Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I thought I'd include here the "Statement Of Purpose" I submitted to the Academy for acceptance, as well as a few of the images in my portfolio. The statement is personal, yes, but describes clearly my intentions and goals for applying to this program...and only this particular program.
Thanks for checking in.

Dear New York Academy Of Art,
The sketch was of a battle scene. Soldiers strewn over the field, tanks rolling through the hills, fighter planes firing lines of "exclamation marks" from their wings and explosions scattered everywhere. I remember it vividly, it was one of the major turning points in my artistic career. I was in second grade and the rest of the class was busy struggling with their handwriting skills, mastering the upper and lower case letters on the lined sheets of paper. I was busy struggling with making my hand create the circular shape of the tank wheels as accurately as I pictured in my head. The realization that this pursuit I was obsessed with had actual purpose and meaning, and even brought recognition, came at the next moment.
My teacher arrived at my desk and calmly said, "What have we here?". She gently snatched the drawing from under my hand and stared at it intently. I knew I was done for. Walking to the front of the class she held it up and said, "Look, everyone, look at what Ian has been working on.". Terror tore through my heart. She called me up to the front of the room. As I approached she opened the bottom drawer of her filing cabinet, a huge metal monster, and pulled out a crisp clean file. "I'm giving you this personal folder," she said, "so every time you finish one of your drawings you can put it in here, to protect and keep them. They're very special."
It hit me immediately, "This is important, this is meaningful to me and to others, and I can effect people in some mysterious and positive way with my drawings...this is what I must do for the rest of my life." The realization was that clear, and it hasn't changed in over 30 years. I'm still struggling to draw the wheels as round as what I see in my head, and I embrace the power of a single act to shape the future of a young student's life.
Elvin Freytes recommend that I address my main weakness and how studying at the New York Academy Of Art would help me develop this area. Image making has always been a sacred pursuit for me, and I have always had a particular vision of what this represents and the implications of
following this path. Anyone or anything supporting me and pushing me towards and along this path is sacred as well. Alternatively, anything keeping
me from pursuing this path is in conflict with my deepest sense of self. The single minded intensity that drives me can lead to desperation and resistance when I'm expected to sacrifice my integrity or ideals. This drive and conviction, when in balance, is positive and productive, but can be negative when in the extreme state. I am constantly working on how to balance and channel this intensity in my art and in my teaching.
When Peter Drake asked during my portfolio review at the open house why I am interested in attending the NYAA, I told him of the recent plateau I've hit in my work. After that day at the school, I'm convinced that by having the opportunity to train there, surrounding myself with such incredibly driven and talented artists, all with similar passions, learning and collaborating at such a high level, focusing solely on my work for such an intense period of time I will undoubtedly break free from this plateau and discover a deeper sense of confidence, purpose and clarity. This all adds up to greater balance, which in turn manifests greater work. I feel I am at the perfect time in my life to do the most with such an opportunity. 
I have selected the particular images for my portfolio to show my full commitment to pushing and refining my craft with an open yet focused mind. Some pieces were done all from life, others were built from combinations of sketches, oil studies and photos. I wanted to show a range of methods and approaches I've been exploring, while also showing some consistency. I feel that I have occasionally tapped into some sense of "humanity" with my images, but I still have so far to go. By studying at the NYAA I intend to push further than I ever have, to rediscover an honesty and depth in my work that I may have lost sight of, and bring it to a completely new level, technically and conceptually.
Human beings, mentally and physically, have always been the main passion and interest in my art. As I look to some of the giants of figurative
painting and some of my greatest influences, past and present, many of whom teach at the NYAA (Jenny Saville, Will Cotton, Eric Fischl...and the past masters Joaquin Sorolla, John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Ilya Repin, etc.), I'm constantly reminded of what I'm searching for with my work: To tap into the potential of human connection, the 'truth' we are all part of, and to better develop the tools to communicate this experience. 
My main goals while studying at the NYAA are to deepen my understanding of anatomy and paint application while also sculpting the human form in 3 dimensions to gain a more complete knowledge of our physical bodies. The Anatomy Track will be my focus. I intend to work from life, as often as possible, on large scale life-sized single and multi figure canvases. I am intent on understanding more intimately the techniques of indirect painting and applying this to the direct panting approach I have been focusing on recently. I value the 19th century Naturalist's process and philosophy, and as they did, see the benefit in utilizing photography without becoming its slave. The subjects I'm most drawn to and which I will continue to explore while at the school are real people in real environments interacting and expressing profound, but often subtle human emotions. I also plan to further explore my fascination with the movement and functionality of the human body, especially when pushed to its limit, as my more than 30 years of training and teaching traditional healing and martial arts have perpetuated an even broader interest in these mechanisms. Though I don't intend to make overtly political statements, the concept behind my work is of the utmost importance. I will work with subjects that inevitably speak of our humanity, the human condition and some of the contemporary issues we all face, from ideas of beauty and freedom to fear and loss.
My career goals are to continue to live my life as a full time painter and teacher. The knowledge and experience I will attain at the NYAA will give me the fuel and abilities to do so, but at a much higher level in every area...to paint better, teach better and ultimately communicate through both mediums more clearly, convincingly and meaningfully to a wider audience with a more universal and direct language.
After heavily researching the different MFA schools and programs available, I have decided to apply to only one. I am fully committed to attending The New York Academy Of Art at this crucial turning point in my life and career. I would be honored and thrilled to have this opportunity.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration in reviewing these materials. I hope to see you in the fall of 2012 as an MFA student. 
With much sincerity and respect,
Ian Factor

"Pulling The Traps"  30" x 24"  Oil On Canvas

"Haymarket - Boston"  24" x 18"  Oil On Canvas
"Sleeping Lady Of Malta"  36" x 48"  Oil On Canvas
"Curtain Call"  24" x 18"  Oil On Canvas

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