• Sizzling Summer Spotlight: The Inside Scoop on Film and Drawing!

    by  • July 24, 2015 • Faculty & Staff, Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments

    Pictured from left: Jason Sleisenger, Federico Siniscalco, Carl Napolitano, Reyna Orelup, Melanie Ottino Photo by Melanie Neu

    Pictured from left: Jason Sleisenger, Federico Siniscalco, Carl Napolitano, Reyna Orelup, Emily Bruner
    Photo by Melanie Neu

    Documentary Film with Federico Siniscalco

    We asked:
    Carl Napolitano (Hendrix College) and Emily Bruner (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)

    What has been your favorite moment in class so far?
    Carl: Learning about the history of documentary film and how the genre has evolved and changed throughout its existence. Also, of course, learning filming techniques and how to edit and put together footage. Also, one time Federico bought us gelato.
    Emily: The first day of class Federico took us into town to film the city of Arezzo and explore the city on our own, which has been by far my favorite moment of the class. He showed us around and then let us go off on our own for an hour! Exploring the city on your own was a wonderful experience and really helped me to discover the topic for my documentary in the class.

    How does this class compare to your expectations?
    Carl: I’m not sure exactly what I expected from the class, but I can definitely say that it’s much more challenging than I anticipated. Right now I’m grappling with how to turn my fairly broad concept into a film that tells an actual story and it’s proving to be incredibly difficult.
    Emily: I really didn’t know what to expect from this class. I have zero experience when it comes to film, especially documentary film! I’m so glad that we have many opportunities to get out of the classroom and use the city as our learning environment. That is certainly different from what I expected.

    Tell us something interesting about your professor!
    Carl: Federico is kind of like the Italian grandfather you never knew you had. Obviously he’s super knowledgable about documentary film and he’s also met and interviewed a lot of important documentary film makers. However, what you might not know is that he is a part-time magician who has opened a portal to an alternate dimension where everything is made out of pasta.*
    Emily: I find it really hilarious that our professor is more bothered by the heat than my classmates and I are. This has been the hottest summer in fifty years (they tell us) and so all of us students have just accepted the heat for what it is, but not Federico! If it gets too uncomfortable he just has to give us a break, but we know it’s really more for him than us!

    *I have no tangible evidence for this but it’s entirely plausible and see no reason to rule out the possibility.

    Photo by Melanie Neu

    Pictured from left: Yiping Liang, Melissa Gill
    Photo by Melanie Neu


    Drawing in Tuscany, with Melissa Gill

    We asked:
    Alessandra Sauro (University of Rochester) and Tabitha Bass (Catawba College)

    What has been your favorite moment in class so far?
    Tabitha: My favorite moment in this class would have to be when we first started doing line gestures and fleshing them out into realistic figures. We did an exercise where each person started a sketch, and then after about a minute we would rotate and add to each others’ drawings. I loved it because when the drawing was done you had the result of not only the foundation of your work, but also a taste of everyone’s drawing personality. Even though I didn’t know my classmates as well as I do now, it made me feel closer to them and a part of a whole.
    Alessandra: My favorite in-class activity was the first collaborative exercise, [described above,] in which all of the students participated in drawing a model in a complex pose. Each artist started with a different angle and viewpoint, but as we rotated, we had permission to make adjustments to our peers’ drawings and make each one our own for the time we worked on it. For me, the idea of collaborative work was initially uncomfortable because, prior to the class, it did not align with my perception of art and drawing. However, after the rotation was complete and I returned to my easel to see the final product created by all six artists, it was clear how important artistic collaboration really is and the beauty that can emerge from it.

    How does this class compare to your expectations?
    Tabitha: I expected this class to be more structural and focused on fundamentals. Melissa did not spend a lot of time on the basics or building a foundation, perhaps because many of the students in the drawing class come from the college at which she teaches, so there was a steep learning curve. This experience was unexpected in many ways, but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless.
    Alessandra: This class has certainly exceeded my expectations in regards to the level of training that we have been exposed to. I thought that the class would mostly consist of the completion of projects using various materials, in order to learn a multitude of techniques. I am pleased to see that we study each technique in-depth before applying it to a final product and truly work to improve our craft.

    Tell us something interesting about your professor!
    Tabitha: Melissa has done a lot of collaboration with incredible artists in all sorts of different media. Once, she had the opportunity to work with a dance company because a director wanted to collaborate with a visual artist coming in and drawing the performers while they danced. The person who originally was chosen to collaborate on the project was not able to complete the work, so Melissa was called in to save the day.
    Alessandra: Melissa is a very vibrant professor who is clearly very talented in pursuing and teaching her craft. She provides an approach to drawing that is really unique, and invites us to consider drawing in a manner that challenges common perceptions.


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