Posts Tagged ‘ NY ’

The Class

For those that didn’t know, I have spent the last several weeks teaching an art class within the Capital District Psychiatric Center. My goal is to get funding to expand a program that makes fine art classes a part of mental health treatment both inside and outside the hospital in the city I live in: Albany, NY.

Again for those who didn’t know: this is a goal for me, because I know when I was inpatient in CDPC, art groups were important to me as a way to rebuild my life in the hard times I was having. The art groups were something I looked forward to each day when I was inpatient. AsĀ  teacher, I want to use art to help troubled people do what I did: get out of the hospital and live better lives outside of the mental health system. Mentally ill people can live full lives, hold jobs, and stay well. We can and do recover. I feel like art can help mentally ill people do that, and I am not alone in that belief.

In that spirit, I’d like to show some of the in-class demonstrations I have done. These are sketches and things I did during the class, demonstrating for my students, art techniques and skills.

It’s my hope that my students not only develop their own skill, but find ways to make art a part of thier lives once they are back living in the community –professionally, or non-professionally.

Art is important. I know from looking around my classroom, art is important to helping struggling people heal.

Some images:

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Bulletin board of my student’s work

 

[update] 5/21

This past week the class has been working with mannikins (croquis) I was able to purchase with the grant money I received. The class has really latched on to drawing with croquis. This past week, I have been encourage students to pose the croquis and talk about an incident in their lives. The class has a two-fold purpose of not only teaching art, but as an informal part of the students therapy and recover from significant mental illness (all students are currently admitted on an in-patient basis). There are two images from this (my in-class demonstrations):

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

croquis/figure study charcoal sketch on paper

 

The first sketch: a student described a family member who had overcome addiction.

 

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

Croquis/figure study charcoal on paper

 

The pose is meant to describe a student’s experience during a recent depressive episode.

 

[update]

Adding some new works, older sketches and works are towards the bottom of the post.

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Acrylic on paper, student prompt was to represent what “trouble” meant to them, based on a podcast from “This Modern Life”. Related to a San Francisco cafe whose proprietor struggles with Schizo-effective disorder.

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Fayette Michigan, abandoned town and now a historical site. Watercolor on paper.

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Lake Michigan, near Escanaba, Michigan. Watercolor on paper.

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Sketch, charcoal on paper. Portraits.

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Oil Pastel on paper. Prompt for this was encouraging students to depict “Safe Spaces”

[…]

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Sketching architecture, reproduction of Van Gogh’s House at Arles.

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Architectural study, perspective example. In this case a very quick study of the corner of Clinton and N. Pearl St. In-class example.

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Study, landscape, another Van Gogh reproduction.

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Study of Paul Klee’s “The Red Balloon,” from a lesson on using color and abstraction/ non-representational drawing.

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Architectural study, from the book “Hudson Valley Ruins.”

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Portrait, study. From a lesson about composition and placement of facial features.

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Studies: faces and facial features.

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Study, portraiture, faces and facial features.

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Placement of facial features and composition.

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Manet’s work “The Old Musician” has been a recurrent theme in my sketching. In this case, the “dread-locked cow-girl” is based off a figure in the Manet piece, and swaps the gender of a figure from Manet’s work.

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Study, dog

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Study, infant.

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Study, tree trunk.

First, a figure study. Study of a child playing, including an illustrated armature (left). In class demonstration.

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Reproduction, Paul Cezanne. Working on landscapes, explanation of horizon line. Oil pastel on paper.

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Photo Dump: Exhuman, 11/1…

Some photos from “Something Wicked” Exhuman’s event at the Fuzebox, 11.1.13:

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Photography: Urban Ruins, with commentary

The house that started it

I have always been fascinated with photographing abandoned buildings. This image is the house that started the fascination. It is a picture taken on a Pentax 35mm SLR when I was a high school student, taking a photography class. The house was an abandoned farmhouse near the home I grew up in, in rural Saratoga County. The house no longer stands. It was on a piece of property owned by my father, and my father had to demolish it because local teens were using it to party, and it was dangerous.

