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October 16, 2004

Ted Schmidt at the New York Academy of Art

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

NYC artists and art-hobbyists are lucky to have the New York Academy of Art around. It offers visual-arts instruction based on Beaux-Arts approaches. From one point of view, this is the ultimate in stuffy, kaput art training. On the other ...

Well, a couple of notes. One is that some of the Academy's founding money came from avant-garde immortal Andy Warhol, who was fond of classical approaches and didn't want them to die. The other concerns a modernist artist I know. Loosey-goosey abstractionist though he is, he still thinks all artists should master the traditional basics before launching themselves into orbit. He also thinks that the NY Academy offers the best basic art training around.

I see that a firstclass NY Academy teacher and artist, Ted Schmidt, is giving a two-day workshop next weekend in The Art of Drawing the Head. I wish I were free to attend. I took a workshop from Schmidt a few years back and thought he was terrific: knowledgeable, passionate in a quiet and likable way, and painstaking. I can't imagine a better way to give your drawing skills a tuneup. (I'm a perpetual novice myself, and Schmidt was kind and patient with me.) Schmidt's own drawings are sumptuous beauties. One of the best things about taking a workshop with him is watching him draw. In his hands, drawing is both firm discipline and intense pleasure.



posted by Michael at October 16, 2004


Michael, do you know of any other such organizations in the rest of the country?

Posted by: lindenen on October 16, 2004 8:47 PM

Lindenen -- There's one list of schools here. I don't know why it doesn't list the NY Academy, or the Seattle Academy of Fine Arts, which I also hear good things about. I hear good things too about the Atelier in Minneapolis. But the only place I've got any actual experience with is the NY Academy. And a lot depends on the individual teacher, of course. Are you just starting out? Already an accomplished artist but looking for classical training? I'm forever doing intro-to-art-making 101 myself. But enjoying it. It's not as though I'm about to become a professional artist or anything. Still, I do like being taught actual techniques instead of contempo artsy-fartsiness. In a conversation a while back, some visitors suggested avoiding Fine Arts classes and focusing on Illustration classes instead. They're more craft-oriented and structured, or tend to be, or so I'm told. Haven't taken the advice yet, but plan to sometime.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 17, 2004 3:25 PM

I went to college where I majored in Studio Art and Foreign Affairs, but the school mainly taught artsifartsy idiocy, not drawing and painting. I didn't get much of the actual instruction I needed. I didn't learn the skills as I should have. I was very frustrated for four years. This is why I did a second major.

Posted by: lindenen on October 17, 2004 7:55 PM

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