Almost 3 years ago I made the decision to come to the New York Studio School and take Graham Nickson’s Drawing Marathon and the summer program, at first in the preparation of making my portfolio of work that I would be submitting to universities and colleges in California for my graduate degree. But as soon as I stepped through the doors of the historic building on 8th street, I realized, as an artist seeking more knowledge and ultimately myself, I had found the holy Grail.
It was not only the historic building with its maze of staircases and beautiful old architectural details, the iconic artists associated with specific studios they once in habited that enticed me, but also the faculty and people that work here. They welcomed me in an open manner that made me feel as if I was already part of a family.
There was no other choice that offered the authentic feel of a true studio practice, supported expansion of my own ideas and a diverse and eclectic group of peers.
After the marathon with Graham, we had a lovely chat in his office regarding my desire to pursue my MFA and he asked me a question that I will never forget. “Do you want to be a teacher or do you want to be an artist?” He then followed it up with “Nearly all of the students that leave our program become artists.” All of the financial concerns, logistics of moving my life to New York from California, and the fear went right out the window. This man had hit the nail on the head. In my gut I knew the answer, and for me it was simple, you only live once and if your going to be an artist of any serious conviction, let’s do it.
As Dean Graham Nickson says, it is not for the faint of heart. The hours are long, the curriculum challenging, but, if you are very serious and extremely ambitious, this is the place for you. Of course, as with anything in life, the effort that you put in directly reflects the results you receive.
It is unique, quirky, overwhelming and marches along with the ideals and beliefs held dear to some of the greatest artists of times gone by tenuously holding hands with present day. It is steeped in history, filled with incredible faculty, pushes its students to find who they are, and gives us the tools and confidence we need to succeed as artists.