VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3 (DECEMBER 2005)

EVERYTHING BUT…SCHOOL WORK

Anya Bailey

From the first day we walked into this school, college has been a word on every teacher’s and administrator’s lips. After all, we do attend Bard High School Early College. We are warned about bad grades, nudged into extracurricular activities and community service projects, told to take SAT after SAT, all in preparation for our future college acceptances. And although we are in an environment that is supposedly a facsimile of real college, “real” college remained a mystery to me to a certain extent, until last Tuesday the 8th of October, when my parents dragged me to Saratoga Springs New York, to look at my first college.

The first thing I was asked after I filled out a sheet with my general information was, do you play any sports. I eagerly said yes, because I am a new member of the BHSEC girls soccer team, but then became confused as the admin person, started going on about talking to coaches and sport scholarships. “Um, I just play for fun,” I responded. Although BHSEC has done a wonderful job with our several new sports teams, they are definitely not as intense as suburban sports teams, and I doubt that many of us will be looking for that in a college.

I then sat in an information session for a half an hour. The woman giving information discussed freshman seminar as a novelty, and gushed about the small classes and personal attention from professors. “I know all about this,” I thought. I was humiliated as my father commented on the fact that they boasted on having 18% diversity, “so what’s the other 82%? He said, white, Christian, straight, and from the east coast?” I’m starting to think that BHSEC will be the most diverse environment I will ever be in.

We shuffled outside to meet our tour guide, who was beach blond, tan, and wearing a polo shirt with a popped collar. We each had to introduce ourselves, and share what we were interested in studying. I panicked. I’m taking such a wide array of classes, from philosophy to biotech, and picking just a few to be interested in is such a daunting task.

The tour guide led us around the pristine campus walking backwards and shooting out facts that I tried to keep straight. Laboratories, dorms, and cafeteria, were the main sites on the tour of the campus. It was hard to remind myself that I would actually care about the menu and whether or not the dorm bathrooms were co-ed once I was attending the college. The other students on the tour asked, “Can a freshman have a car?” and “Is this a dry campus?” These are things I have never considered. Living in NYC I have no need for a car, and as for drinking; I didn’t know that was decided by a campus as a whole.

After about an hour of touring, walking through marble hallways, and being taunted by students celebrating homecoming weekend, I couldn’t help but think, “I’m going to have to do this at least twenty more times.” The differences in colleges are so slight and hard to distinguish, especially small liberal arts colleges. This first college trip was a shock. There is so much more to consider than just the academics. BHSEC might be preparing us to make insightful comments in college seminar class, but believe me, visit a real college before you assure yourself that you know what you are in for.

 

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

To the Editors,

I just finished reading through all of the articles. Most of them were very well written. Please pass on my congratulations to your staff. I was very impressed. It occurs to me that there might be some room for dialogue between the newspaper and the community council. Both of these groups are trying to get their finger on the pulse of the school — what’s happening, how is it happening, and what needs to be changed.

Best regards,

Raymond Peterson

Principal

To the Editors,

Congratulations on another great issue of The Horizon. I printed out the article about fast food and am going to send yearbook salespeople to the proprietors of the places mentioned to sell yearbook ads. Now that it’s so readable, I’m probably not the only person who has become interested in suggesting what is written in your next issue. I just dicsovered from his mom that my pleasant 10th grader Tajik Ameen is a skate boarding mega-star, recently returned from an all-expenses paid trip to California for some convention or whatever skateboarders call their big events. Maybe someone on your staff would like to interview him?

Ms. Poreba

To the Editors:

In response to the article “Tradition of the New” by Will Glovinsky, I feel compelled to set the record straight. Much of what has been deemed “the former improvisational, laissez-faire environment of Bard,” was not due to a change in administrative attitudes or rules, but simply better follow-thru on existing policies. Clubs and Faculty members interested in having a bulletin board solely devoted to their activity, club, or course, have always been required to look for the number located on the bottom of the board, and speak with the Student Activities Coordinator to sign-up (not apply) for a bulletin board, just to make sure it hadn’t already been claimed for another purpose. This rule was created so that certain clubs or activities that wanted a space that was their own, just like The Horizon, who currently claims board #19, could do so without being littered by other posters.

As for clubs, the rules have not changed. It is a Department of Education requirement that all student activities have a faculty/staff advisor. The idea/use of a Club Form with its requirements is merely being put into practice, as it had been in the past. Was “Tradition of the New” an editorial or a report? Unfortunately, many of the statements are made out of context and are not totally factual. I am always available and happy to answer questions pertaining to student activities policies.

