We’re trying something different in this issue of Visual Arts Journal. Our Assignment feature (page 24)—which presents a few of the many creative “problems” that Judith and Richard Wilde have given their students over many years of teaching illustration and design at SVA, and which were published recently in their book The Process (Laurence King)—ends with a challenge for readers. I hope you will try your hand at it, and that you will send the results to us by email or post. In the weeks to come, selected submissions will be posted on the College’s social media.
Though this assignment is intended as fun, it’s also a reminder that creative and intellectual development should not end with one’s formal education, or even after many years spent in a rewarding career. It is a lifelong pursuit. And finding and taking on a new professional challenge is one of the great joys of work.
Sometimes, the challenge comes from the evolving demands of one’s current occupation. Amid increasingly alarming warnings about the imminent effects of climate change, and with the destruction of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy still a fresh memory, forward-thinking interior designers are now figuring out ways to make the spaces we occupy “resilient,” better able to withstand extreme events like floods and earthquakes. You can read about some of these efforts in “Safe and Sound”.
Other times, the challenge comes from taking on a second—or third, or fourth—career. Consider the stories of two of the College’s MFA Fine Arts alumni, Asya Geisberg (1999) and Julie Schenkelberg (2011). After completing her graduate degree, Ms. Geisberg worked as an artist, curator and writer before ultimately choosing to open her own, eponymous gallery in New York City in 2010. She talks about her business, and the changing nature of the art market, in “Gallery Guides”, a conversation with six contemporary-art gallerists, including Ms. Geisberg’s fellow SVA graduates Nicholas Bakita (MFA 2012 Fine Arts), Christian Siekmeier (MFA 2004 Photography, Video and Related Media) and Mike Weiss (MFA 1995 Fine Arts).
Ms. Schenkelberg, on the other hand, came to SVA as an experienced scenic painter. She had spent 18 years helping to create sets for Broadway productions like Chicago and Proof, and wanted to take her artistic practice in a more personal direction. Since then, she has forged a career as a fine-art sculptor and painter, showing her work in numerous solo and group shows and winning a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 2013. Today, she is represented by none other than the Asya Geisberg Gallery.
You can find out more about Ms. Schenkelberg and others who have changed professions midway through their working lives in this issue’s Creative Life.