Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ringling College visit

If you are keeping half an eye on up-and-coming illustrators, it would be impossible not to notice the rise of Ringling College of Art and Design these past few years. I’ve run into great student portfolios from Ringling students at Comic Con, the Society of Illustrators student exhibit, CA workshops...all over the place. So when George Pratt asked if I would come down and give a talk, I jumped at the chance to see what they were feeding these kids to make them so promising. Their secret, as it turns out, is a steady diet of drawing and painting, and good strong fundamentals.

On the first day of our visit, Greg Manchess and I looked at 600 works, from sophomore to senior levels, and curated a “Best of Ringling” exhibit of just 70 pieces. It was as inspiring as it was exhausting. As it got down to deciding class medals, we often had three or four paintings of equal merit — the decisions were heartbreaking.

One the second day, I gave a lecture about working with art directors, marketing, etc. -- my usual dog-and-pony show. Greg followed with a slide show and painting demo. While Greg was painting, I was looking at portfolios from some of the students.

All the students seemed engaged and excited to be soaking in what they could. I was glad to see the breadth of styles -- clearly they are encouraged to experiment and find their own voices. And I particularly enjoyed seeing such solid work from 2nd and 3rd year students; it’s exciting to imagine where they might be with another year or two of school behind them.

A big thanks to the Ringling faculty for having us down and being such great hosts. And a thank you to the students for a chance to look at so much good work.

GREG MANCHESS to Ringling:

“I couldn’t believe that after my afternoon lecture and demo, so many students were still watching me go. You guys are showing the signs of ambition and drive that are so very necessary to survive this business. Thanks for sticking it out. I had meant to trim about an
hour or so from that painting, but everyone had such specific questions, I couldn’t resist answering!

I was also very happy to see the level of skill that everyone displayed with their pieces for the judging. Remarkable. You made it a painful joy to select favorites. As I mentioned on Friday, if you didn't make it in, don't let it slow you down. And for those that did make it in, carry on.

Thanks for your interest in my work! When I looked into the lecture hall, I saw myself as a student, looking for the same answers as you are today. I have many now, and you will, too.”

Venessa Del Rey, Eli Minaya, Keyla Valerio
Haylee Herrick, Lamar Mathurin

Eli Minaya has a great series of photos of Greg’s demo on his blog.

More photos from the visit here.


Charles Valsechi said...

Definitely was great having the two of you!

N.Hall said...

Thanks again for taking the time to visit us!

Adam said...

Your visit was certainly much appreciated around the campus here!

Eli M. said...

it was incredible to meet you both, thanks so much for coming down!

Audrey Gonzalez said...

I will be looking back to the notes I took down from your lecture and Greg's demo for inspiration for a long time to come. Thank you for the great advice!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the experience Irene. Wish I could get over there too! Till then I'll just have to live vicariously through your posts.