Leah Graniela, Student Activities Coordinator

 

 

WHAT DOES YOUR STYLE SAY ABOUT YOU?

Rozan Abdulrahman

There are many factors that define an individual, one of which is clothing. The first thing a person sees when looking at a stranger is not the interior life of the stranger but their clothing. Although BHSEC is a small community not everyone is familiar with everyone else in terms of character. In the BHSEC halls for example, the first impression and the first indication of what defines each student, and even each teacher, is the outfit. There are two main fashion codes that are dominant in the school: “punk” and “ghetto”. Even though not every student is defined within these limits, these boundaries are socially constructed and have become embedded in our subconscious.

The first code, “punk”, is defined by some key features. Such features include basic jeans with hand-decorations of various sorts, t-shirts (usually dark-colored) with logos of rock bands, and Converse sneakers. Furthermore, chains worn around the neck and clipped onto various parts of the jeans are also commonly seen.

However, those who are defined as “ghetto” have different characteristics depending on the sex of the individual. For males, loose, name-brand jeans, such as Roca Wear and Pepe Jeans, are commonly worn with a loose (often plain) shirt, and a genuine fitted-cap. Tight, name-brand jeans and tight t-shirts with the logos of name brands written across the chest are commonly associated with “ghetto” females. Matching bandanas and belts are also abundant in this category. While the “ghetto” outfit often matches, the “punk” outfit is known for its self conscious uniqueness.

When asked whether he can identify someone who is defined as “punk” from someone who is defined as “ghetto”, a Year 1 student stated, “Of course, one looks one way and the other looks a different way”. This is a very common stereotype that is spread throughout the BHSEC community, but the fact is that not everyone fits into these two categories. There are many students who have a look that includes a combination of these stereotypical styles. Yet, there are others who prefer not to be categorized at all.

The BHSEC community is a microcosm of American society. The stereotypes that exist in our school exist in the world at large. WE should be proud that our school produces students who are unique and stand out in society, but there are certain aspects of our school that reveal otherwise. BHSEC students, just like other teenagers, judge others on the basis of physical features, especially clothes. Even though our students learn about philosophers such as Socrates, who emphasized the importance of virtue above material riches, it is often the case that they do not apply these virtuous concepts to their own lives. It is important to note that these two fashion codes, “punk” and “ghetto”, do not apply to everyone, as everyone does not think in the same way. Character is not always revealed by physical attributes or garments, and is also not defined by the school in which one is enrolled.

 

 

THE WINTER’S TALE AT BAM

Adriana Stark

When Shakespeare’s plays were originally produced, Lady Macbeth, Ophelia and Juliet never boasted feminine bodies, as the acting world was a man’s one and consequently both sexes were played by men. Over time, this practice would eventually give way to more inclusive and modern ideas, but there are still instances in which one can see Shakespeare as it was performed at the Globe Theatre in the 17th century.

This year in the Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the all-male theater group Propeller performed The Winter’s Tale. In the 2004 Spring Season, the group produced A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a story of magic, love, and getting lost in a wood full of fairies. As if this were not challenge enough for a group of twentieth century men, this year’s production brought the themes of jealousy and the power of women to Propeller’s able actors.

Simon Scardifield, who wonderfully portrayed Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, returned this year as the heroic Queen Hermione, a woman of wit and beauty. In the beginning of the play, Hermione is pregnant with her daughter Perdita, and Scardifield not only mastered the role of the strong female but also acted convincingly pregnant; waddle and all. The entire cast was dedicated to their characters, giving each scene their fullest. During rehearsals they were constantly stopped by the director, who told them to dive into their characters.

Propeller also had an appreciation of the audience, introducing themselves, and making the audience feel like they were involved in the production. While Hermione gave her (or his) impassioned speech after giving birth, she addressed the actual audience, rather than her fellow cast members. It was this interaction between the cast and the audience that made the play real. With a wall between the actors and the audience, theater is just a story, told with bodies on a stage. For added color, Propeller created all of their own music. The instruments used included crystal glasses, beer bottles, strings from inside a piano and a harmonica. Rehearsals were interrupted every so often to change keys and switch bottles.

