Saturday, October 6, 2012

Reflections of the First Week at the New York Academy of Art

Steven Assael Drawing Demo : Drawing I, First Day of Class, 2012

I've been trying to come up with catchy and witty metaphores and analogies to describe my first week here at the NYAA, and for a week I haven't come up with anything that comes close to describing this immense experience. Perhaps beginning a novel would be the only way to aptly describe everything that's transpired since Orientation on September 10th...but that won't happen at this late hour with more painting to complete for tomorrow, so...
I'll try here to briefly describe and express the my overall impressions over the last 10 days or so,
doing my best to keep from exagerating and sounding too cliche or romantic.

Remember the first time you fell in love...REALLY in love?
Time stopped when you were with that person, together all day, staying up all night, night after night, eagerly and passionately anticipating the next day, re-energized by the newness, the amazement, the total absorption in the experience, you were learning, sharing, laughing, maybe crying, you coudn't stop thinking of this person, all day long, you fell asleep with them in your mind (if not your arms) and woke to the same, night after night, day after day, you ignored your freinds, your family didn't hear from you, you were lost in bliss, exhausting yourself as if you were a starving castaway on a deserted island suddenly plopped in front of an all-you-can-eat buffet...trying to devour and savor every moment,  and every moment was like a thousand years of experience, you felt so alive, so connected, so empowered so impassioned. Drained and full at the same time.

This is sort of what this week has been like.

Then it's also like the first time I traveled to Italy, I thought I knew good deal of the Italian language but when I arrived I realized I was basically iliterate, didn't speak a word of the "real" language, was mostly just making it up as I went along, "Street Italian" as they called it. I was not an infant but felt like one in many ways. My eyes were wide open, sensing everything as if it was for the first time, incredible beauty everwhere I looked, magic, power, grace, demonstrations of the intense potential of human creativity and willpower, every conversation tore open my mind and launched me into a new realm of thinking and understanding, it was as if I was seeing the world brand new again, as a child. The inspiration rushed through me, pulsed in my veins and physically dropped me to my knees in awe more than one time.

This is also sort of what this week has been like.

The first week convinced me that the New York Academy Of Art is the most important, magical and powerful institutions and communities in the world for the study of contemporary figurative painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking...there is no equal.

I am surrounded by and studying with just over 100 of the most dedicated, talented, disciplined, focused and driven figurative artists I have ever known. Every one of my instructors is so brilliant, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do that it's almost surreal.

Considering the intense level of talent, drive and desire to do and make greatness, the overall community here is like a giant family. There is naturally competition amongst all of us, but it's focused, healthy and channeled in positive, productive and supportive ways.

I'm am beyond honored to be a part of this incredible place.

I'll be putting together some more specifics of what the first week was like, composing an example of a typical (14 hour) day here at the Academy, and will be posting it next, but this is just a primer.
My next blog will have some more photos too.
In the meantime, here's a quick and dirty sketch from Steven Assael's Drawing Class, pictured above.
It's 14" x 11" Graphite on Clay Coat paper.

Graphite Sketch on Clay Coat Paper, 14" x 11"  ©Ian Factor 2012

Now, back to the studio.

Till next time...

*(I'll be posting a new blog every other week on the Academy's Blog site, then it'll be posted here on my own blog. To see it first, and for other Academy Blogs, news and updates, check it out: )


  1. Hi Ian, I am so glad to read that you're loving the Academy as much as I am! It's neat how pretty much anyone who goes to the Academy will tell you that they are in actual love with the school! Also, you're experience in Italy is just like mine too! I remember how alert I was just hearing any Italian words that I understood. Anyway, you sure have a way with words and your drawing from Assael's class looks great! See you around the school soon Ian!

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  3. Hi Ian! Your drawing looks great! I would like to know where can you find the clay coated paper? I have been trying different art supply stores with no luck. Any advice? Thank you in advance.