Last summer, contractor and artist Dave Tourje bought a large, rundown house in South Pasadena. On the deed appeared the original owner’s name: Nelbert Chouinard. After checking around, he learned that Mrs. Chouinard had been the founding head of a terrific Los Angeles art school called the Chouinard Art Institute (1921-7972).Enthusiastic about his purchase, Dave set about restoring the house to its original state. He also began investigating this woman whose spirit had serendipitously entered his life. In the process, he phoned Robert Perine, author of the book CHOUINARD: An Art Vision Betrayed.
Perine, a Chouinard graduate in 1950, became equally excited about whatever challenges the discovery of Mrs. Chouinard’s former residence might bring. In the past year, restoration of the Chouinard House has moved along well and, after several meetings, Tourje and Perine decided to resurrect and refocus Mrs. Chouinard’s legacy. Independent of any other institution, the Chouinard Foundation will be a non-profit entity, has been established to preserve and expand that legacy. Possible ways to do so include the granting of scholarships to promising young artists. Like the school itself, the Chouinard House reflects the aspirations of Mrs. Chouinard when she was alive. It is an ideal gathering place for meetings, reunions, seminars, and small exhibitions.
Since the Foundation is in its infancy, a board of directors has yet to be selected. Tourje and Perine invite all Chouinard alumni and friends to join in this effort to preserve and build on the vision of Mrs. Chouinard.
“My part began when I bought a miserably dilapidated old farm house that an artist named ‘Chouinard’ once lived in. I commenced making it habitable for myself and my family. The good news , from an historical standpoint, is that the house has remained unchanged since the original owner built it in 1907. This was also the bad news: there was lots of work to be done!
“Being an artist myself I vaguely remember hearing of Chouinard but my art school days had begun in 1979,long after Chouinard disappeared. Many artists whose work I greatly admired (Millard Sheets, John Altoon, Robert lrwin, and Billy AI Bengston) had various degrees of experience at Chouinard, and this spurred my interest in learning more.I called my aunt, who had gone to art school, and sure enough, she was a student there in the early 1930s. Her pals included MiIIard Sheets and PhiI Dike, and she told me some great stories about loading her Model A Ford with classmates, ditching class, and hitting the beach to sketch and smoke igarettes. This was sounding intriguing. She described the environment,at chouinard as one built by very creative people who were allowed to grow and produce, all held together by this tought taskmaster known as’the madam.’
“Enter Robert Perine, whose great book told me the full story. When I told him about the house, he expressead an interest( echoed by many of his alumni friends) in continuing the Chouinard story by making the house part of Mrs, Chouinard’s legacys, an historical landmark available from time to time for Chouinard alumni events.” -Dave Tourje
“l landed at Chouinard shorty after WWII and fell in love with the place,like many of my buddies on the G.l. Bill.When I think of those two locations, the buildings on Seventh Street and Grand View Ave., I vividly recall my art struggles,my breakthroughs and setbacks that were so appropriately and patiently dealt with by a dedicated bunch of great artists- Harry Diamond, BiIl Moore,PhiI Dike, Rex Brandt, Don Graham, and Richard Haines.When we graduated in the early 1950s we fanned out; some to New York, some to Chicago or Philadelphia, some staying in L.A. I remember as well, that Mrs. Chouinard was always a presence, had an attitude, was a strong advocate of disciplined hard work, was convinced her job was to watch over our progres and see that we got a break,that we entered the professional world prepared.
”Before the War the school was equally as terrific and,after my generation left, other budding artists came in and sat on our benches,pre petuating the school’s reputation for another two decades.Thus,fifty years of success followed this remarknble woman who was way ahead of her time.I hope those of us who were privileged to partake of the Chouinard experience won’t forget this seedbed where a large part of our skill nnd motivation was planted and sprouted.”
” T think that if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Chouinard I would never have gone to paramount and become a designer, so in a way I owe my career to her.”
“Mrs. Chouinard never once backed away from the demand of a tremendous amount of drawing,painting, and design, no matter what the students were going to do. She was tough.I loved her with a passion. Her whole staff reflected that.” -Millard Sheets
Please complete the enclosed questionnaire and return by September 1st. Join the mission to improve and enrich the arts by resurrecting the vision of Nelbert Chouinard! For further information phone Dave Tourje a1213-494-8760o r Bob Perine at760-436-1140.
Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave., So. Pasadena, CA 91031) Phone/Fax: 696-103-5063
Dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Nelbert Chouinard and her school.
