Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Branding the Artist in West Virginia

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly." ~ Richard Bach 

Last Wednesday Greg and I hopped on an early flight eastward to West Virginia to share our work and wisdom with students at West Liberty University. We were greeted at the airport by faculty member Brian Fencl who happened to be one of my students back in the 80's at Otis. 

We stayed at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, just a few minutes drive from the University. The Wilson Lodge had the kind of wood cabin charm you find in mountain hotels, my first impression was Twin Peeks, sometimes the long hallways reminded me of The Shining.

On Thursday morning Greg taught a super concentrated version of his normally three day Artist as Brand workshop. The class took place at the library of West Liberty University, where just outside the Dogwood trees were in their bloom cycle.

Although the information was crammed, the students ranging in age from 18 to 72 really got quite a lot out of the experience. As an observer I love watching the transformation that occurs in each student as they align with who they are and really own their heart virtue

On Friday the University had their yearly MAD (Media Arts Department) Festival where Gteg and I were slated to do several presentations and critiques through out the day. The first was an informal Q&A with students followed by Gregs presentation on Concept Design.

Next up was my first presentation titled Art & Perfume where I shared the journey from illustrator to natural perfumer and the thread of nature in both.

After a quick lunch in the very frenetic school cafeteria we critiqued student portfolios and then I presented my second 50 minute feature on marketing followed by sampling of perfumes and  some Q&A. Of the small sampling of perfumes I brought along Page 47, To Bee and GreenWitch appeared to be the favorites in this college town.

From there we headed to the theater for the MAD Fest award show, which felt a bit like those reality programs I don't watch. Although I did judge the visual art portion of the competition with Greg I became cement mouth during the presentation.

After the show there was an electronic music concert, a very surreal performance as musicians sat on the stage with their laptops while synthesized sounds pulsed through the room.

We met lots of students from many disciplines doing extraordinary art. Among them were Sean Ritner the artist of the digital college above, Victoria Lavorini and Seth Miller just to name a few. Jim Hartley, the organizer of MAD fest, also makes his very own maple syrup from trees on his property. We were fortunate to receive a bottle from Jim which we plan on using real soon. In exchange we will be sending some of our ultra pure, woodland honey out his way.

Opening image is a digital collage by Sean Ritner, photos by Roxana Villa and Sean Ritner.

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