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Elyse Fulcher

1. What has been a few of your best 1st year experiences at LAAFA?
One of my favorite experiences would be a field trip to the Getty Villa for art history with my classmates. It was a beautiful day, and we all got to draw side by side in the museum with many onlookers admiring our technique. Another memorable experience (ongoing experience) was during one of Sergio Sanchez’s classes while we were doing a lot of quick sketch. The amount of progress we all made from hour to hour, week to week was incredible. To see all of us grow so much together and yet in our own unique ways was a very rewarding experience. All of us are really supportive of each other, so it was a great moment where we were all feeling good about our own work while simultaneously being encouraged by and proud of our peers.

2. Do you feel the drawing year gave you a solid skill-set? Please explain.
My limited experience with painting prior to my first week of painting classes at LAAFA was always difficult and exhausting. The figures I made were stylized because I couldn’t ever hope to achieve a realistic looking person in paint–I never was able to grasp what made people look and feel believable. After months of drawing from casts and models, I finally gained confidence in drawing that I hadn’t even realized I lacked. All of the techniques I picked up in drawing translate directly into paint. Now in painting, I’m able to achieve a three-dimensional, representational look without a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears. Additionally, when I sit down and draw something or someone, I feel in control of all of the marks I’m placing on the paper. I’m not wasting a lot of time fumbling with my pencil, guessing where lines should go. There are several processes I’m comfortable with that I know I can use at any time to achieve a drawing that I know I’ll be pleased with. The comfortability I now have with drawing is priceless.

3. Are you satisfied with your choice of coming to LAAFA? Please explain.
Absolutely. LAAFA has been the best choice I’ve made for honing my artistic ability. After a year spent at the school, I can see that my sense of the art world has become much fuller, my knowledge of different skills is deeper, my goals are more mature, and the connections I’ve created to the people at the school are irreplaceable.

4. Have you found any faculty members particularly inspirational or thought-provoking?
There are many inspiring and humbling faculty members at the school! If I have to choose one in particular, I’d like to praise Bill Rogers. He really personalizes each lesson, and is remarkably perceptive to each individual’s fears, weaknesses, strengths, and desires. As a student, I can tell that he pays attention to me and my work. He can balance what I would like to improve upon and what he wants me to improve upon, give me a relevant lecture in ten different ways (if I can’t easily comprehend his point the first time) so I can intellectually understand what I need to do, give me a demo (or two) so I can see the many different ways of finding a solution, and then also give me exercises that will really help me improve my skills. This instructor does not “cookie-cut” his lessons. Not many people in the world are as attuned to student needs as Bill Rogers, and the growth I’ve had under his instruction has been outstanding.

5. Have you had prior art college experience before enrolling at LAAFA? What do you feel are the main difference?
Before coming to LAAFA, I spent a year at UCSB as an art major in the College of Creative Studies. There were many perks I had being one of the few students accepted into the program; yet even with those privileges, I never felt like I was getting a lot out of my art education. The teachers were afraid to correct any mistakes I made, and it seemed that many of them made more mistakes than the students. At LAAFA, the instructors are confident, helpful, and inspiring.

6. What has surprised you most about being a student at LAAFA?
In my first week as a LAAFA student, I was immediately surprised by how much the rest of the world doesn’t know about art-making. It seems like everyone else outside of our bubble is just doing things the easy way and making excuses for having shoddy techniques.

7. What advice would you give a student who is thinking about attending LAAFA?
Only come here if you are serious about becoming the best artist you can be, and if you are ready to forge deep bonds with passionate, kind people.

8. How would you say that you have grown in the first year?
I’ve grown in many obvious ways: knowledge of technique, comprehension the “art world,” information about art history, and time management. However, I’ve surprisingly grown a lot as a person. LAAFA has taught me a lot about myself.

9. What has been some of your favorite classes and why?
One of my favorite classes was 2D Anatomy with Rey Bustos. No other person in the history of teaching has ever been so passionate or dedicated to his profession. Rey’s love of anatomy is palpable in every lesson. His lectures are thorough, exciting, and inspiring. After taking his class, I’ve been walking around with new eyes, seeing the world through an anatomical scope. I can no longer look at a bare leg and see it as only a leg, I have to take a moment to admire the individual muscles and tendons that Rey taught me to identify and appreciate. The reverence you’ll have for the miracle of the human body after taking his class is almost divine.

10. What’s the most challenging aspect of studying art in general?
What every student comes to know about art is that you have cycles where you’re really satisfied with the work you’re producing in and out of class… and then you’re depressed about it. Learning to not be so affected by the so-called “downs” of these cycles has been the most challenging aspect of studying art. Eventually you pull through these times where everything you create is shockingly awful and disappointing, and you just have to realize that while it’s happening. Look forward to the future drawings and paintings that will have you proudly showing off to everyone on your facebook friends list–those aren’t far away.

11. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far at LAAFA?
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned at LAAFA is that there are many different ways of arriving at a solution. One teacher may tell you something that directly contradicts another teacher whom you equally respect, and that’s ok! There is no right answer, and you’re the only person who can figure out what works best for you.

12. You have now started your 2nd year at LAAFA, what most excites you about the next year?
I’m most excited about continuing to polish my skills and see how far I can go down the rabbit hole of representational painting!

13. What do you look most forward to as you progress through the program?
I really look forward to my entertainment art classes. So far everything has been fine art oriented, which is really great for building my foundation, but it can also be dry or dull at times. Bring on the digital painting and character design classes! I want to throw up my imagination all over the studio!

14. What is your ultimate artistic goal once you graduate?
I’m going to write, illustrate, and self-publish online graphic novels and comics.