Bethany Habegger – Fall 2017 Honorable Mention

Meet Bethany Habegger, a freshman at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana who is majoring in Fine Arts/ Arts Education. We would like to congratulate Ms. Habegger on being selected as one of the three recipients of our Fall 2017 Honorable Mention Commendations for a Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarship. You can read Bethany Habegger’s artist statement below:

“Proper education is crucial to being successful with future endeavors, such as career goals. As a student who is dedicated to achieving high classroom grades, I am well aware of what it takes to reach a goal. Throughout my high school career, I have taken many leaps and bounds toward reaching my upcoming graduation and future college life…. I am a visual artist, and I have made every effort to create a unique portfolio of artwork that I have shared by exhibiting my work. … During my college career, I want to soak in knowledge, new experiences and explore creating art and improving as an artist. I am so excited to have the opportunity to expand how I can create art and share it with others. I want to grow my skills and show the world my creations so that they can hopefully have an impact on others. My goal is to be accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, a very specialized professional arts program, and I plan to also take business classes to increase my knowledge about how to market my work.

After earning a BFA in painting, I plan to continue my education by attending graduate school. I am interested in exploring careers in the field of museum studies or teaching art at the college level. I want to make the best use of my skills to engage others with art and improve my community. … There are so many possibilities for the years to come, and no matter which career path I take, I know that my passions will be my driving force. I will continue to make art and share my vision; this passion will be a part of my life no matter what career path I take. 

Ghost, 2017 ©Bethany Habegger

Speckles, 2017 ©Bethany Habegger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Logan Magee – Fall 2017 Scholarship Winner

Meet Logan Magee, a freshman at The New School, New York City, New York who is majoring in Communications Design. We would like to congratulate Ms. Magee on being selected as one of three recipients of our Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarships for the Fall 2017 term. You can read Logan Magee’s artist statement below:

“I have created art all of my life. Even when I was very little I would force my mother to draw smiley faces so I could see how she did it. When I began drawing, I drew girls and boys; their hair was the yellow crayon, their skin was the skin crayon (a crayon that looks like a mix of apricot, white, and tan. Should’ve been named “fair skin”), and the lips on their smiling faces were light pink. Growing up, I didn’t even notice that I was only drawing white people. I had normalized “white” as normal. I had never included myself. As I grew, I studied art more intensely and learned art history. I loved the Renaissance; porcelain white skin in flowing white robes was a common motif that symbolized innocence, purity, and most importantly, beauty.

However, I was internalizing this and applying it to myself. From about fourth to eighth grade, I started to hate my dark, tightly coiled hair, my golden brown skin, and my developing curves. I decided to cut and relax my hair, and I hung out with a mainly white crowd. I also applied this negative thinking to my art. I painted white girls with blonde hair, and rosy cheeks. I remember quite often my mother would ask me “Why don’t you ever paint any black girls?” My response was usually “No reason, I just paint,” but secretly, I was scared to. I neglected representing anything other than European beauty standards. Seeing only white women being the subject of both art and beauty ads made me process “white” as beautiful, and anything else as not.

In the first years of high school, I changed. I started seeing more black women in the arts, like Katrina Andry, Kara Walker, and Lina Viktor. For the first time, I felt compelled to do something about the fact that I had rejected painting women of color. I wanted to paint with more browns, reds, blacks, and bronzes, and I wanted to paint curly hair. I wanted to make my portraits of girls have more substance, and not just be something to stare at. And so I did – and ever since then, I have had the drive to represent what wasn’t shown to me in art class growing up. My work now has a lot to do with gender politics, race, identity, and inward feelings vs. outward appearances.

Moving forward, I have decided that the one of the best ways for me to communicate equal representation is via magazines. I love magazines – I owe a lot to journalism about art, music, and fashion because it helped me discover a good portion of the contemporary artists I know today. One thing I’ve noticed consistently with magazines, however, is the lack of diversity. Black artists, writers, and designers, especially women, are neither featured as often nor as fairly as we should. Therefore, I have decided to continue my education at the New School, and study for two degrees: journalism and communications design. My goal for post-college is to head my own magazine, where I would feature and cover a population of unique artists, intellectuals, and writers of color. My second goal is to continue creating visual content that features a diverse cast, whether that be through performance, sculpture, 2D works, and video. I want to be the artist, the business woman, and the writer that other little girls of color look up to when they need inspiration, when they need to see something like themselves.”

