An Artist in Residence
CWA welcomed Andrew DeGoede ’07 home to the Sam & Nathalie Brown Visual Arts Center as the school’s first artist in residence.
By Joanna Manning
Upper School art teacher Christina Bertucchi didn’t pay much attention to the small room adjacent to her classroom in the art complex. For years it had simply been used as a storage space. When the school adopted a goal of making the arts more accessible to the broader community, however, Ms. Bertucchi quickly realized that the space, with its large windows facing out toward the plaza, could be transformed into a gallery. This revelation helped to springboard the visiting artist program, which began in the fall of 2018.
Just as many museums provide studio space to working artists in exchange for the public having access to them, the visiting artist program at Charles Wright seeks to provide professional artists with space to work while providing students with access to the broader artistic community.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How can students have an experience that gives them a personal connection to the art space?’” Ms. Bertucchi said. Professional artists had visited her classrooms in years past, but she wanted to implement a program that would give the entire community an opportunity to witness a professional artist’s process.
In the fall of 2018, Ms. Bertucchi invited local artist and CWA alumnus Andrew DeGoede ’07 to set up a small studio in that gallery space to work on a collection that would culminate in a gallery show in February 2019. Students were invited to watch Andrew work and ask questions about his process and methods. “It’s important for students to see the chronological development of a collection of work, to see the entire artistic process from conception to completion,” Ms. Bertucchi said.
Over time, Ms. Bertucchi hopes to invite artists working in different visual media to provide a range of perspectives and approaches to art for students to consider. “We want the students to see the artist in residence as another resource,” Ms. Bertucchi said. “And we want the community to see what we have to offer here in the art complex.”
For those who missed the opportunity to talk with Andrew during his residency, TIES staff sat down with him to learn more about his artistic background and process.
How did you become an artist?
The first oil painting I ever completed was actually here at Charles Wright, a master copy after Edvard Munch. It wasn’t until college, however, that I fully dedicated myself to painting. Originally, I was pursuing a degree in art history. It was during a summer internship in a fine artists studio, where I was studying the painting process of Rembrandt, that I realized I could no longer just read about the work of other creatives and had to make the switch from academic to artist. Since then I have been striving to improve my craft and understanding of painting.
What inspires you as an artist?
As an artist, the work of others, both old masters like Rembrandt and contemporaries, inspires me now more than ever. I love seeing an individual expressing their unique vision and understanding of any subject. In my own work, I try to exemplify this and communicate what I find beautiful about either the subject or the abstract arrangement of shapes it creates. I find myself attracted to subjects that hold subtle oppositions yet remain balanced. I look for scenes where I can pull order out of chaos, find strong shadows rolling into subtle lights, and contrast cool tones against warm.
How has your experience at CWA impacted you, either in your artwork or personally?
It has been an absolute pleasure sharing my process and thoughts with students and visitors on a daily basis. The questions each class have come with have been incredibly inspiring and reminded me of the big picture, pushing me not to get bogged down in the details of perfect execution. It also hasn’t hurt having a second or even third pair of eyes giving me regular critiques.
Can you share an example of a moment or experience you’ve had at CWA that made an impact on you, and why?
Painting in the middle of the art center, I have had many evocative conversations with passing by art students and faculty, especially Christina and Nick Bivins. Some of the big visual ideas I am thinking about cross mediums, and having the chance to hear differing perspectives has helped me think more creatively about their presentation.
What is one piece of advice you would give to young artists?
Art isn’t easy, but it should be enjoyable. Find your passion and stick with it! Learn to enjoy the process of making mistakes and learning from them. No one is born a great artist. Like practicing an instrument, it takes a lot of initial and constant practice before your creativity and self-expression can really start to flow. I believe even as a pastime, everyone should learn to observe and create as comfortably as they read and write. Like listening to music after learning to play an instrument, it reveals a deeper level of understanding and appreciation for the richness of our experiences.
Andrew’s collection was on display in the Ted Sanford Art Gallery this February. More information about the artist, including details on upcoming shows and classes, can be found on his website: degoedefineart.com.