David Tourje, Co-founder 626-403-5963 Robert Perine. Co-founder 760-436-1140 Cover: Alice Mae (Estes) Davis congratulates Mrs. Chouinard as she is honored at a CA dinner in 1959.
On Saturday, July 24, a small group of ex- Chouinardians and their friends gathered in the Chouinard House patio for brunch. Some hadn’t seen each other for years. After Dave led several tours through the house, the group gathered in the living room and listened to Buts and Dave talk about their hope for the foundation’. future. In attendance were:
James Aitchison, Nancy Cartwright. Marc & Alice Davis. Bob & LaDoma Eichenberg. Erie & Sammye Erickson, Brad Howe, Ned Jacoby, Bob Kurtz,Bob Mason, Nola Perla (Joy Figen), Rose Tourje-Gatza, and Loraine Weissburd and Wendy Reinke (CalArts)
On September 4th other new faces appeared: Paul & Cassandra Einstein, Elizabeth Madley. Clarice Knapp, Norma Winner, and Mary Nash. Clarice gave a report on the steps necessary to officially declare the Chouinard House a national historical landmark.
On October 4th Diane Drummond, Karen (Diamond) Laurence, and her daughter Andrea were added to the list. Mark Westermoe, director of Associates in Art, the Successful new Encino art school, talked to the group about his unusual, rapid success, based on meeting a need: plenty of life drawing, painting, and skill-oriented courses in illustration, animation, and computer art, astutely geared toward the entertainment Industry. It strangely echoed Chouinard’s synergistic curricula.
ATTITUDE / AGENDA/ ACTION
In the process of pooling ideas we recently formulated a list of worthy objectives for the Foundation (below). It is now time to select and carry these Ideas forward, an opportunity to concentrate on Mrs. Chouinard legacy, a legacy she spent her entire adult life realizing. Over the years she made the sacrifices necessary to make good art happen. We see these sacrifices as our model. By recalling her positive attitude and unwavering dedication land that of her rugged-individualist faculty) we take heart in their example and wish to emulate it.
We welcome and need your support and input Now that the Chouinard House is home base, we Invite you to attend our monthly meetings and take part Or write us a letter about your Chouinard experience. At our second meeting on September 4th, it was agreed that the first Saturday of each month at 10.30 was a good meeting time November 6th, December 4th, January 8th. etc)
Please note: No foundation funds are being used to remodel the House. The restoration is solely Dave’s domain and his contribution to the cause. We have reason to thank him profusely.
Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Gartiled Ave., South Pasadena. CA 91030 Phone/Fax: 626-403-5963
Dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Nelbert, Chouinard and her school.
David Tourje, Co-founder 626-403-5963 Robert Perine, Co-founder 760-436-1140 COVER: John Altoon drawing In the sand at Playa del Rey, 1961. Photo by Ray Rich, Cbouinard 1950.
I first encountered the devilish. winning John Altoon countenance on the cover of Lawrence Lipton’s book The Holy Barbarians: The Story of the Beat Generation.” John is pictured sitting Buddha-like on his pad in his Santa Monica studio with two friends, shirtless. bairloot. In cut-offs. smiling toward heaven with that wispy sparkling smile, that even now steals your confidence as it breaks your heart. That was 1959. I was a high school sophomore. It was in Jules Langsner’s Art History class at Chouinard some year, late that I pointed out this bit of literary trivia, sending Jules on a philosophical trip to reveal to us the ‘true” meaning of the word “beat” declaring. “It has to do with ‘beatitude’, and John is a beautiful cat.”
Scene L Group of ragged art students in 1960 celadon-colored Plymouth Valiant head for gallery openings. on la Cienega Blvd.. anticipating hors d’ oeuvres and free wine. Scene II. David Stuart Gallery where the food is good and everyone wears suits. Students are innocently eating dinner and filling their pockets.
Scene III. The group of ragged art students makes their way from the Davi Stuart Gallery to the Ferus Gallery where they don’t wear suits but do serve wine to minors. One student is reading the L.A. Free Press out loud. Probably a Bukowski diatribe. The early evening air is hot. People seem to be parting for the group, their rolling eyes saying, “there goes a group of scruffy art students from Chouinard.