 

Stretch/uttanasana, 2017 ©Logan Magee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light Study/Truth, 2016 ©Logan Magee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Renee Ryckman – Fall 2017 Scholarship Winner

Meet Renee Ryckman, a junior at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida who is majoring in Emerging Media: Experimental Animation. We would like to congratulate Ms. Ryckman on being selected as one of three recipients of our Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarships for the Fall 2017 term. You can read Renee Ryckman’s artist statement below:

“My college experience first began as a student at Pennsylvania State, studying Animal Sciences. However, as I progressed in my major, I soon began to realize that I could not be studious and focus on art the way I wanted to. After working on a piece for over eight hours I realized that this wasn’t just a hobby and I wanted to make it my career. So, I transferred hundreds of miles and left that life behind to pursue a major in animation and illustration. Now, I have a family of peers that are supportive and creative. We share a lot of the same small classes, so I feel very close to them and I never really had a family of friends like that before. I have had a lot of wonderful opportunities to meet people and to learn from them. I have studied mediums I would have never thought to explore, like sculpture, watercolor illustration, acrylic painting and contour line drawings. Coming to UCF has brightened, and enriched my life immeasurably. I would love to continue studying traditional painting techniques. When I first started painting in classes, I hated painting. It was messy and hard and there was no undo button, so it was extremely foreign to me. However, by the time I had finished the semester, I had learned so much and excelled with it, I wanted to make more and more paintings. I went to galleries and scrutinized the work that has come before me with new eyes wanting to absorb so much from the masters. I am not only focused on the present, I am also concerned with my own future as a student and as a working professional artist. While, I have painted for myself since, I would also like to attend more classes that will help me develop technical skills with watercolor, acrylics and oils. My immediate education goals to develop my skills in animation and painting serve to aid me in becoming the artist I want to be. When I graduate, I plan to work in the production of media like movies and video games doing concept art, illustration, and storyboarding–focusing on the foundation of an idea. To me, this brainstorming phase is the most important part of the creative process. A concept artist helps a producer, or director, see their ideas realized visually. I can think of no greater career than that of a creator. I also have a deep interest in animation, which is my major here at UCF, because the most evocative art is art that moves you, and there’s no more expressive art form than that of animation. I want to be a well-rounded artist, capable of bringing a lot to any project with the experience to work on the projects I love. Ultimately, becoming an artist that works fluidly in many mediums to tell powerful stories. I want to work on huge projects like video games and movies because those are the stories we surround ourselves with. I want to tell a story that might inspire another little African American girl to take that terrifying plunge into art. My motivations are not for fame and glory, which is certainly a fine goal if you’re interested, but I am content to stay behind the curtain as long as I know that the show was in part realized by me. I am far from the same disheartened sophomore that weighed the merits of freedom and security on unforgiving scales and shied from change. Now, I stand tall in the knowledge that I am capable and I am excited about my future again. … I have been blessed to find something that I am deeply passionate about and even now I wake up some mornings ineffably happy because I get to create—assignments to draw and paint rather than to calculate. I have always been a dedicated student, but now I am a devoted one and my once restless spirit is settled. Indubitably, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be and nothing else I’d rather do.”

Mantis Shrimp/Representational , 2016 ©Renee Ryckman

Mantis Shrimp/Soul , 2016 ©Renee Ryckman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holly Mazzio – Spring 2017 Honorable Mention

Meet Holly Mazzio, a Senior at Kutztown University, who is majoring in Studio Art/Painting. We would like to congratulate Ms. Mazzio on being selected as one of the two recipients of our Spring 2017 Honorable Mention Commendations for a Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarship:

“If there is one thing I don’t need to be told twice, it’s that pursuing a career in the arts isn’t an easy road. My path to get where I am currently in my artistic career has been anything but enjoyable, although I have learned some of my most defining qualities as a person and an artist during this time.  I have been able to learn how to turn difficult or challenging ordeals into learning experiences that benefit me and my future. Having been diagnosed with a learning disability at a young age, this had made many obstacles in my educational life starting as early as first grade. Following my passion to become an artist however, made for the most difficult and seemingly impossible road to take…Choosing to face the tough things in life has given me chances to show others just how serious and how far I am willing to go to achieve my goals. It fuels my passion to work hard and to be grateful for the chances I get to show people how much my work means to me.  I hope to find many opportunities in which my art will been seen by others who may also begin to believe in my desire to succeed at what I love.”