The play itself was powerful and well produced. Each scene melted into the next, creating smooth transitions. Characters were strong and well developed, and the fact that they were still evolving during the last rehearsal illustrates the exhaustive task that the actors embarked upon. Humor and sadness were prevalent throughout the play, and the idea that jealousy is a destructive force was always present. The strength of women was a resonant statement, and as was stated by Adam Levy who played Paulina, strong women are some of the main characters in the play, and thus must be portrayed by strong ‘women’. As Propeller showed in 2004, past traditions can be revived with modern twists — the social implications today of strong willed women alter when men are actually trying to portray the strong women. They have shown this, yet again, in 2005, with a story of the triumph of women and the jealousy of men. I do believe that I will never see anything that matches this performance.

 

 

MOVIE REVIEW: “HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE”: DIRECTED BY MIKE NEWELL

Olivia Bernard

There are primarily two types of people who go to see Harry Potter films; one group has never read the books by J.K. Rowling and sees the movies for their entertainment value, and the other group has read each of the six novels at least once and therefore spends a good portion of their movie-viewing time thinking about whether or not each specific scene was true to the corresponding sections of the book.

If you fall into the former category of Harry Potter viewers, Goblet of Fire may be your favorite of the film series thus far. Without knowing what is to come, you will most likely be sitting on the edge of your seat for the full two hours and thirty minutes of Goblet, as it is packed with suspense and action.

Now, if you’re one of those people who has read and enjoyed the books like me, there is a possibility that you’ll find yourself feeling disappointed once the credits start to roll. It’s true, some important parts of the fourth book were clearly left on the cutting room floor (such as “The Parting of the Ways”, where the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, and the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, have a falling out when Fudge simply refuses to believe the menacing Lord Voldemort has, indeed, returned), and this may be frustrating for diehard Potter fans.

Although it is undeniable that certain people will see the movie differently, there are some aspects of Goblet that everyone will appreciate. First, the new composer, Patrick Doyle proves to be a very acceptable substitute for John Williams (who made the music for films one through three). Doyle puts a new, dark twist on the old tune “Hedwig’s Theme” that feels appropriate considering this is, without a doubt, the darkest of the Potter movies.

In addition to the fine soundtrack, the acting is significantly better in Goblet. The three teenagers; Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) have grown as actors with each film and Goblet is an example of their best work to date. All three of them do justice to their characters this time around. However, as a voracious Potter reader, I found Michael Gambon’s interpretation of Dumbledore to be even more dreadful than it has been in the past (which is saying something). I wondered while viewing Goblet if Gambon had ever even seen a copy of a Potter book.

But, despite some of the drawbacks for fans of Rowling’s books, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is worth every cent you pay to see it. The special effects are, as always, spectacular, and if nothing else, your ten dollars will be well spent for the visual stimulation.

 

 

MOVIE REVIEW: THE SQUID AND THE WHALE: DIRECTED BY NOAH BAUMBACH

Olivia Bernard

The plot of The Squid and the Whale is simple. A husband and a wife decide to get divorced, and both they and their children are suddenly thrown into a whirlwind of unfamiliar and difficult situations. The story is one that we’ve all heard before, which may detract from the viewer’s overall enjoyment of the film.

The Berkman family of the movie consists of Bernard, the father (Jeff Daniels), the mother, Joan (Laura Linney), their two sons Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank (Owen Kline), and a cat, who also has to suffer painful changes when the marriage falls to pieces.

Sure, anyone who has been touched by a divorce in some way will be able to relate to this aspect of the film. However, Squid is occasionally frustrating because it doesn’t present its audience with many new insights. It does emphasize how significantly a divorce can affect the people involved in it, but in all honesty, who isn’t aware of that?

If the viewer can overlook this stating of the obvious, the movie definitely does have redeeming qualities. For one, the acting is well done. The main characters are sufficiently realistic people despite (or perhaps because of) their quirkiness. This is particularly true about Jeff Daniels’ character. Daniels plays a selfish father who is completely oblivious to the problems, feelings, or needs of everyone else. By far, I found Bernard to be the most intriguing of the characters in the movie. He is comic, often pathetic and, from time to time, depressing. As Bernard, who published a few books in his day, becomes less and less accomplished, he becomes more and more critical of writers long considered “the greats”. He refers to “Tale of Two Cities” as “minor Charles Dickens”. Daniels pulls off this role so convincingly that he succeeds in making his audience feel pity and a certain fondness for his character at the same time. In fact, all the main characters are a bit like this; their strange, occasionally abnormal, behavior sometimes pushes you away, but you can’t help feeling a little bit of affection for them.

Most of the soundtrack is of high quality and some of the songs seem to provide insight into the characters. A few great artists are included in the soundtrack such as, Lou Reed, Pink Floyd, and Loudon Wainwright III.

