A Guide to the Study of Studio Art
Only Sightings, Never Landings
Some students have known for years that they will be artists and others do not realize their potential in studying art until they experiment with an art course in college. Some students study art purely because they want to learn about art by practicing it. An art major will help you to develop your creative potential. It may mean that you have a specific talent in painting, or ceramics or some other art medium or it may mean that you have a creative vision that can be used to enhance your other talents in fields as diverse as biology, computers or writing. Many kinds of talents can be combined to advantage by today's visual artist.
How do I become an art major?
Read the college catalogue and this handbook and then consult with one of the instructors in the studio area, Professors Kreisher, Slade, Young, Rozene or Von Stengel. They will help you fill out the correct forms, direct you to the courses that you need and help you assess the courses that you want. Before declaring the major you must request a portfolio review with a member of the studio faculty. It is important to declare the major in art early in your career at Hartwick and you should be especially aware that the seven core courses and Sophomore Review must be completed in the first two years. In order to graduate in four years, you should declare the art major no later than the fall of your junior year. If you declare your interest earlier, you can plan your education so that the courses required for Liberal Arts in Practice (LAIP) help you in your career plans. It is a sound idea NOT to try and cram all the LAIP requirements into your first semesters here at Hartwick. Often these requirements can be dovetailed into the art major once a student has declared her or his major. Many art and art history courses also meet LAIP designations.
What required courses do I need to take?
There are seven core courses which must be taken within the first two years at Hartwick. Five studio courses are required and they are: Art 113: Drawing I, Art 115: 2-Dimensional Design, Art 116: Digital is Fundamental, Art 165: 3-Dimensional Design, Art 212: Drawing/The Figure or Art 217: Drawing/Works on Paper. Studio students must also complete a three course sequence in a chosen area of concentration. Because students of studio art are expected to be conversant with major trends in the history of art, studio majors take a total of five art history courses, three required World Art History (102, 103 and 104) courses, also referred to as the surveys, and two upper level courses of the student's choice .
What if I am a transfer student?
You should plan to submit a transcript of your grades and a portfolio to the department within three weeks of your transfer to Hartwick College. The department will review your credentials, determine your status, and then assist you in choosing an appropriate advisor and course of study.
What about Directed Studies and Internships?
In keeping with college regulations, Directed and Independent Studies must be approved prior to the term in which they are taken. Signatures from your academic advisor, faculty study supervisor, and chair of the Department of Art and Art History are needed. Forms may be picked up in the Registrar's Office. Directed and Independent Studies are usually not available for first and second year students.
During the fall of the second year, declared art majors participate in the sophomore review; this helps them to assess their individual progress, strengths and weaknesses, and goals within the major. More information about Sophomore Review.
In the spring of your junior year you will participate in the Junior Review exhibition in Foreman Gallery in Anderson Center. This review allows both junior studio majors and faculty to take stock of a student's progress toward the major. Strengths and weaknesses are discussed and students use the information to put together a strong and unique show in the spring of the senior year. Information sheets concerning the Junior Review are sent out in the fall semester of the junior year prior to the spring review. A student must pass the Junior Review in order to be eligible to begin the senior project in art which culminates in the Senior Projects exhibition. More information about Junior Review
Exhibition in the Foreman Gallery Students at Hartwick College are expected to do a senior thesis or project. Studio art majors complete a senior project. All senior studio majors participate in the Senior show usually scheduled in May. You will register for Art 490 fall, January or spring semester of your senior year and work closely with your project advisor(s) on your senior project. The public showing of the art work is accompanied by a written statement and an oral defense with the project advisor(s). The course is usually taken for one unit, but two units of credit may be possible. The proposal for the senior project is submitted during the fall semester of the senior year and must be approved by the department before the student can begin with the project. More information about Senior Projects.
Only Sightings, Never Landings
The Department of Art and Art History maintains a collection of works by students. This collection is a record of the work of a rich variety of student artists that have attended Hartwick College. Each year some works may be selected from the senior projects show to be added to the art department student collection; students whose works are selected are generally offered a small honorarium. Works from the collection may be borrowed for display in secure spaces throughout the campus. Many examples from this collection can be found in the library, or in administrators' offices.
What areas of concentration are available to me at Hartwick?
Photography is a rapidly expanding field and careers span a wide range of possibilities. These careers vary from the very technical to fine art choices. Beginning course work in the use of the camera, darkroom, lighting, and film are essential to all photographic careers and are taught in the Photo I and Photo II courses at Hartwick. Computer skills are also fast becoming important to photographers and are incorporated into some of our photo courses. The chances for personal expression are as wide as the interests of the individual behind the camera. If you choose a photo concentration at Hartwick, you will be using the medium primarily as an expressive art form. You will present your work in an exhibition space and you will be encouraged to experiment with photo-printmaking, computer imaging and artist's books. An internship in a photo area is a fine way to further develop your skills and to help you assess your aptitude for and love of the field. Further study may be required for specialized careers in photography such as: advertising photographer, industrial photographer, architectural photographer, fashion photographer, theatrical photographer, portrait photographer, ecological (conservation) photographer, news photographer, sports photographer, and photo journalist. Non-majors with a special interest in photography may select the Documentary Photography minor. For example, a student majoring in Biology who plans to write articles for conservation magazines could illustrate the articles with his or her own photographs. The Documentary Photography minor also works well with the English major or an art history major.