Chelsea NY, 2016  ©Holly Mazzio

Patco, 2016 ©Holly Mazzio

A Surprising Find from the Whitaker Photo Archives

There are times when an image crosses your desk, and it captures your attention, despite its rather ordinary composition. In this instance, that image arrived in the form of a small photo depicting an artist standing at the edge of a cliff, looking rather pleased with himself as he grasps the familiar leg of an easel holding his plein air painting. There was nothing particularly striking about the photo itself, and at this first meeting, I merely logged it as interesting, but moved on to other pressing matters. It was the second time the photograph caught my eye, as I was perusing the Whitaker image archives, that I felt compelled to pass it along to the Foundation board, along with a query asking if anyone knew the gentleman in the photo, or could provide any contextual information about why this image might appear in the Whitaker photo archives.

0419_Roy Mason friend of Whitakers_SMAs it so happens, this smiling gentleman, clad in a jaunty angled fedora, was none other than famous watercolor artist Roy Mason. Roy and his wife Lena were longtime friends of the Whitakers, who they met in 1940s while both couples resided in New York. When the Masons moved to La Jolla, CA in the early 1960s, it would be a combination of their warm influence and the enchanting culture and climate of La Jolla, which would persuade Fred and Eileen to join their friends by moving to the area in 1965. Over the coming decades, the friendship between the Masons and Whitakers would continue to grow as both couples flourished within the elite artist community of La Jolla and San Diego. Fred and Roy’s paintings were even featured alongside each other in the late 1960s as part of a group exhibition celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the La Jolla Art Association. 

In Roy and Lena, Fred and Eileen found kindred artistic souls, as reflected by the words of Eileen Monaghan Whitaker in the book Contrasts that Complement, where she remarks that

“It was natural to fall in love with Roy the instant you met him – everyone did…Roy was a bright man with broad interests, and a fine painter as well! There was never a more attractive couple than Roy and Lena. It was wonderful for us to have the Masons, such good friends and stimulating people, so close.” (Jennings, 53)

Whether it was hosting a social gathering for the arts, exchanging advice, introducing one another to collectors and patrons, or inspiring each other to continue to refine their skills and achieve new heights of personal and professional success, the legacy of the unique, decades long friendship between the Whitakers and Masons would be the enrichment of both their contemporary artistic community, as well as future generations of watercolor artists.

Eleonor Botoman – Fall 2016 Scholarship Winner

EleonorBotomanPortrait_editMeet Eleonor Botoman, a freshman at Barnard College, who is majoring in English and Art History. We would like to congratulate Eleonor on being selected as one of three recipients of our Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarships for the Fall 2016 term. As part of the application process, Eleonor was asked to submit an essay response to a question about the Whitakers and their work. You can read Eleonor’s artist statement and essay below:

 

Artist Statement

As a double major in English and Art History, I’ve set my sights on exploring the art world through art criticism. I currently attend Barnard College, a women’s college in New York City, and I’ve spent my first year studying art history and architecture, researching internship opportunities for next fall, and wrote for the Journal of Art Criticism (JAC). This new student publication had its first issue release in early May and I am currently writing more pieces to be published in the summer and fall semester. I’ve also contributed to Postcrypt Art Gallery, an organization atColumbia University that puts on themed exhibitions of student artwork covering a wide range of mediums from installations, digital design, paintings, and sculpture.

Being in New York, I’ve been able to discover new developments in the art world by exploring all of the museums and galleries just a few subway stops away, and my professors, experts in the art history and architecture field, have guided me through not only the history of art, but also where the future of art is going.

As I begin my writing classes in the fall, I’m eager to develop my writing skills and use the analytic knowledge I gain from English to produce criticisms and theories of my own. I want to question artistic choices, draw comparisons and relationships across movements, understand the artist’s influences and inspirations, and place contemporary works into greater historical contexts. The skills I learn in writing will help me articulate my ideas in ways as creative as the artists I choose to discuss. However, I don’t want to keep all of my learning strictly on-campus.

With the fall semester just a few months away, I’ve already begun applying to internships in different organizations in order to further immerse myself within the art world. Some of these organizations include Artsty.net, a website that not only produces articles but also keeps track of artists’ profiles and pieces as well as guides to auctions and various galleries. There is also Magnus, a new app that identifies the work of art you’re looking at and provides you with all of its information including the artist, the gallery it belongs to, and the current sale price. I am also looking to work for ArchDaily, an architecture journal that looks at up-and-coming architects, explores new developments in design, and studies the impact of contemporary projects (both residential and public works) on the world today.