” Scene IV. There is commotion on east side of La Cienega in proximitty of Ferus Gallery. Traffic is slowing. A man is waving his arms, stopping the cars, and talking to the occupants. He rushes back to the side walk where he accosts a gentle pedestrian. It appears to be all in fun and very good natured. The source of this big deal sweeps the now curious and suddenly energized band from west side of La Cienega to east side of La Cienega. The group realizes the kinetic conductor is Mr. Altoon. Recognizing the students, Mr. Altoon is even more enlivened and sweeps them into the Fens Gallery, shouting, “You won’t believe your eyes!”
Scene V. Everyone is standing around staring at a vat of black goo. So? What’s the big whoop? They look back and forth at each other. Out of the black goo, rising slowly, a hand appears. Then the wrist. Then the forearm. Then the arm. Black oily goo is dripping off the mysterious appendage. Then, PLOP!
Scene VI. Altoon is ecstatic, excited and full of praise for his new toy which must be shared. His enthusiasm is catching. Infectious. Mad. Generous. John Altoon was some beautiful cat.
Below: Elin Waite / Carousel Horse series done while a Chouinard student. Gouache on board, 18″ x 11″, 1961. Right: Herb Jepson, master art teacher, and Elin Waite, art director of Westways magazine for over twenty years, meet at Angel’s Gate for a re-start Chouinard session, November 1983. Both have since died.
We were glad to see new faces at the Chouinard Foundation monthly meeting on December 4th: Tom Yakutis, Chris and Pat Love, and Leo Monahan. With them came a portfolio of work by Chouinard grad and Westways magazine art director Bin Waite, now deceased — drawings, illustrations, etc. done during her successful career. As we discussed the possibilities for a first CF exhibition, it seemed fated that Elin, a devoted disciple of Mrs. Chouinard and known by all present, be celebrated. As of this writing plans are moving forward to curate an exhibit of her work to be scheduled for this year, with an opening/party at the Chouinard House and moving outward to the Associates in Art school gallery in Sherman Oaks. Plans are also progressing for an exhibition of student and faculty artists (to be called CHOUINARD: 50 Years of Los Angeles Art) tentatively slated for the Oceanside Museum in July/August 2001.
Two other venues are currently being considered to make this a traveling exhibition with catalog. Part of the Chouinard legacy, we feel, is re-informing the art community of the historical significance of the school in the context of Los Angeles art.
Upcoming meetings at the Chouinard House: Saturday February 5th and Saturday, March 4th at 10:00 am. Please join us for bagels and orange juice and bring your ideas.
“The symbolism of an intimate show within Mrs. Chouinard’s home evokes the notion of Mrs. Chouinard herself honoring her own students. This symbolism is quite attractive and powerful.”
GRAND VIEWS Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030 Phone /Office: 323-9K-1773
Dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Nelberi Chouinard and her school. David Tourje, Co-founder 626-403-5963 Robert Perine, Co-founder 760-436-1140
HAROLD KRAMER Harold M. Kramer was a teacher and an artist To those who knew him, he was either ‘Mr. Kramer” or “Hal”, depending on his obvious opinion of the person he confronted, negotiated with, or lectured – at that moment.
I first met Hal in 1962 at a Chouinard night class called “Experimental Illustration,” a course that was initiated and designed by him because of his belief that the accepted curriculum was too literal and too sterile. Kramer had little appreciation for certain “other” instructors because of what he considered, “in my humble opinion,” their inability to move away from cliche.
Always, and under all circumstances. Hal was in control, dealing with people or paintings. He always knew exactly how he was to proceed and what he wished from the transaction. He was provocative, piercing, and constantly pushing… to the very edge. It was this quality that allowed Hal’s students to be bombarded with an unending stream of eclectic information, accompanied by his free-flowing, analytical castigation (sometimes resulting in a student fleeing class, tears flowing, followed by an enlightened and painful return). Of course, this enabled Mr. K (a title permitted only because It “sounded very regal”) to have one more powerful instructional tool. The words and chalk drawings poured forth – logical, coherent, and beautiful.
Kramer taught without peer. His whole life was one of ordered control and direction, which were applied to all his art … his paintings, sculpture, drawings, and illustrations. It was always the same with everything he touched. Along with everything else, there was his fiery temper. I recall one episode quite clearly: during early Sunday morning painting class, a buddy and myself, along with, few others, were waiting the arrival of Hal and his wife, Anne. For whatever reason they never arrived, so “Gep” and I painted and discussed at that day. The following week, when Hal pulled up sharply and arrogantly In his zippy blue Land Rover, we approached and I said jokingly, “Hal, Last week you didn’t show up, so I taught Gep a few key things about art and he doesn’t think he’ll be needing your classes again.” There was a long silence, then Hal’s reaction.. precise, blasphemous, horrendous, descriptive, and final!! He then speak to me for weeks.
