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Student Perspective: Mimi Kwon (MFA 2021) on Marathons

Art is a poem.

One word is very important in my life, one picture, and one moment of painting is very special. That has a power and that is my motivation to be an artist.

I fondly remember my first Marathon Drawing in 2019 with Dean Graham Nickson, which was a really wonderful experience in my life. I worked from 9am – 6pm and then we would have critique with Graham from 6pm – 10pm every night. I got home around midnight most days. I was exhausted but it was a great experience that has impacted my paintings a lot during my first year in the MFA Program.

This Fall semester, I began my second year in the MFA Program with the In-Person Sculpture Marathon taught by NYSS faculty member Jilaine Jones. Last spring semester, we switched to virtual classes in the middle of the semester because of the pandemic, so I decided to start this Fall semester with an In-Person Sculpture Marathon, and this was such a special experience too.

I am really thankful to the New York Studio School for offering an In-Person Marathon at this time. Of course, it was not easy to work all day wearing a mask, but it didn’t stop my desire to continue making sculpture at the School with my fellow students. Everyone was so excited to be in the school and focused on their own work. I realized how much we had all missed the School. During the first week, we worked from a model in the same pose and the second week we branched out and tried to use various materials with new sculptures from our everyday lives. That was such an interesting experience because, depending on the material’s character, it had different results on my sculptures. Finally, I realized what my sculpture’s problems were that they were too similar to my paintings. And this takeaway will be the key to solving my painting’s problem this fall semester. I am so glad we all finished our Marathon Sculpture well.

Now starting my second year of the MFA Program, I am participating in Dean Graham Nickson’s and Elisa Jensen’s painting atelier. Over the summer in preparation for my second year, I painted a lot and researched my thesis. Graham and Elisa already gave me a direction for my thesis before summer break. During the summer, MFA II students also met with Karen every two weeks. That helped me a lot mentally and also a good chance to talk with Karen who is my faculty for art history and thesis. I am from Korea and English is not my mother tongue so this opportunity was a good chance to prepare early in summer in advance.

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