At Hartwick printmaking is taught as an experimental fine art medium through which students produce multiples of their original images. The year is divided by technique. In the fall you can learn a variety of intaglio and relief methods and in the spring, silkscreen and lithography. Printmaking I and III are offered in the fall semester while Printmaking II and III are spring course offerings. Letterpress is available in any term as a directed study and January is reserved for Round House Press projects which often emphasize the monoprint medium. For the Round House Press projects a professional artist is invited to the campus to work and produce a print or set of prints. Round House Press visiting artists are selected for the diversity and breadth of vision that they bring to Hartwick College. Skills learned by an art student concentrating in printmaking can be applied professionally by printing editions for other artists. At Hartwick, students can polish these skills by collaborating with the professional artists working on campus for the Round House Press.
Students electing to study ceramics at Hartwick College are offered a full range of experience with clay from functional forms to sculpture. In Ceramics I, students explore the plastic characteristics of clay through experiments in hand building, throwing and other means of fabrication. Participants also learn how to operate kilns as well as use and care for other studio equipment. In Ceramics II and III you will learn more advanced construction methods along with glaze chemistry and calculation. Projects may encompass functional, nonfunctional and sculptural uses of clay. You will also do further work with kilns and kiln firing as you begin to explore your own creative paths.
At Hartwick College students may also work in hot glass by taking a directed study in glassblowing. This area of exploration allows you to meet in small groups with the resident artist in glass in order to learn the techniques and concepts of glassblowing. In addition to the group meetings each week, you will work with a partner during assigned blowing times to allow you to explore the medium more fully.
Sculpture I will introduce you to the materials, tools, concepts, and language of sculpture. Modeling, carving, mold-making, metal fabrication, and lost wax bronze casting are the techniques explored during the first semester. Students in Sculpture II and III will take these techniques further as well as learning new sculptural concepts associated with construction, mixed media objects and environmental works. You will be also be encouraged to find your own vision as you progress through the sculpture courses.
Painting and drawing encompass a wide variety of media and ideas at Hartwick. In Painting I, you will learn about oil painting techniques as well as the fundamentals of composition, cohesiveness and color manipulation. You will work directly from still life, the figure, landscapes, and conceptual ideas as you explore thematic and abstract concepts. There is also a separate course in water media painting that will allow you to concentrate on developing and expanding your ideas in watercolor, acrylics and gouache. In Painting II and III the emphasis shifts more to the development of your own personal style and vision as you continue to learn and experiment with a variety of painting techniques.
At Hartwick students are encouraged both to study drawing formally and to draw and observe as much as possible. Faculty members will encourage you to use drawing skills in all your studio courses. Formal drawing courses include Drawing/The Figure and Drawing/Works on Paper. As you progress through these courses you will both improve your skill as well as begin to find your own voice.
- Digital Art and Design
Digital Art and Design introduces the student to processes of contemporary art-making and design through the use of computers and new media art technologies. By taking Digital Art and Design I, II, III, and IV students explore the many forms, functions and creative possibilities found in digital media such as digital video, digital imaging, 2-D animation, and web design. These classes prepare students for careers in web design, digital video, and animation. Digital Art and Design can also provide a solid basis for students who wish to continue their education at the graduate level.
- Papermaking and Book Arts
Although papermaking and letterpress are not areas of concentration at Hartwick, students can study these two forms of expression as complements to their chosen area of study. Papermaking is related to printmaking, painting, the book arts and sculpture. Students are encouraged to experiment in diverse areas such as these after their initial paper making experience.
Only Sightings, Never Landings
Students who are serious about a career in the arts should get as much experience as possible outside of the classroom. Here are some suggestions: Internships. First-hand experience is invaluable in finding out what your interests are as well as helping you gain valuable on-the-job training. Hartwick College offers an extensive internship program which can be investigated either through the Trustee Center or through knowledgeable faculty members.
Work/study or College Employment: Students eligible for these should plan to work in areas that overlap with their artistic interests such as the photo lab, the Design Resource Center, the Foreman Gallery, the ceramics studio, the slide library, etc. You can gain many practical skills in these areas during your college years that may help you in your job search later.
Travel: Take every opportunity to travel to galleries and museums both in this country and in foreign locations. Hartwick College generally, and the Department of Art and Art History specifically, often sponsor January term trips to various places such as Florence, Rome, Paris, the Caribbean, and New York City.