If you’re holding back seeing this film because of a concern that you’ll be downcast afterwards, kick your anxiety under the sofa and visit your local theater. There is enough comedy within Squid, black though some of it may be, to provide viewers with a sense of emotional balance.

 

 

STOP THE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CAMPAIGNS

Will Glovinsky

On both sides of the Hudson, this year’s campaigns have been notable for the huge sums of personal wealth which were poured into them. Mayor Bloomberg created a hopelessly lopsided race by spending $75 million of his own fortune to ensure his reelection against Democratic challenger Fernando Ferrer, whose war chest topped out at $6.6 million.

In the New Jersey gubernatorial election, multimillionaires Jon Corzine and Douglas Forrester dug deep into their own pockets to create a hailstorm of television advertisements, particularly negative ones. Both of these races vividly illustrate the danger of allowing candidates to spend vast amounts of their own money in two separate scenarios.

The Bloomberg-Ferrer scenario reminds us that extreme disparities in candidates’ finances make for precariously unbalanced elections, while the New Jersey race provides a perfect example of what happens when opponents both have deep pockets and are willing to use them: excessive use of negative advertising. Studies suggest that these do little but disillusion voters, leading to lower voter participation overall. The injustice of this year’s mayoral election is obvious. Fernando Ferrer scraped and fought his way through the grueling Democratic primaries, spending most of his money along the way. By the time he emerged as the party’s candidate, Mr. Bloomberg had had his war-machine in operation for almost a year.

As if the benefits of incumbency were not enough, Mr. Bloomberg is a billionaire, and demonstrated in his first election that he is more than willing to use his own money to advance his candidacy. Mr. Bloomberg’s aides created extensive voter indexes like never before, borrowing a method from senior Republican strategists who helped Bush win his election and reelection. These data banks delved further than the traditional breakdowns do, surpassing matters like race, ethnicity and religion for what kinds of cars people drive and the magazines they subscribe to.

This resulted in an unfortunately one-sided race, in which Mr. Ferrer worked under the radar while voters were bombarded with Bloomberg advertisements in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and other languages. It was extremely unfortunate that Mr. Bloomberg was unable to exercise any financial self-restraint, as his impressive track record of low crime and an improving economy alone could have warranted his reelection.

In the New Jersey race, Senator Jon Corzine (who would eventually win the election) and Douglas Forrester spent $40 million and $33 million respectively (Both are big businessmen turned politicians). Even when compared to the venomous presidential election of 2004, this was a particularly bitter campaign. Both candidates were forced to defend themselves from accusations of sexual scandal and attacks became extremely personal. In the last weeks of the campaign one ad by Mr. Forrester quoted Mr. Corzine’s ex-wife in order to attack the integrity of the senator.

The danger of this scenario, in which both candidates have huge fortunes to draw upon, is that it allows for large amounts of television time to be bought for negative, or attack, advertising, which shrinks the electorate and increases political apathy. As Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar of Stanford University wrote in their 1997 book, Going Negative, “Attack advertising actually suppresses voter turnout…We would even go so far as to say that negative advertisements may pose a serious antidemocratic threat”. The book’s authors found that negative advertising’s most significant effect is to inject “cynicism and alienation” into would-be voters, because truthfully, who cares about politics when the candidate’s sexual encounters are paramount to any real issues like taxes, spending and foreign policy?

Of course, negative advertising can be used in races in which candidates do not have access to hundreds of millions of dollars, but attack ads pop up more and more frequently when there is excess cash lying around, especially in closely contested races such as the New Jersey gubernatorial, where Mr. Corzine’s led in the polls by only 2-12 percentage points.

These scenarios offer two valid reasons as to why campaign finance laws need to be rethought. More specifically, those who defend the individual’s right to use personal wealth as he or she pleases must look at these scenarios and ask themselves whether lopsided and extremely negative races are the ideal. Politics should be about issues, not sex and money.

 

 

BHSEC BAND PROFILE: PROMETHEUS BLOOD

Sarah Marlow

Almost every teenager in the world has dreamed of starting a band with their friends, recording music, and hitting it big. Sadly, this dream of reaching music celebrity isn’t reached by many. However, a few BHSEC students are well on their way to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Take Stella Jones and Greg Roberts, two-thirds of the band Prometheus Blond. Roberts, a Year 1 at BHSEC, fills the roles of lead guitarist as well as that of lead singer. Jones, a freshman here at Bard plays the drums. Chris Medina, of Regis High School, plays bass and completes the trio.

