american university

This Weekend: Spring Into Art

So since May starts next week and it's Spring... Right? Here are 5 things to help you Spring Into Art...

1. TONIGHT - Next to Last featuring Corcoran art students at WPA opens from 
2. Just when we thought it was warmer... Shiver opens on FRIDAY night at 7 pm
3. Amateur Status with Transformer and the DC Library Foundation on SATURDAY from 2-4 pm 
4. Back to School - AU opens their student show FREESPACE featuring our very own Shira Karsen on SATURDAY at 6 pm
5. Annnd we celebrated Earth Day this week with 5 local artists - CHECK THEM OUT! 

Photo Credit: Georgia Nassikas

Bringing the Art in DC to You,


The Trial and Tribulations of Collaborative Works

In a recent art class I took at American University we were assigned to create a class installation: one piece of art created by fifteen people.  I’ve always enjoyed art in part due to how personal it is for me. It becomes an escape, an area for me to freely express myself. In this project I was all of a sudden thrown into a realm that questioned my reasoning for loving art. However, by the end of the project I learned so much about myself, my approach to the arts, and the way in which art (even individual projects) are an interaction with others. Although, my vision of the piece was far from it’s outcome, I grew attached to the piece. I was able to find signatures of each member of the class, these hidden bits of personality created an overarching theme that created mood of the piece.

 Working with others is a challenge. The best thing you can do in this situation is ACCEPT IT. It’s going to take a lot of negotiating and maybe even some arguments. However, by the time you’ve created a final piece, I can guarantee you will have learned a lot, and take away new skills and perspective for when you go back to the more comforting individual projects.

One artist I spoke to recently discussed a group show she is working on. Group shows challenge the gallery to create a display in a viewer friendly manner. The artist I spoke with is also working on a collaborative piece, she explained how working with another artist has forced her to see the materials different and try new methods when working.

The beauty of collaborative works is that they throw an artist into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable area. This forces us to grow, to cultivate and strengthen are artist ability. We must become familiar with what originally seems so unapproachable, and find comfort in the discomfort. Although I will not rush into another collaborative pieces in the near future, I will remember that they help me become a stronger artist, and no longer fear them. 

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Artist of the Week: Anna Prezioso

            Each artist draws inspiration from unique personal sources. Those inspirations can reveal a narrative, a hidden bit of insight into the lives of each artist. Anna Prezioso, an MFA student at American University, creates art that evoke emotional reactions, allowing the viewer to be engulfed by the emotions that inspired her work, and this connects viewer to artist.

             Walking into Anna’s studio space the color red wraps around the wall pulling the eye through the space, causing the viewer to examine each piece. Her artwork ranges from drawing, painting, photography, audio and 3D installations. Welcoming me into her studio, I began to see a new side of Anna, the artwork became a window into the depth and range of emotions that she carries.

            I started my meeting with Anna by asking when she first realized her desire to study art. She began to tell me how her love for art has been a theme throughout her entire life. “I always have had art in my life, as far back as pre-school I’d always start drawing even if I didn’t have paper, I’d draw on a wall, I investigating spaces and found inspiration.”

            Anna got her bachelors at Mary Washington, however originally she was studying to obtain a teachers certificate, by her senior year she realized that she was passionate about art and needed to change her major. Then, two years ago she moved to D.C. where she began working towards her MFA. During grad school, she has focused on using materials and studying subjects that initially evoke a feeling of discomfort.

            “Why use red?” I asked.

            Anna kind of laughed as she looked at all the shade of red that create a strict contrast against the white walls and concrete floor. “Actually, I really don’t like the color.” She told me. “I rarely wear it, I am not comfortable using it. So, that’s why I started working with it.” There is a draw to the color in her work. Anna proceeds by saying “I am very fascinated about how red can symbolize opposites, love and hate.” She pointed to a one of her drawings, “The spiders are the same to me, I hate spiders.” She almost cringes as she says this.

Then, she gestures to her recent work with fashion. “I started working with jeans because they are generally well liked and everyone has them, but they always make me feel so constricted and uncomfortable.” Using recycled jeans, Anna is designing a series of vest. “I am making vest because they are protective, yet they could not stop a bullet, there is still a vulnerability, and then I have begun to explore the idea of when does protecting yourself become a burden and prohibit you from living and interacting with others?” She points to a dramatic vest over weighted with jeans and red thread. I realized that by using the color red, drawing spiders, and recycling jeans Anna has found comfort amongst the discomfort, her art balances opposing forces and unites them in one elegant piece.

On April 25 from 6-9 Anna will have her art displayed in a show Crossing the Bifrost at Katzen Art Center, for more information and to see Anna’s art click here.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,