It’s the last weekend to see our featured faculty art show Other Worlds: Rarely Seen Works by our Educational Alliance Art School Painting Educator, Jodie Niss. The show is on view in the Jewish Communal Gallery (Manny Cantor Center Lobby Gallery) until August, 21, 2016. As we get ready for our Fall 2016 semester at Educational Alliance Art School, we spoke to Jodie about her show, process, and her approach to teaching what she loves to her students. Read her interview below.
What is your show Other Worlds about?
The imagery in my current show is all very diverse but it all has to do with what I’m going through. A lot has to do with being a female artist and being Jewish, but not religious. Some has to do with me coming back to New York. I’m from Long Island, but I left for a while, and came back to get my graduate degree in art.
When I came to New York I felt the energy right away. All New Yorkers are ancestors of the really brave cowboys who first came to New York. Those who came here originally came from a struggle. They survived the Depression. They survived the Holocaust. They passed down an energy. Even though things aren’t as bad as they once were, when you come to New York, you still have this energy to do your best.
Tell us about your experience of painting
I started painting in oil when I was 5 years old. I was always an artist. I was not good at writing and not good at words, but I always wanted to express myself and explain things in detail. From a very early age, I was fascinated with culture. While the other kids were playing, I was sitting and listening to the adults and I would draw about what I heard.
I love to do all art forms, but painting is my love. My process of painting is both time consuming and fast. I wake up in morning and surround myself with images: sound images, photos I’ve taken on the street, National Geographics. The image might look like one thing, but it means something else to me. I will combine the image with thoughts I have from reading about other worlds, mythology, and outer space. I also combine my feelings. The paintings are all about some sort of struggle.
Tell us about your approach to teaching painting
Teaching has always been something I’ve naturally gone to. It is one of the most rewarding things to do. My goal is to not only teach technique but to teach my students how to express themselves. There is a therapy involved in being in touch with your surroundings. I just want people to come in and feel creative. Usually at 12 years old, people start to feel the pain of creating art. I want to bring the joy back. I think good art comes from playing.
The minute I started working at the Manny Cantor Center, I knew I wanted to stay. It is important to build up the buzz about the art school because it is such an important part of the Alliance.
[Fall 2016 Painting Courses by Jodie Niss
This fall, Jodie Niss teaches three 8-week courses: Painting Your Vision, Painting From Life, and Creative Painting Studio. Each class is structured to help students discover their own inner worlds in new ways. Learn more about the classes below. Fall 2016 Semester starts October 17, 2016. Early registration opens in the first week of September.
PAINTING YOUR VISION | The class is designed for students of all levels to explore their personal vision. Basic techniques will be covered, supplemented by advanced dialog for intermediate and advanced painters.
Mondays | 10:00AM-12:30PM | 10/17 – 12/12
PAINTING FROM LIFE | The class will begin with gestural studies of still lifes and nude models, followed by longer model poses, during which students can focus on a slower and more refined painting technique. All levels welcome.
Tuesdays | 6:30-9PM | 10/18 – 12/12
CREATIVE PAINTING STUDIO | Each class covers a technical demo such as color theory, painting technique, paint medium. Group critique and personalized instructor critiques are given to help students hone their creative instincts.
Wednesdays | 6:30PM-9PM | 10/19 – 12/14