Essay Question: Compare and contrast Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker’s watercolors depicting Mexican culture

Mexico has been a source of inspiration for many writers and artists over the years, from the Beat poets’ trips south of the border to Diego Rivera’s grand murals of indigenous people. The Whitakers felt this strong pull to Mexico, and captured their awe in beautiful watercolor paintings. Both Eileen and Frederic’s works project emotion into the viewer. The flickering effects of the watercolor evoke a bright Mexican energy. Frederic and Eileen’s pieces may share subject matter, but their individual perception of Mexico causes them to splinter into two subjects of focus: Eileen studies the Mexican people while Frederic documents the Mexican earth, bringing a narrative quality to the forefront of his compositions. In an exploration of their differences, the watercolor artists together produce a whole, richly dynamic image of the power of this Latin-American land.

Eileen Whitaker explores Mexico through its people. Her warm portraits use vivid color to bring a face to a kind of Latin-American energy. She captures moments of daily life, brightened with whites and reds. The figures themselves, however, stand almost rigid poses. She does not use Impressionist brushstrokes to create her pictures. Subjects are rendered to as close a realism that can come with watercolor paints, people documented as if each moment she sees is a photograph. Princess Mariposa (1989) captures the woman with a realistic lightness and her dreamy expression with the rainbow patterned fabrics of her traditional dress. However, there is no intense overlapping of motifs or color in the composition. The mural in the corner, the leaves, the hummingbird, and the butterflies that bloom from behind the woman are included as motifs to further emphasize her identity. The flat white wall ensures no distraction. Eileen sees the people and their lives as the true expression of Mexican tradition, worn in their clothing.

Frederic’s interpretation of the lives of Mexican people emits a more rugged and masculine quality. In the Poultry Merchant (1967), he uses rougher strokes, yet overlaps the washed out tones to create delicate shadows and streaks of sun-brightened white across the feathers. Unlike Eileen, he does not paint the Mexican people with emotion. The merchant’s face appears with only a few minimal strokes while the chickens, the blanket, and his handkerchief are rendered with precision. Eileen captures the expressive quality of the locals’ faces, punctuating their portraits with richly colored cloth, while Frederic defines the Mexican people by traditional objects they use in their lives, carrying into a greater narrative quality of his series of paintings. Two paintings show this documentary quality: Dawn, Nov 2nd (1968) and the Lettuce Pickers (1966).¹ One takes place on an urban street while the other shows men at work in the fields, however Frederic produces two very similar studies on the power of the Mexican landscape. Watercolor is not a painting medium that encourages exact lines so the artist must make the choice to place the most important aspect of the painting right at the foreground where the image can be meticulously rendered. In both Dawn, Nov 2nd and the Lettuce Pickers, he places Mexico at the forefront while the flickering forms of the people linger towards the background. Only one individual sits close to the viewer in Dawn, Nov 2nd, and it should be noted that he wears the most elaborate costume. The Lettuce Pickers appear as generalized forms as well, but in the foreground Frederic places a cardboard box in the corner as a symbol of their agricultural work. He brings the rows of lettuce forward before stretching them all the way towards back of the canvas, sending the viewer’s eye back into a vast and fertile land. Eileen shows individual identities but Frederic uses the Mexican people to create a larger history of a collective identity. Their faces have a formless quality, only enough to differentiate a person within a group. In the darkened daylight of Dawn, Frederic punctuates the men with bright yellow caps. In the Lettuce Pickers, hats play a similar role. This is a symbol of male traditional dress, a practical one that keeps them cool under the hot southern sun. The Lettuce Pickers could become faded into the monotony of the green field, but their bright hats emphasize their hard work. As with the boxes, the hats are a symbol of hardworking spirit, similar to Eileen’s representation of the women’s energy in electric fabrics.

