An Experience Worth Continuing

An Experience Worth Continuing

A short dialogue with recent NYA Summer Residency Program student, Julianna Wells.
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With selected pieces curated for the opening of the New York Academy Summer Residency Program on June 30 2016, all artists were represented, and the artists were most definitely present during the event. Standing among their peers conversing with one other, as well as with guests during their show, I was able to pull one of the talented artists, Julianna Wells, aside from the excitement, and buzz of the occasion, to view her studio space and ask her to reflect on her month long residency. The following dialogue is the conversation that ensued:

Christofer Gass: How do you feel your work has progressed during your summer residency at New York Academy?

Julianna Wells: Being in an environment where everyone is working towards the same goal, which is figurative and representative painting, has kind of put me in a place where I can pursue my own goals. I have this group of people around me that are so talented, so hardworking, and that pushes me to be the best of what I can be. You have to play with people who are better than you to bring yourself up to the next level. So, they have taken us to all these studios like Steven Assael, Alyssa Monks, we heard a talk by Eric Fischl, and a lot of them talk about what figurative painting can be, where you can take it, but I think the most important thing is the Academy isn’t a place where everyone makes the same thing. All of the students receive intensive technical training, but it is up to them to decide what to do with it. Everyone learns to find their own voice, what’s important to them, and the tools they need to express that. So, it has been a very nurturing place that’s also pushed me very far to pursue my own goals.

CG: What is an important lesson you have learned while studying here this summer?

JW: There was something that my drawing teacher, Elliot Purse, first said when we worked on the figure, that it doesn’t have to be what’s in front of you. If you have this thought, or this idea, like “what if the light hit it like this” and that would make it better - then why not make it that and why not push it to be the best that you think it can be. I think that impacted the way in which I think about my own paintings and the way in which I look at things around me. I can create a work of art, not just a replicate.

CG: What aspects of New York City have you enjoyed and what was your favorite part about studying here?

JW: I love the fact that you can go to a free day at MoMA, and the whole museum is just packed with people seeing art. I love the fact that you can go to galleries every Thursday and Friday night and there is hundreds of people looking at art. There are so many people here that appreciate the art world and it just makes me happy to be an artist.

CG: What’s in store for the future? What’s next?

JW: I hope to pursue a MFA here at the New York Academy of Art. The school offers the tools and information with which students painting representation ally need to communicate, as well as pushing their students conceptually. One day, I would like to be a part of the community that walks these halls. For now, I am going to come back home to Columbus and put into practice the information I learned this summer.

(End of dialogue)

Julianna Wells is a current junior at Columbus State University, and a major in studio art with a focus on the medium of oil paint. Since beginning classes at CSU, Julianna has not only befriended, and gained the respect of her peers, but has earned the notoriety of being a dedicated, strong willed, and exceptionally talented student under the tutelage of not only the facility at the university, but among acclaimed artists working and teaching in Columbus, as well as abroad.

Although nearly a thousand miles away from home, and her place of traditional study in Columbus, Georgia, Julianna Wells had close friends, and professors from Columbus State University, arrive to her opening to admire her work that was created during her residency at New York Academy.

With the amount of dedication the artist puts towards her work and the eye of precision she persists consistently, there is only one direction for this young aspiring artist – up! Continue to keep your eyes and ears open for this artist, Julianna Wells is destined for greatness.

Cover Image Credit: Christofer Gass

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If Taylor Swift Songs Were Types Of Alcohol

Because what's better than a drink and some T-Swift?
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With Taylor Swift's quick return to the music scene... and in a big way, might I add, I decided to associate some of the best Taylor Swift songs with alcohol.

I mean, who wouldn't want to drink to Taylor Swift's catchy melodies and perfect choruses to get over an ex or tell someone exactly how you feel about them?

Taylor Swift has been around for a decade at this point, and let's face it, pretty much all of her songs could go along with at least one type of alcohol.

1. "Welcome To New York" - Moscow Mule

It only makes sense. Visit the Big Apple and you have to indulge in the state's signature cocktail. Moscow mules are a New York classic, and if it's your first night in the city and you haven't bought yourself one, are you even in New York?

2. "Blank Space" - Everclear

Think about it... A night of drinking Everclear will leave you with a giant blank space the next day. You might also look like Taylor did in the music video.

3. "Tim McGraw" - Beer

Tim McGraw is a throwback to Taylor's high school love. What better way to reminisce than with a couple friends and a keg of your favorite cheap beer?

4. "Style" - Cristal Champagne

What's more stylish than with a glass of the most expensive bubbly you can find? Just like Taylor Swift, Cristal will never go out of style.

5. "Shake It Off" - Martini

Get it? Cause you shake a martini? I might be the only one who thinks that's funny but you might end up dancing a little bit with a martini in hand when "Shake It Off" come on the radio.

6. "Red" - Merlot


Red has to go along with a red wine. What else could go along with yet *another* T-Swift breakup song?

7. "22" - Margaritas

Let's face it, when you're 22, you really only drink margaritas. They're fun- and all the hipsters are probably drinking them too.

8. "Teardrops On My Guitar" - Southern Comfort

When your heart is broken, who are you going to turn to besides the only alcohol that gives you comfort...Southern Comfort that is.

9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Fireball

I can't say I've ever met anyone who spent a night with Fireball and didn't regret it the next morning.

10. "Look What You Mad Me Do" - Tequila

T-Swift's latest single is an angry one. What better to make you angry than tequila? Taylor basically just called out everyone who had ever talked about her behind her back and she did it in true Taylor fashion-by writing a song. She was probably drunk on tequila when she wrote it too.

11. ...Ready For It? - Bottomless Mimosas

Because it's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.

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Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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