I just returned from my trip to the Illustration Academy in Florida. I was brought down for the lecture week, for a three day period. I was honored to be included in the all star list of lecturers- Mark English, Chris Payne, George Pratt, Sam Weber, Jillian Tamaki, Robert Meganck, Terry Brown, Doug Chayka, Anita Kunz, Gary Kelley, Francis Livingston, Natalie Ascencios, John English and Barron Storey. While there, I was thrilled to meet David Apatoff from IllustrationArt.blogspot.com, a number of artists attending the lecture week from American Greetings, and the most talented group of students assembled anywhere on the planet.
My work seems to follow a bell curve. It begins to climb in quality as the summer program at the Illustration Academy nears, peaks during the Academy, and seems to bottom out again after I return home. Old lessons, and the positive pressure of showing my wares to a group of artists with penetrating sensitivity in image making, seems to bring out my “A” game.
That has always been the one thing about the Academy, and all art programs for that matter, that proves to be the greatest challenge. Without the community surrounding you, it becomes nearly impossible to sustain the highest level of work. That is, until now.
The Illustration Academy has just introduced the Visual Literacy Program. It is nothing short of amazing. Of course I’m biased. Hell, I’m part of this thing, and I’m still floored by what it will do for me.
So, it is 2:00 in the morning. Mark’s tar paintings are weighing heavy on my mind. I just logged on to the VLP website, found the high definition video footage of Mark’s demonstration from start to finish, fast forwarded to the part that I needed- and here I am with Mark English sitting in my studio, talking me through my painting. Crazy.
I feel that I will be getting so much more from this program than I have to contribute. Still, I’ll be sharing what I know, along with our amazing faculty through the interaction of our forums, member’s galleries, the full version of the blog, podcasts, 27+ videos (a new one added each month), and the monthly competitions for prizes.
It’s now 2:17 a.m., and I’m fired up to get back to my solo show (I don’t want to leave Mark in my studio by himself). I’ll post some of the results to the forum when I have something to share.
I hope to meet you there!