Mr. Kramer was complex, yet now seems simple to define; a man with the caustic wit of W.C. Fields, the sometimes charm of mickey Rooney, and the imposing aura of Winston Churchill. He was one hell of a teacher, one hell of an artist, and a great guy!
– Lou Paleno
We’re pleased to announce that the first three Chouinard Foundation exhibitions are now scheduled as follows:
The Drawings and Paintings of Elin Waite Chouinard Howse. July 29, 30 An Academy of LA.. August 6- September 1. The Paintings and Sculpture of Harold Kramer Chouinand House, October 21 ,22 Art Academy of L.A. October 28 – November 24 The Watercolors of Rex Brandt Chouinard House. January 27. 28 Art Academy of L.A . February 3- February 30
The Art Academy of La Angeles is located at 5211 Kester Ave. (corner of Magnolia Blvd. & Kester) in Sherman Oaks. Hours an. 9:00am to 9.00pm every day. The Chouinard House address is on the opposite page – 1:00 to 6:00 pm by Invitation or appointment. (213) 494-8760.
We are grateful to Tom Yakutis for leading us to the Elin Waite collection, and for Chris and Patti Love for their catalog research. Also a big thanks to Lou Paleno and Philip Fager for bestowing upon us the 550 odd paintings and sculpture and 200 drawings of Harold Kramer, a Chouinard teacher for fourteen years. VW are becoming a depository of Chouinard history, thanks to your donations and increasing interest In the foundation’s activities. We aim to be around for a while, so send us your stories and memorablia. It is long past time that Chouinard take its rightful place in history The Madame’s home is ours. Here our memories of her blossom. Come preserve yours as well.
We are saddened by the passing of Disney animator and Chouinard teacher Marc Davis, one of the nine grand old men who died January 15 at age 86.He is survived by his wife, Alice Estes Davis, a Chouinard graduate. More continued drawing and painting right up to his death, and was able to enjoy a retrospective exhibit of his work at Larry Smith Gallery last year.
We are also saddened by the death of painter Rex Brandt, 85, who left this world on March 21st. Brandt was a Chouinard student when he was thirteen and taught watercolor painting there following World War II. He was the last of the triumverate of well known pre-war painters – Brandt-Dike-Sheets always felt Idea kid brother to Phil and Millard” he told me in a 1970s interview, evidence that there was a deep mutual respect among the small band of early southern California landscape painters who considered Chouinard their find home.
A big thanks to Linda Tourje for willingly taking over the Foundation finances and legal matters while Dave and 1 have been absorbed in resurrecting the Chouinard legacy making contacts, and restoring the House_ Also to Sylvia Solana, Davis administrative manager, who has efficiently taken charge of the mailing list, the dissemination of this bulletin to our members, and events management. We hope soon to have a Website which will speed up contact with ex-Chouinardians. –Robert Perine
GRAND VIEW Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91031) Phone/Fax: 696-103-5063
Dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Nelbert Chouinard and her school. David Tourje, Co-founder 626-403-5963 Robert Perine. Co-founder 760-436-1140
As thisissue of Grand view goes to press, we can report that several museums have shown interest in mounting a Chauinard historical exhibition In 2001 or 2002. It is time now to lay curatorial plans for such a project. one that the Chauinard Foundation is ideally situated to spearhead. In preliminary conversations, it is clear that the younger curators and directors in local museums have an unclear picture of what Chouinard as a school consisted of, who Mrs Chouinard was, and the numbers of successful professional artist who studied and taught there.
Our first task is to forward the process of selection of artist, living and dead, who were students and faculty during those Chouinard years – 1921-1972. This unbroken chain of excelleme in achievement can more thoroughly be appreciated by museums and historians when our list of important California artists Is compiled and related to local and national art communities .We have an impressive list of artist from two generations: 1921-1947 and 1948-1972. World War II becoming the dividing line, a four year pause that triggered the reappraisal of art education and artist thrust.
Contacting families and collectors and borrowing works in no easy task. that’s why we’re starting now. Ed Flynn (Chouinard 1967), has volunteered hi contact artists of the 1960s and to assemble their works. This base will form the second generation group.
Robert Perine (Chouinard 1950) will do the same for the first generation, pulling together works that express the broad-based cohesion of Chouinard aurricula – drawing painting, design, etc. examples of faculty and graduate work. some at which vim largely overlooked in their time. Influences will be seen,as well as the rejection of influence. Most Chouinard teachers had devoted followers, others worked hard to promote individuality. Successful schools, like this one, hold clues to the advancement of artist skills, both technical and intellectual.