The Annual Juried Student Exhibition: Use every opportunity to exhibit your work. The Department of Art and Art History sponsors a juried student show every fall and it is an excellent chance to begin your professional career by showing your most recent work. There is also a small gallery in Dewar Hall, the Pinball Gallery, as well as exhibition opportunities in the local Oneonta and Cooperstown area.
Out-of-class events: Every semester the Department of Art and Art History sponsors a variety of exhibits in the Foreman Gallery, as well as guest lecturers and films. These enhance and compliment work done in classrooms. Declared art and art history majors are expected to attend all events. A Calendar of Events is published twice a year. Guest lecturers and exhibitors have included, Richard Artschwager, Nanette Carter, Steve Currie, Fred Escher, Robert Fichter, Denise Green, Maren Hassinger, Nancy Holt, Steve Linn, Martha Madigan, Duane Michals, Kay Miller, Olivia Parker, Sal Romano, Juan Sanchez, Paul Soldner, Kay WalkingStick, John Wood, Donna Dennis, Susan Unterberg, Michael Bramwell, Alvaro Garcia, Suzanne Bocanegra, Niki Berg, John Moore and Yong Soon Min.
Student events: Art and art history majors are especially expected to attend student related art events; these include the junior and senior exhibitions, the annual student juried show, the annual Marshmallow Peep show, and the art history senior theses presentations.
"UNTITLED" is the Hartwick College art club. "UNTITLED" sponsors bus trips to New York City, student exhibitions, and various other events. JOIN, PARTICIPATE AND ENJOY all the energy and discussion generated through these various forums. More information on Untitled.
Leadership Roles, such as being president of "UNTITLED," the student art organization, or becoming a committee member of the Foreman Institute for the Arts Advisory Board, are excellent ways to build experience in the field.
Visit the Trustee Center for Professional Development: Remember that when you start to apply for jobs or graduate school, the student who has been active in all aspects of college life and shown enthusiasm for the major with a variety of experiences will probably be the student who merits the most consideration!
For the Junior Review and Senior Projects exhibition all studio majors are expected to explain their work through the writing of an artist's statement. The following is taken from Artist Statement and Résume by Hugh Merrill in his student printmaking handbook for the Kansas City Art Institute:
What is an artist's statement? The artist's statement is a tool for the artist to clarify, in a brief and concise format, the issues and ideas concerning the development of the artist's work. An artist's statement is a clear and concise statement concerning the evolution and/or development of the studio work. It is the artist's professional voice, an introduction of the artist's thoughts and ideas to the viewer. The objects that the artist produces take on a life of their own when they leave the studio, but this does not mean that the relationship between artist and object ends. As time progresses, the work reveals itself to the artist, all its facets are not known immediately upon completion of the art work. The artist's statement describes the relationship between the maker and the object in the present, but it may change in the future with the new insights provided by time. By getting some distance from the piece, the artist can understand how each piece fits in the larger body of work. An artist's statement is never truly definitive but is a hypothesis of what you think you understand.
How do I write an artist's statement? The work put into building a foundation on which the artist's statement is based will determine the value, content and truthfulness of what is being written. Without disciplined studio work habits and a continuity of creative investigation, it is hard to establish a personal history on which to base a statement. The artist needs to establish a dialogue with the self concerning the studio work. A written record of the dialogue provides the artist with an archive of thoughts, insights and connections. This record becomes the basis on which a clear, concise and truthful voice can be developed. The artist's statement is not merely a description of the work or an explanation of the technique, but is a means of putting the creative activity and the work into the correct viewing context."
Studio journal: The most difficult thing you encounter when writing about yourself and your work is sitting down to a blank sheet of paper and trying to represent your views in a professional situation. The statement will speak for you in trying to convince and inform others about your work. The statement may be published in a catalogue or periodical, or used to apply for grants, schools or residencies. The problem of writing a clear and concise statement is compounded by the stress of competition and deadlines. A journal of thoughts, insights and ideas related to your work will provide the foundation on which to write a truthful and concise artist's statement. It provides you with both a place to start and with a few significant sentences. The importance of the journal is that it is not separated from the studio narrative and the development of your work. The journal is a dialogue between yourself as maker and as viewer. It is private and produced without the pressure of being published or judged. It is a building block, an archive of your thoughts and feelings from which a statement can be developed.
How is a statement used? As a professional vehicle, the statement accompanies the artist's portfolio and resume, giving you the opportunity to establish a context in which your work and yourself in a narrative format, rather than the shorthand style of a résumé. It provides the reader with a more personal and intellectual to the work.
