Collegial Art with Prof. Julia Jacquette

Energy, excitement, and wide-ranging talent were in evidence in Prof. Julia Jacquette’s Fine Arts course, Painting VI: Sources of Painted Imagery, when Joan Endres from the Dean’s Office came by to view student critiques. Here’s a closer look.

Marissa Bohk. Photo: Joan Endres
Painting by Marissa Bohk. Photo: Julia Jacquette

The class of 23 students was well along on their assignment, Identity and Cultural Influence, when Endres, who oversees the Art and Design Instagram account, visited them in week five, a third of the way through the spring semester. Many of the photos she posted are repeated here.

Abigail Dutes. Photo: Joan Endres

“The experience of observing the students’ critiques was inspiring,” said Endres, a communications associate for the School of Art and Design.

“They all know each other, having shared classes and have such thoughtful, encouraging comments about each others’ work.  There’s a sense of community among these artists who are finding their own voices and have sharp insight about their colleagues’ work,” she said.

Kayla Edmonston. Photo: Julia Jacquette

In their junior year — and in this third course in the painting sequence — students “still have structured assignments,” says Prof. Jacquette. “But in my section and the other section, taught by Prof. John Allen, they’re encouraged to focus on their own vision.”

Rebecca Cooper, “A_Woman of Valor.” Photo: John Allen

Jacquette’s intention is for the assignments and in-class prompts to continue providing structure, but also to allow for latitude as they master and hone their skills.

Kai Liguori. Photo: Joan Endres
Kai Liguori

Jacquette conducts two major group critiques like the one Endres watched, and many more impromptu ones that don’t take a full class.

For this project, the students start with sketches of their initial ideas for their painting. They also respond to a worksheet where Jacquette asks them their ideas for personal identity or what might be their cultural influences. The worksheet is meant to help bring ideas to the fore.

Kaili Woop. Photo: Joan Endres

Students are also asked to create digital folders and actual hard copy folders of visual research, photos of what interests them visually, and that might include imagery of the cultures they’re from or that influenced them.

Huairan Zhang. Photo: Joan Endres
Huairan Zhang. Photo: Julia Jacquette

For this first assignment of the semester, Jacquette asked them to take a stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, making sure to include galleries of non-Western art.

Tyler Lormel. Photo: Julia Jacquette
Tyler Lormel. Photo: Julia Jacquette

“They were encouraged to use the Met as a visual library,” she said.

Jacquette notes that “a lot of those ideas about structure, preparation, and exercises, were developed with my colleagues. Kudos!”

Jess Romano Sossi. Photo: Joan Endres
Jess Sossi Romano

“I try to give them assignments that allow them to bring their own vision to the art,” says Jacquette.

It’s easy to say but not always easy to execute. “As a professor you know they must use of certain skills that they’re still learning, but in advanced courses like this one, skills may be more about form than content.”

Harry Wyatt. Photo: Joan Endres
Harry Wyatt. Photo: Julia Jacquette

Jacquette praised her students, saying “this group really embraced that they are game for the idea that they still need prompts but are also bringing their own ideas to the assignments.

Gloria Lee Seonhee. Photo: Julia Jacquette
Jane Schechter. Photo: Julia Jacquette

Despite the large class size, she said, “this is probably the best class I’ve ever had as a group…maybe ever.”

In this class, Jacquette conducts two major group critiques and many more impromptu ones that don’t take a full class.

Grace Keller. Photo: Joan_Endres
Grace Keller. Photo: Julia Jacquette

In Jacquette’s words, “Because it’s an advanced class and they are really segued into making self-determined art work,  it requires a lot of one-on-one discussion.

“It requires me, as the professor, not only giving feedback and suggestions but really giving them advice about how to strengthen whatever they want to be doing,” says Jacquette.

Dylan Daxian Zhao. Photo: Julia Jacquette

“Whatever their ideas are, I’m helping them make those ideas clearer to achieve the best work they can with the choices they’re making.”

Dylan Daxian Zhao. Photo: Julia Jacquette

Jacquette says painting classes in her own junior year, at Skidmore, “were very similar to this in many ways.”

“I’m bringing that experience and pride as a student to my students now,” she said.

“I actually remember the work that I started making as a junior. It was the first time I felt that it was my art work.

Elliot Tellef. Photo: Julia Jacquette

“I loved all the classes I took at Skidmore. During my junior year we were encouraged to find our own voice. My excellent professors worked with me to strengthen that voice.

Olivia Oppenheim. Julia Jacquette

“I hadn’t thought about that until this moment, but that work to this day is still important to me. I don’t show it. I don’t exhibit it, but how pleasurable it was to be making something completely of my own choice.”

But, Jacquette adds, “as I am doing now with my own students, I was nudged, I was given prompts.”

For more information about the Fine Arts AAS and BFA programs, visit: Fine Arts at FIT.

Follow the School of Art and Design on Twitter: @fit_artdesign and IG: @fit_artdesign.

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