SchoolArts Magazine

February 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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26 FEBRUARY 2018 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A SchoolArts: When did you first realize that you are an artist? Angela Alés: I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house- hold where everyone did something artistic. My mother had a dance studio and is a painter as well. My maternal grandparents were also artists. I guess I knew I was an art- ist from a very small age. I was creating artwork and danc- ing from the moment I could walk. SA: What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? AA: The human form, due to my dancing, has always been a major theme in my work. One of the most trau - matic events in my life became an artistic influence. When I was eleven years old, my dad was in a car acci - dent. From that moment on, he was no longer able to walk. He became a quadriplegic, meaning that he is paralyzed from his neck down. My work was influenced in two different ways: I believe this experience made my work a bit darker. It also made me get closer to God, or to learn more about different spiritual philosophies, which also became very influential in my work. I am convinced that art is a mirror to the artist and it will always reflect an aspect of the artist's life that he or she might not be aware of. Life is influence. Some of the artists that have influenced my work have been Francis Bacon, Frida Kahlo, David Manzur, Joel-Peter Witkin, and Remedios Varo. SA: What role does randomness and chance play in your process? AA: I have always felt that I have two approaches to pro- ducing my art that I work with simultaneously. Some- times they merge as one. One of them has to do with randomness and chance. This particular approach is used when I do not have an idea in mind for a painting. I lay the canvas down and work by applying watered-down paint. I let it set and dry, and depending on how I feel about the outcome, I might add one or two or even more layers of watered-down paint. Once I am satisfied with the out - come, I look at the canvas, turning it around, until a shape or a specific area calls my attention. I will allow for this area to dictate the subject matter of the painting. Mulata and FishHat (page 38) are perfect examples of that. SA: What is a typical day like for you? AA: I wish there were more hours in the day. I do not have a consistent routine, but I will give you an idea. In the morning, I drive to Middlesex College where I teach drawing. I come home and try and get some artwork done before the classes I teach in my studio begin. They usually run from 4:00 to 6:00 pm and from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, but we never really end at that time. At this point, I might go back to working on my own artwork again. I have made it a point not to teach on Fridays or during the weekends so that I can have uninterrupted art time for myself. SA: How has art changed your life? AA: I always say that art is the best companion and the best therapy. As an only child, art was there for me when I was alone. Now, it allows me to understand myself. It is like introspection. Artists are very sensitive people. Art provides me with the sensibility to appreciate things that might pass unnoticed to many. Being an artist and trying to make a living from the arts is not easy, but it is beautiful. Art makes the artist vulnerable. Not just because people might judge the art, but also because you are opening yourself for all to see. Still, I am eternally grateful for this gift. SA: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as a young artist? AA: (1) Pay more attention during art history class in college. I had an amazing, knowledgeable teacher, but my age and immaturity did not allow me to appreciate the class and her knowledge. (2) The road will be a bit bumpy, but worth every second. (3) Learn about market - ing or how to promote artwork. They don't teach you the business aspect of art in art school. DISCUSSION Before class begins, write "What is your artistic voice?" on the board. Ask students to write their responses or dis - cuss them in small groups before sharing them with the class. Guide the discussion to introduce and define voice in visual art. Next, show students paintings by a variety of artists, ending with Angela Alés. Ask: • What might the "voice" of this painting sound like? Why do you think so? • What artistic preferences make up your voice? STUDIO EXPLORATIONS • List your favorite colors, textures, art materials, artis- tic subjects (people, places, objects, nature, etc.), and moods or emotions that you typically express in your art. Create an artwork that includes as many items from that list as possible. • Examine your work throughout this year to identify repeated elements (see above) that can be considered part of your voice. Create a series of works that empha - size your unique approach to making art. Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Curriculum Director and Editor at Davis Publications. RESOURCES Instagram: @angelaales Twitter: @ales_angela

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