So I attended the Illustration Master Class and it was hands down the most amazing experience in my life. I studied under Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Donato Giancola, Dan Dos Santos, Scott Fischer, Greg Manchess and the awesome Irene Gallo. Each and everyone of these people were absolutely incredible to be around for 18 hours a day for 7 days straight.
The faculty was amazing and so available and hands on.
Flagging down Scott Fischer and Greg Manchess for help was an experience unlike any other. They would gather around your painting, critiquing, being encouraging and doing some crazy paint-overs while being hilarious. They where the dynamic duo would paint over your work and show you what the possibilities are when painting your drawings. I think Greg Manchess gained 60 new fans this week. Very few were familiar with his work before the Master Class and I think he effected everyone there. The man is truly amazing.
Rebecca Guay put this whole things together. The Master Class was born from a conversation she had in December. And half a year later it happened. That is an incredible thing. She was able to keep it running and keep everyone excited the entire time. She is an amazing person. She was working on a painting during the class that will blow your f'n mind. I don't say that lightly.
Donato gave a lecture about the importance of making art that is meaningful to yourself that nearly moved me to tears. I was literally choked up by the time he was finished. Donato didn't really show me any painting techniques, or methods to apply to my art, he changed my entire perspective to image making.
Dan Dos Santos. What a cool cat he is. I probably bonded with Dan the most. He really forced me to get over stupid fears I had dealing with paint. I'm feel like I can actually paint now and it's all his fault. His painting from life skills are amazing. There's a story floating that he made Boris' jaw drop during a demo. Dan was really great with everyone. He was just so approachable and helpful. He had a painting he was supposed to finish while at the Master Class but he spent so much time helping the students that he got very little done on it. We all appreciate the time he put in. Plus he supplied the drinks when we were winding down which was nice. I'll be harassing Dan for his input over the weeks months and years to come. I'm sure he's thrilled.
Have you every had a picture of a person in your head for a long time before meeting that person? I pictured Boris as a man of much bravado and machismo. I mean, look at his paintings! But he is just such a cool dude. Nothing in a painting is every wrong. You can do it differently but you can't do it wrong. And the same goes to the beautiful Julie Bell. Incredibly knowledgeable and completely open to answering any dumb question you can think of. I had the pleasure of joining them for lunch in the cafeteria one afternoon and they were welcoming and great. They were both great story tellers and I enjoyed spending time with them both.
Irene Gallo is another person I had imagined completely differently. She's one of the bigger surprises of the week. I was totally intimidated by the thought of meeting her but she's totally COOL. She loves art and artists, totally geeks out on Battle Star Galactica ( though don't even mention the new season to her or she'll threaten to do bad things to your whole family) and she really pays attention to what you're doing. I guess years as an art director has trained her eyes but sh would notice the most minor of changes to your piece. It really made you feel like she was invested in what you were doing.
Dave Palumbo was on hand though he wasn't technically part of the faculty but was really cool and gave some great crits. He was always snacking on chips or looking for chips to snack on. He kept the tally when a bunch of us stayed up til 5am adding up the body count in the movie Commando.
If there's an Illustration Master Class 2009 don't go. I don't want too many people there.
Attached are just a few images that I happened to have resized that I sent to my family earlier and thought I'd throw up here real quick.
First. Art genius Donato Giancola right before shooting out my eyeball with a spinning plastic projectile:
Me with Irene Gallo, Scott Fischer and Greg Manchess. Pretty much everyone is copping a feel:
Me with Donato:
Me and Dan Dos Santos:
With my pal Boris:
There was a showing open to the public on Sunday. We had quite a few people show up despite the torrential downpour we got that afternoon:
The farewell dinner. It was sad to see the crowd dwindle as people left to go home:
And the painting I worked on at the class, and at home. It's incredibly underwhelming but it's done: