Every semester students in the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department discover a side of the city they haven’t seen before—even if they are native New Yorkers. It’s made possible by two courses taught by longtime faculty member Carol Fabricatore.
Entitled simply “Drawing I” and “Drawing II,” the courses take students to both famous and lesser-known New York landmarks—from Coney Island and Central Park to the High Line, Big Apple Circus and Gleason’s Gym—for extended drawing sessions. As Fabricatore says, “Anywhere can be a location, from your bathroom to the freak show at Coney Island to the cannoli-eating contest in Little Italy. It’s all in how you see things through you own eyes.”
A recent trip took students to the Metropolitan Opera for a backstage tour. The star of the performance, in this case, is Jerry, the tour guide.
“By keeping sketchbooks and compiling interviews,” Fabricatore says, “students practice using observation, memory, intuitive abilities, and using the energy and unpredictability of being on location for great risk taking.” A sampling of work by just three of the students on the trip shows how those factors come in
to play for different artists.
“You had to constantly look, listen and draw, while the guide was dishing out all
this fascinating history,” says Doug Salati, one of the students. “So it was not a lot of thinking, just your immediate response to different parts of the opera house.”
Also on the agenda this spring: the Bronx Zoo, Katz’s Deli, the Essex Street Market and the Cloisters. See the class in action on the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay tumblr.
Images, top to bottom: Doug Salati, Francisco Galarraga, and Michael Lauritano.