention and a lot of respect.”

PAFA is a non profit organization and depends on donations and proceeds from membership to continue its mission to “be a defining voice for education in the evolving traditions and cultural diversity of the fine arts in America.”  So after you take advantage of the wonderful free exhibits, check out the Giving and Membership page and support their cause.

Some notable Alumni of PAFA include: Daniel Garber, noted American impressionist landscape painter; David Lynch, surrealist film and television auteur; and John Marin, early American modernist painter.

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