How is a statement written? The first question you should ask is who is the statement being written for? The statement can be changed to meet the requirements of differing professional opportunities. There are circumstances when a statement needs to be more personal or technical, factual or philosophical. In general, artists can examine the evolution of their work on an aesthetic, technical, political and intellectual level. The artist's statement can explain some of these varying issues to the reader. The statement should not confuse, but clarify issues for the viewer, adding to his/her appreciation of your work. Autobiographical, technical and factual information is sometimes important, but it can also act as filler or become tedious. The following list is not a method for writing a statement. It is a questionnaire to help you think about your work and it offers possibilities for writing a statement:
- How did you get involved with your current studio work?
- What issues and ideas does your work address?
- What direction in your work most excites you? What artistic avenues do you wish to explore?
- Describe your work in one sentence or one photograph.
- What are the sources which reference your work?
- What artist are you looking at and what specific works?
- What formal information are you using? --historical, personal, observed?
- Describe techniques you plan to use.
- What other technical information are you planning to investigate?
- Compare your work to a movie, play, performance, book, artist, photographer, sculptor, designer or culture.
- How would you install your work in an exhibition?
- What is the relationship of your work to popular culture?
- What is the scale of your work: how big or how small?
- Explain the personal symbols and public symbols.
- What is the simplest form your work can take? The most complex form?
- Keep a journal on your studio habits for one week. Cover ideas, thoughts, influences, work habits, insights and technical possibilities.
- Respond to the above questions.
- Write a specific statement built on the reality of that week's work, a draft artist's statement.
- Keep an up-to-date résume.
The combination of the art major with the liberal arts education received at Hartwick College will prepare a student for a large variety of jobs after graduation. The Trustee Center can help you to think about and select career options that appeal to you. There is also a bookcase in the foyer of Anderson Center filled with up-to-date graduate catalogues which you can use for getting ideas and for checking to make sure that you are fulfilling the kinds of prerequisites that graduate schools require. You may also use studio faculty members as resources for career and graduate school information. Here are some of the things that you can do:
Independent artist: Although this can be accomplished with little further study, it is highly recommended that a student continue his/her art education at the graduate level.
Art Education--Teaching: Students can receive certification in art education to prepare for a teaching career at the elementary or secondary level, although this is not currently available at Hartwick College. The college is in the process of restoring the undergraduate certification program. Currently, if you are interested in public school teaching you should complete a solid studio major at Hartwick and perhaps explore an internship which gives you some teaching experience. After graduation you can go on to a university graduate program which leads to an M.A. in art education and permanent certification. Universities which offer the M.A. in Art Education include the College of St. Rose in Albany, Columbia University and New York University. Wendy Finkler ('92) recently completed the program at the College of St. Rose. Trevor Bryan '97 is in an education program at the Bank Street School in New York City. You may want to supplement your major with an internship that gives you some classroom experience. If you wish to teach in a private or parochial school, certification is usually unnecessary. Finally, if you wish to teach at the college level you will have to continue your education in graduate school and acquire an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree.
Art Conservation: This career involves graduate work in an art conservation program like the ones offered at Winterthur in Delaware or at SUNY Buffalo. If this interests you, you should have a strong art history background as well as college level chemistry. (As with all graduate work, you should check graduate catalogues early in your college career to be sure that you are taking the correct courses for admission to the specific program(s) that you desire to enter.)
Graphic Design/Illustration: This field has become almost entirely dominated by the computer in recent years. Although there will always be some demand for traditional forms of illustration, even this most resistant form requires basic computing skills so that images may be effectively transmitted and reproduced. There are opportunities in design, illustration, desk top publishing, computer imaging and multimedia in organizations of every kind and size. Generally the smaller size company will require more versatility, offering a greater range of experiences, and conversely the larger company will have more focused requirements, demanding more specialized experience. You may work independently as a free-lance artist/ designer, developing your own clients and business or work "in house" for an employer who has a regular supply of visual communications projects. The greatest opportunities exist in organizations that are visually oriented, i.e. advertising agencies, television studios, design firms, museums and organizations that have creative departments. Further study may be required to enter the professional field of graphic design.
Art Therapy: If you are interested in art therapy, you should probably major in art and minor in psychology or do a double major. Art therapy is studied at the graduate level. Sharon O'Neil '87 went on to the University of Vermont to study art therapy. Mary Beth Motz '96 is currently also studying art therapy. If you are interested in this career you should contact Professor Griffith and she can assist you in following a similar program.
Arts Administration and Gallery Work: This field can be approached in different ways and at different levels. Organizational skills and training in grant writing and budgeting are all important aspects of this field. Management courses could be helpful here. With an undergraduate degree and some experience as an assistant, Janet Garber ('92) is now Director of the Cooperstown Art Association, a nonprofit community arts organization. Roxanna Aparicio ('91) went on for a graduate degree in Art Administration at Columbia University. She is now a curatorial assistant at the International Museum of Photography/George Eastman House in Rochester, New York where she oversees a large support staff.