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A broad stroke of the harmoniously colorful students, faculty, and events of the Fine Art Department at the Academy of Art University. Find out more about Art in the Bay area, what goes on at 60 Federal, and our extended family of students and faculty throughout the world.

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    Study Abroad

    by Jesse Mangerson

    To study abroad.

     

    We focus on process and result, through repetition. We focus on skill and technique, through repetition. We isolate ourselves for purposes of production, focus, and repetition. With this we build our abilities to approach the subject matter that we choose to address with the technical ability to succeed in that message, simple or complex.

     

    Beyond our isolation we travel for discovery and to be inspired, to break the boundaries of our own creations, to bend repetition to new experiences and to integrate those experiences into a new repeatable practice.

     

    To study from life is to observe and experience the actual existence of another entity.

     

    To paint plein air is to be present in time and space, not just talking about documenting a sense of place but actually doing so through observing, painting, and simply being there. Listening to the wind, feeling the air, smelling the breeze, and breathing in that same moment in time which graces the canvas as an organization of value and color in paint. Familiarity with technique and process give us the backbone for this experience. Our time in isolation prepares us for our time documenting the world around us and integrating our cultural experiences into that documentation.

     

    To study painting outdoors is to study where you stand in our world at that moment outside of the struggles of daily life, political influences, and the sinkhole of social media. To study abroad is to document your experience of personal discovery in shape, value, color, light, and breath.

     

    An invitation to paint the streets of Firenze, the Dolomites of Piemonte, and the canals of Venezia is an invitation to look both inwards towards your own existence and outwards towards an historical and inspirational set of locations.

     

    The Fine Art Department at AAU’s study abroad program opens these doors to students of all abilities. It sets the stage for seasoned instructors to share both technical knowledge and a meditative painting experience with a focused group of painters.

     

    The air, the light, the food, and the people of Italy encourage the painter to take visual notes on their own experience that is far beyond the studio practice.

    Click to listen to an informational meeting about Studying Abroad.


    Interview with Calvin Lai

    artist photo

    Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your history and your experience with art before arriving at the Academy?

    Art for me is an addiction that helps me stay sane and happy. It is the one thing that has been my constant companion throughout the years. Growing up in the suburbs of LA, I was often faced with situations where I felt out of place and withdrawn. It's a common story among artists, and not surprisingly I found myself always drawing. I would copy pictures and photos that were compelling to me, and through trial and error I gained an understanding of light and perspective at an early age. Eventually, I received a BA from San Francisco State, and afterwards I spent a long time traveling and studying music. It wasn't until 2008 when I decided to go to the Academy for a master's degree in illustration, but gravitated towards fine art painting instead.

    Where do you see yourself in five years time?

    There's no turning back now from my path of painting. I'm too old to do anything else career-wise with any great amount of vigor. So in five years I see myself in a large studio with an abundance of natural light, honing my skills as a painter, and getting my artistic vision out into the world. I also see this happening in or around the Bay Area as I've found a thriving musical community here which is hard to find in other cities. Being a realistic painter, I'll be making a living off of commissions and gallery sales.

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