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Course: Painting and Drawing
Program: One-Year Course
Period: Jan 14, 2019 - Jul 26, 2019
I never dreamt I could pursue my passion professionally, but after being given this opportunity at Accademia Riaci in beautiful Italy, it seems more than possible. With the help of a few well-known professionals in Florence, I can continue to learn and blossom as an artist.
My First Art Exhibition
True learning (especially for a hard-head like myself) is in experience. This is why I’m excited to say I’ve finally experienced my first art exhibition. With the lovely support of my friends, maestros and colleagues, I was able to display my work over the last 6 months from my studies at Accademia Riaci in my series, Primavera Potpourri. My potpourri of subjects are inspired by the new season, a new way of thinking, and the learning experience.
Even some of my friends from Accademia Riaci came to San Giorgio all the way from Florence. Pictured above is one of my closest friends I’ve made during my time in Italy, Sophia Sanchez. She graduated from Accademia a few months ago with a certificate in Furniture Design. As you can tell by the photo, she’s also a very talented photographer. In fact, she’s gained a huge following on social media due to her design, marketing, photography and blogging skills. Her support at my show meant a lot to me.
These photos show the centerpiece display I crafted for the exhibition room. It took me about two weeks to collect the wine bottles, paint them with acrylics and wrap them in hemp string so that they may hang like a chandelier. It was a good way to break up the room and also a good project to take my mind off of painting for a while.
One of my greatest challenges was speaking with the townspeople. Certainly not because they are not kind, (the people of San Giorgio di Pesaro were arguably the nicest people I’ve met in Italy) but because I had to make an effort to communicate in Italian. Because I couldn’t comfortably afford even a two-week language class at school, I have been working hard to train myself. Although I quite frankly felt bombarded with so many new people, I was quite happy with the impression I made on everyone between my artist statement and our casual conversations.
Speaking of kind people, this experience was made 1000% better knowing I had these two kind women helping me at the museum. Juliana, pictured left, is the art club coordinator. She and her husband, Luciano, were so welcoming during my stay in San Giorgio; they took me on tours through the town and even offered me lunch and dinner in their lovely home. Barbara, the museum’s director pictured right, was kind enough to trust me with the space, and help me with anything I needed. She pitched in to assist me in hanging my bigger pieces, and gave me directional advice throughout the entire process.
“Public Fears in Private Places,” at 170cm x 120cm, is the biggest feature in Primavera Potpourri. I was definitely unsure of what I was going to do with this piece for a long time. It was too large to frame, but it was made to fit the concept I had begun. I had to include it in the show. As an artist with expensive taste, I found it difficult to settle for some tape and chains, but I came to really like its modern look in the end.
As for my smaller works, I was able to hand-make all of the framing within my budget. I simply varnished some wooden boards, attached silver clips, and hung the oil-on-paper paintings from them. Again, it was a simple look that had to suffice, but sometimes simple is better. I’ve already sold one piece thus far, with the entire month of June remaining.
I was so inspired by the turnout. Artists, collectors, mayors, photographers, and writers gathered here for my inauguration. I was very honored to be welcomed and introduced by the sindaco of the municipal.
I returned the following morning to Florence, and with bags in hand, I went straight to school from the train station. I had mentioned to Alessandro that it was possible that I wouldn’t be able to make it that morning. However, I felt I should at least stop by and bring him good news of a successful event. I snapped a photo of what my classmates were working on. They are some great talents from Japan!
For the remainder of this week, I found myself too tired to function with a paintbrush or pencil in hand. I attempted to come to class and work, but my progress was slow and my eyes were always low; my teachers understood that I had a long weekend full of work. With a week of rest, I was refreshed and ready for our Art Visit to Casa di Dante. This was a museum all about Dante, his writings, and how they reflected Florentine history. It was interesting to think that this time last year I was reading Alighieri’s work in a classroom in the U.S., and on this day I was standing in the same street of his home.
At Accademia Riaci, we are recruiting Course Reporters from our students. The students who are chosen to become Course Reporters are given 10 % of the tuition as their scholarship fee.
The Reporters who have submitted excellent reports will have his or her profile posted on our school website for the next 5 years as an alumnae and will be able to connect with their business chancesafter their graduation.