The band has only been together for about two months, but you would never guess that, given their chemistry and sound. Another surprising fact is that Jones has been playing the drums for just as long. Yup, that’s right…two months.

Jones and Roberts handled this interview like pros, giving answers that are vague, but not too vague. They don’t seem to have a problem with the noisy auditorium, or with finishing each other’s sentences.

Even though they get along well, they don’t agree on everything; Roberts cites their influences as, “a little bit of everything” while Jones cites “a sort of rock-blues feeling,” as having a major impact on their music. Neither could pinpoint the moment, or the reason, for the band’s conception. “It just kind of worked,” they both agreed.

Now, onto the question whose answer you’ve been waiting to hear: How did they come up with the name ‘Prometheus Blond’? To make a long story short, it involves a band-name brainstorm session with Ben Foley (Roberts’ classmate, who also taught Jones to play the drums), a book, and a stuffed animal. The book reminded Roberts of a stuffed monkey toy. One thing led to another, and Prometheus Blind was born. Of course, it was then transformed into Prometheus Blond, “which works too,” Roberts laughed, “because the monkey has blond hair.”

Jones and Roberts aren’t quite sure what the future of the band is; they see it as “more of a jam” and a “fun, no stress thing.” However, you can listen to three of their songs on the band’s Myspace (www.myspace.com/prometheusblond).

A bystander commented “You should write songs about your relationship. Break-ups make good songs.” Jones and Roberts glared at the offender, looked at each other, and shrugged it off. The show must go on, right?

 

 

BHSEC BAND PROFILE: SLOW CHILDREN

Chloe Steinhoff-Smith

Will Glovinsky and Zane Smith are Slow Children, a classic rock duo with a surprisingly mature sound. Influenced strongly by John Lennon as well as a range of musicians from the White Stripes to Bruce Springsteen, Slow Children’s music has an element of folk rock in its throwback sound, while softer songs like “Writing My Farewell” are suggestive of modern pop-rock groups such as Bright Eyes.

Will began his musical experience on the violin, Zane on piano. They play multiple instruments in the band — Will plays mandolin, lead guitar, and a little piano as well as backup vocals, and Zane plays rhythm guitar, bass, piano, and lead vocals — layering tracks when they record. This means that it would be difficult for Slow Children to play a live show without adding another person into the mix. When asked if they are planning on adding a new band member any time soon Will and Zane agreed that a full band and live shows might come in the future. At the moment, they are content with having fun and making music all by themselves. The music, written mostly by Will, covers topics which are close to him. This complete lack of attention to public image allows Slow Children to create music that is substantial.

Will and Zane are sophomores at BHSEC, and are close friends as well as band mates. Their closeness is apparent in their music. The tight harmonies and smooth riffs in their songs usually take bands years to master. Both boys agree that their friendship helps them understand each other and to avoid the petty arguments which pull so many high school bands apart. Music is important to both of them, but their friendship will always come first.

Will and Zane are the last two people one might expect to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Standard wardrobe for both includes neither skin-tight jeans nor pin-striped blazers. Their hair remains decidedly short and simple, and their eyes unlined. They don’t play sensational live shows and there’s no rock star swagger in their step.

As with any band, especially one as young and new as this one, there is definitely much room for growth and development. So far, Slow Children doesn’t have an official website, only a Myspace page (www.myspace.com/slowchildrenband01) where loyal fans (mostly friends of the duo) can come to hear a few songs and get a taste of what the band is really about, but which ultimately leaves them hungry for more. Will and Zane are unsure if there will be demos or albums in their future. “I don’t feel I will want a serious commitment any time in the future. I like it now because it’s so laid back. It’s like we can play when we want and I love when we do,” says Zane. Will adds that, “not having more band members or booking gigs means that there is no commitment; we can do it when we want to.” Although this laid back attitude is what gives Slow Children’s music its sound, it doesn’t promise much to fans. For the time being, at least, it seems Slow Children is a hobby, not a possible career path.

 

 

TEACHER PROFILE: MR. CASEY: “LIFE IS WONDERFUL.”

Zane Smith

Most of you know Tim Casey as Bard’s art teacher, or perhaps all you know is that he drives a motorcycle to BHSEC every morning. Mr. Casey is an artist who expresses his world through his own eyes for others to see through their eyes. Take a step back and look at Tim Casey, Bard’s art teacher, to understand his love for teaching and making art throughout this continuum we call life.

Q: How long have you been painting?