As a teen, I spent time inside the house. It was a real curiosity to me for how the stair-well to the second floor wound behind the living-room fire-place. There was a hole in the roof, and grass grew out of the second floor. An upstairs room had a soiled mattress in it, and stacks of pornography. This house would eventually lead me, in a round-about way, to the topic of my Masters thesis.

Fayette 1999

Fayette, Michigan

Fayette was a former industry town, near Escanaba, Michigan, where my mother grew up. The town smelted iron ore, and shipped it around the Great Lakes. When smelting methods improved, the town was abandoned. Eventually, the town became a tourist attraction, and, I think, a national park. During one of my visits to family, we visited Lafeyette, and I took these with a Pentax 35 mm SLR. These images were taken in 1999:

Fayette, Michigan

Fayette, Michigan

Fayette, Michigan

kilns, Fayette, Michigan

Town, Fayette, Michigan

Albany

Digital image, poor quality, side view, St Joseph's Church

In 2002, I moved permanently to Albany, NY, to go to college. I photographed many city land-marks with an HP digital camera. Because the files had to be transferred from computer to computer over the years, the quality of those images is poor, and most of my photos from that time are unrecoverable.

Albany has a rich history, and many of its historical landmarks have fallen into disrepair. Nevertheless, Albany remains a rich tapestry for my photographic interests. Here are some examples of significant, and insignificant urban ruins I have shot in Albany.

St. Joseph's Church, Arbor Hill, Albany

HP digital camera, Park South neighborhood, Albany

Refrigerator Building, north Albany. It recently caught fire.

Another shot of the same building, Kodak digital camera.

For my camera lens, This building has been the gift that keeps on giving. Not only is it prominent entering downtown Albany by car or bus, the damn thing burned for three days and is still there. One-time a cold storage warehouse, it’s massive and stark. Abandoned for decades, a one-time contractor entered the building to take scrap metal. The building caught fire and spewed smoke over Albany for days. The train tracks that run through north Albany (some are still in use) run practically up to the door, and the condition of near-by structures are hardly better. I’ve gotten a lot of shots over the years within blocks of this building.

Broadway, Albany, NY

Another doomed Albany building. From the outside it appears the roof has partially collapsed. This is about a block from major city attractions, only several blocks from the State Capitol.

Abandoned building, Near the Knickerbocker Arena/Times Union Center, downtown.

Madison Ave, Albany, NY

Train tracks, North Albany.

Former Trinity Church.

Image of Trinity Church. An out-of-town landlord bought this historic building, and let it crumble until it was lost to an emergency demolition. The building shares an architect with land-mark buildings in NYC and DC.

State Hospitals

When I was a literacy teacher in a GED program, I became interested in the architectural style of psychiatric hospitals popularized by Thomas Story Kirkbride. My interest in Kirkbride hospitals wedded my architectural and photographic interests to my literary and academic interests. I would eventually write my masters thesis about the Kirkbride hospitals. When I first floated the idea to my graduate adviser, I was pretty sure there was no way the school and department would let me take my degree with a paper written about Foucault’s theories, as they relate to an architectural style of state mental hospitals. I got proven wrong on that point. Here are some images so far of sites (and former sites) of the state hospitals my academic research focused on.

Out-building, former site of the North Hampton, Mass Kirkbride

Driveway, at Hudson River Psychiatric Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

While I was a teacher in a GED program, I developed a casual interest in the psychiatric reform movement of the latter half of the 19th-century. Since most of my academic research focused around the 19th-century, it was pretty natural to let a personal interest coalesce with an academic one. So, I wrote my thesis about Kirkbride hospitals, and the “Moral Treatment” movement.

Hudson River State Hospital (formerly Hudson River Lunatic Asylum, Poughkeepsie, NY), Kodak digital camera

Hudson River State Hospital, Kirkbride. Film photography, Olympus OM-1

 

Ruined barn, Bethlehem, NY. Kodak digital camera.

 

Port of Albany, Kodak digital camera

(more to come)