A final point of contrast between the two artists arises with Frederic’s use of a darker palette. Eileen doesn’t shy away from duskier tones, but she prefers bright pinks to her husband’s shadowy blues. This comparison is drawn between two paintings: Eileen’s Se Vende Ajos (1990) and Frederic’s Flower Market (1977). Both pieces address the bustling Mexican marketplace, however there is variation within color schemes. Eileen’s painting projects warmth with hues of orange, reds, and purples. The figures are arranged so that each item for sale can be represented. Oranges and garlic are presented by the merchants and fabrics draping in the background are only partially blocked by the man in the center while the rest of their patterns are unobstructed. The scene is inviting, decorated for the viewer. Frederic’s work, on the other hand, shows a louder, busier scene. All of the shapes reduce in definition to enhance the frenzied setting. The women’s dresses merge together in tones of blues and purples. Sellers carry clouds of blossoms. The sky is darker, drawing attention to the flowers and the dynamic movement of the crowd. In Eileen’s painting, the man engages with the viewer, welcomes them into the selling space. Frederic places the viewer behind the women sitting in the shade with their children. They do not participate, perhaps because they cannot keep up with the chaos of the market, and the viewer is encouraged to observe in order to learn about the culture. Frederic’s paintings capture a dynamic story of Mexican life while Eileen’s works follow a more stagnant tradition of portraiture and elegant expression of culture. 

¹Unbeknownst to the author, the setting for Frederic Whitaker’s watercolor painting “Lettuce Pickers” was Salinas, California, not Mexico, as suggested. This is an understandable misconception as the painting is included with collections featuring Mexico and Mexican culture, and details regarding where “Lettuce Pickers,” was painted were not available to the author as of the writing of this essay.

Carrie Taylor – Fall 2016 Scholarship Winner

CarrieTaylor PortraitMeet Carrie Taylor, a senior at Georgia State University, who is majoring in Studio Art. We would like to congratulate Carrie on being selected as one of three recipients of our Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarships for the Fall 2016 term:

[I am] only 6 classes shy of my B.F.A. degree, [and] upon graduation I will be able to be financially independent while working in my field. I have been a working artist for a decade and have a stunning portfolio, but often I am overlooked [in] the application screening process since I lack a Bachelor’s degree.

The B.F.A Studio Art program grooms the working artist. In my final year, I will work closely with professional artists and have dedicated studio hours. It will teach me the boundaries needed to successfully raise my infant son as a single parent and work in an unconventional profession with opportunities for office hours and freelance work. I have always been a great student, as I maintain an above B grade point average, and I have received recognition and awards in both my educational and work environments. I would like to believe that hard work does not go unnoticed, and though we may face challenges, we can overcome them. I want my son to believe in himself as he believes in me.

Going to class for me is attending my studio. It is another place of work. I have found through the challenges of my past year it is also a place of retreat and healing. I have had a dormant interest in art therapy, and if I can achieve my short-term goals I can continue to believe that despite challenges, art is a constant and a place of serenity for healing. I would like to further pursue qualifications and responsibility in order to be part of the promise and promotion of creative expression in art therapy.

Carrie Taylor_My Sunshine_4x6_2015

“My Sunshine” 2015, 4 x 6 in. ©Carrie Taylor

Carrie Taylor_Daisy_4.25x5.5_2015

“Daisy” 2015, 4.25 x 5.5 in ©Carrie Taylor

Xiaoyan Zhao – Fall 2016 Scholarship Winner

XiaoyanZhaoPortraitMeet Xiaoyan Zhao, a junior at the California College of the Arts, who is majoring in Painting and Drawing. We would like to congratulate Xiaoyan on being selected as one of three recipients of our Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarships for the Fall 2016 term:

Ever since my grandfather passed away in March 2015, he had been the source of inspiration whenever I paint. Like other Alzheimer and Parkinson patients, my grandfather also endured similar symptoms such as gradually lost his memory, gradually lost the ability to read, speak, walk, swallow. In his final months, the only things he could do are blinking his eyes, sometimes tearing, and lifting fingers. From home to nursing house, from nursing house to hospital, in the three years at the end of grandfather’s life, what he experienced has become the experience of our family, grandfather and mine.

Life and death shock me deeply. Memory, family, time became my language of artistic expression. In this semester, I began tending to the pleasure of life, rather than thinking of death. Through this way of thinking life and death, joy and sadness to explore moderation philosophy, so as explore life and art.

I want to tell people with my painting: If your parents, or grandparents live alone or in the nursing home, go to visit them, because they may live in a very lonely place, they need us.

Xiaoyan Zhao, Grandfather, the loss of memory,22.5_30,2015

“Grandfather, the Loss of Memory” May 2015, 22.5 x 30 in. ©Xiaoyan Zhao

Xiaoyan Zhao, PARALLEL SPACE,22.5_30,2015

“Parallel Space” May, 2015, 22.5 x 30 in. ©Xiaoyan Zhao