A: I graduated from Art School in 1972. I majored in painting, so I was painting as a student with a master’s degree for six years, and for 33 years I’ve been painting ever since.

Q: How long have you been teaching art?

A: I started teaching in New York around 1988. Before I started teaching in New York, I had many other jobs. I started as a cabinetmaker, as a way to make money. I worked for 12 years in Public Schools all around the city. Bard contracted for a teacher to teach for two or three days a week at the campus over in Brooklyn, and they hired me to go and do that. So it was after a semester of teaching at BHSEC that they asked me to teach full time.

Q: What influences your art? What influenced you to begin making art?

A: There are lots of different theories about what motivates people to make art or to do anything creative. One Irish writer was recently quoted as saying, “All art is a form of recovery; it is a form of going back deep into your history and making form out of things that are important from the very early stages of your life.” I think part of that is true, but then it’s also about an ongoing conversation about what you’re experiencing in the present and what you think about the future. I was always drawing as a little kid, so somehow the visual language was the one I liked to use. I think painting and any kind of art is about what you think is important about life and what has affected you about life. It is a little more complicated than “expressing yourself.” It’s giving the concrete form to things you think are important. But then the question is, what do you think is important and why? And that is a big question. I think I’m like a lot of artists, because I’m not always sure of what my artwork is about or why I do it; you just do it. But I think it has a lot to do with nature, it has a lot to do with a feeling of reverence, the importance of life, the fascination with this world and a common interest in human consciousness; what makes us human and how we as humans relate to the rest of nature.

Q: What is your artistic style? What mediums do you use?

A: I’m an abstract painter, which comes to a surprise to many of my students because we spend so much time drawing and working from life, but I think learning to see by observing things is the basis for whichever style you use. I worked representational for a long time, but my works now are big abstract paintings. I work on wood panels with oil paint. I am giving a talk on my work on November 16, and there is also a website you can go to see my work at Johndavisgallery.com.

Q: How much time do you spend making one painting?

A: Most of my paintings are pretty big. They are about 6 feet high by 5 and a half feet wide. I use a lot of layers of wet paint that has to dry over night, or at least after every time I work on them. So I usually work on about 7 or 8 big paintings at a time and some little things as well. To finish about 7 or 8 paintings takes me about a year.

Q: Does your artwork have a message, or just a personal meaning to you?

A: Well, I don’t think you can separate the two. I think that everybody who makes creative statements is doing it for personal reasons but also as a form of communication, as a form of stating value. I think all art is some combination of a validation and a critique of the society we live in. Visual art presents moments that are crystallized. My paintings are moments of reflection and repose and careful observation, which are made possible because I live in a culture that provides me with a context to view the world and nature in my own certain way. Some of the things I’m trying to say is that life is really wonderful. That direct experience of reality is a pathway to important insights about things so that life and temperature and weather and landscape and the sky and the way the moon looks are things that are really worth paying attention to. They produce a lot of views and ideas that help us live a worthwhile life.

Q: How has your teaching influenced your art?

A: I don’t see my teaching and my painting separated; I see them as a part of the project of my life. My art is limited to a fairly specialized way of acting. I thought when I started my career as an artist that my art would be very political and have a lot of narrative and tell a lot of stories, and it turns out that that’s not the case. The art that my intuition seems to want to make is really very focused in a very abstract way. I have a lot of other interests like political interests, social interests, ideas about justice and ideas about how people can best behave towards each other. I think a lot of that gets acted out in teaching. The message of my art that I was talking about before, about the importance of direct experience and the importance of really looking at things and caring about what you look at, is all in my teaching too. That’s really the basis of my teaching. But I don’t see a lot of things happening in my studio that relates to how I teach. Although, the good thing about teaching is that it always keeps you in touch with the basic truths about discipline because you have to make that very clear and direct when teaching at the beginning of an intermediate level. It’s easy when you’ve been doing something for 30 years to kind of forget some of those basic facts and truths or ideas about what it is you’re trying to do. So, teaching keeps you fresh in that way. Teaching is as much a social function for me as anything else. In fact when I’m through teaching and I go into my studio at night, they’re pretty different worlds. When you’re a teacher you’re dealing with how you can approach these issues for the first time. In other words, I have students who come into my class who have never been here before and some who have never had an art class before. So how do you approach issues of vision and aesthetics and value and just simple observation? It’s the very beginning of your journey. When I am going into my studio, I am approaching the very same issues but with a 30 year history. So it’s a different world or it’s a different place on a continuum.

 
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