Posts tagged: John Nickle

When poetry and angst meet

By , April 21, 2014 5:22 pm
What happens when poetry, artistic talent and biographical angst meet in Prof. John Nickle’s fifth semester Illustration class? One example is Rebekie Bennington’s mind explosive self-portrait, suggestive of the “agony of sensual chisels,” “lilac shrieks” and the “scarlet bellowings” of E.E. Cummings’ poem “My mind is.” The poem ” says Bennington, “makes references to color and explores how art can be used as a vehicle for self-discovery, something I very much relate to.”
Self Portrait by Rebekie Bennington

“My Mind Is” self-portrait by Rebekie Bennington

For Nickle’s Materials and Techniques class assignment, students were to apply classical painting techniques to a contemporary treatment of a portrait using acrylic paint.

“I like the raw energy and rough texture of Rebekie’s mixed media self-portrait,” says Nickle. “It gets at the heart of the E.E. Cumming’s poem. Rebekie is an accomplished cartoonist and usually works in a very different, elegant but more detached style. This shows that she has artistic range.”

"Drug Bath" by Rebekie Bennington

“Drug Bath” by Rebekie Bennington

Bennington had previously been crafting what she calls “tight, reference-based paintings,” such at “Death Bath,” also a vibrantly colored acrylic. It’s message is very direct. “It is an exploration,” says Bennington, “into the dangerous self indulgence of drug addiction.” 

 Her self-portrait was a return to mixed media. “I began by gluing down torn paper and then attacking the canvas with acrylic paints and colored pencils. I found old sketches to incorporate into the piece,” she says.

 

my mind is
a big hunk of irrevocable nothing which touch and
taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and
chipping with sharp fatal tools
in an agony of sensual chisels i perform squirms of
chrome and execute strides of cobalt
nevertheless i
feel that i cleverly am being altered that i slightly am
becoming something a little different, in fact
myself
Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet
bellowings.

—E. E. Cummings, from “Portraits, VII,” in “E. E. Cummings: The Complete Poems”

Portrait of Christine: not overdoing the details

By , April 4, 2014 5:30 pm
It’s so well executed: the bright-eyed sideward gaze and razor thin eyebrows. Teal-colored nails the right degree garish. A hidden expression behind a fantasy novel and an overall noir feel. “It was a process of learning when to stop, so as not to overdo certain details,” says Hiu Lim of her “Portrait of Christine,” created in Prof. John Nickle’s fifth semester illustration class.
Hiu Lim's "Portrait of Christine"

Hiu Lim’s “Portrait of Christine”

Part of Lim’s process was to create a grisaille, a painting executed almost entirely in monochrome. “It was very helpful in establishing the values and the overall warmth of the piece,” she says. “The undertone helped bring a brightness to some parts of the skin and clothes.” 

“Portrait of Christine” is on display on the third floor of the Pomerantz building. “I first saw Hiu’s work in the second semester and I am quite impressed by her growth as a painter,” says Prof. Nickle. “In just the fifth semester she is painting at a very high skill level.”

Says Lim “The painting was really a great learning experience.”

The masters reloaded

By , April 2, 2014 5:51 pm

Holding a teddy bear hostage while flaunting an arcade machine gun and goggles may be a geek’s mojo. It’s also a characterization of video game-obsessive Hyoung, a close friend of student illustrator Giancarlo Alicea. “Hyoung has a vivid imagination and a wry wit.  He’s a happy guy who is also serious and driven,” says Alicea who sought classical means to capture his friend’s duality.

Giancarlo Alicea

Giancarlo Alicea’s “Hyoung Uncommon”

“Hyoung Uncommon” was a product of “classical portraits re-imagined,” Prof. John Nickle’s assignment for a fifth semester illustration class. Students applied classical painting techniques and a “contemporary spin,” to an acrylic painting. It struck Alicea as an opportunity “to make a post-apocalyptic video game character seem magnanimous.”

Alicea chose a pharaonic pose and an undefined background, so that the focus would remain on his subject — a trick of the old masters. “The lack of extraneous detail helped focus the piece.” 

Says Prof. Nickle, “The portrait of Hyoung is both sensitive and comical.”

Giancarlo Alicea's Initial rough sketch

Giancarlo Alicea’s Initial rough sketch of “Hyoung Uncommon”

Alicea completed an early drawing, “mapping the value relationships and figuring out composition.” He then worked on an “in-progress monotone painting,” a technique “of painting in values first in order to glaze in colors on top. It helps give the final painting good luminosity.”

Monotone underpainting before color glazes are applied

Monotone underpainting of “Hyoung Uncommon” before color glazes are applied

“I love seeing the sketch with the finish to reveal some of his process,” says Prof. Nickle. “Giancarlo made constant revisions to the finished painting, which continued even after the semester ended.”

From the earliest concepts to the actual painting, says Alicea, “Prof. Nickle was a source of wisdom and support. Without his help I wouldn’t have had ‘Hyoung Uncommon’ in my portfolio.”

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