Over the years beliefs about art education differed widely, and these differences will hopefully be evident in the Foundation’s exhibitions. The school thrived on difference, welcomed the chemistry of foment. Arguing, departmental rivalry, sorting out the options, were stabilizing forces at Chouinard. It was a place where diversity and strong opinion put an edge on day-to-day activities, an integral part of a broad-based school. Fine art was the foundation, freedom the goal. From there students followed their own drummers.
We want to enhance exhibitions with personal anecdotes and historical insights by way of specialized catalogs. Send us stuff: snapshots, letters, photos of your work, anything to put you on record. Fred Hammersley’s painting, “Balanced Diet,1989” (below) was selected from a box of materials he recently sent us.
Old timers at Foundation meeting in thepatio, May 2000. Left to right: James Aitchison, Sam Clayberger, Lou Paleno, geppy Vaccaro, Dave Anderson, and Tom Yakutis. Paleno and Yakuits made it possible for the foundation to exhibit the Waite and Kramer collections.
” I had practiced drawing and taught drawing as a kind of how to do it thing for so long, and i developed a skill in this direction and a lot of information about art and the nature of composition. Like all teachers, I had reduced it to a formal system which seemed to be effective and very much in demand. I had a large following of students… but i began to ask questions about judgments; teachers who teach as much as i did become almost automatic critics… I was aware of being analytical and criticizing and always dominated by preconceptions that were already in my head.So i began to try to think about ways that would disrupt this, would inhibit my habits, as it were… I decided that I’m really going to change the emphasis away from judgment and criticism of effects, to focus more on the idea of increasing sensitivity and awareness and responsiveness to ongoing processes rather than to focus on the end product. At that point i stopped criticizing or judging students’ work. We’d put up on the wall only as a way of saying By the way, this is what happened.’
“Analysis and judgment imply an authority, and I think the burden of the authority of the arts of the past is a very restrictive thing to put on students because they are always placed in a position of inferiority. They’re inferior to the teacher, and if they question and doubt the teacher, he can always appeal to a higher authority, the old master or a masterwork of some kind. This is a great encumbrance. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look at the masters and find meaning. In terms of their own responses and awareness, what it does is something that’s usually ignored; it’s a detached something out there that established a goal to achieve, which is something remote. “I like the idea of the purpose of education being developmental growth, because when you think about somebody’s development and growth, it’s organic, like his size or the color of his hair. You can’t judge it and say, ‘Now, what you need is to grow another inch taller.’ When you talk about organic growth, you’re referring to the whole being. You’re not talking about some value system. “When you are talking about what you’re doing, this is fulfilling, nourishing, meaningful, and you do it because you love it. You like the way you feel.”
“In Perine’s book, Chouinard: An Art Vision Betrayed, it states that Bill Pajaud in 1952 was Chouinard’s first African-American student. My tenure as a student at chouinard began in 1951. Even then I suspected that i was the only full Time African-American student, However i never imagined that i was the first!”
-Lottie Williams Bailey, Chino Hills
“Waston Cross died in March, 1997. He would have approved of your ideas.”
-June Cross, west Covina
“For some reason, people had the idea that Mrs. Chouinard was my aunt. We’re not related , but she and my mother (deceased) were best friends. I’m enclosing a photo that i foud in a box of old family snapshots, probably taken by my mother in the early thirties. It’s at Mrs.C’s house, which at one time was in a very woodsy setting. The writing on the back is my mother’s. Mrs. C always kept two huge macaws outdoors in her back yard. One was white and one was iridescent blue and, to me as a child, they were incredibly exotic and splendid. She also had a black Scotty dog that I played with,racing around the wonderful the garden paths until Mrs. C told us to settle down.
“I’m sure you know she (Mrs. C) had an audience with Adolph Hitler. I heard her tell story. He Called her Madame Chouinard and was very pleasant because they discussed art. She was outraged by what he was doing, and i don’t know if she said anything critical to him or not. Based on her comments about what was going on in Europe, I wrote a grade school essay for the South Pasadena American Legion Patriotism Contest and won first prize.”
– Brandy (Brandenburger) Surasky,
We need your stories! We’re also looking for authentic memorabilia! Pardon our French, but we also need your francs!
NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE
Send to: Chouinard Foundation / 1114 Garfield Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030
A big thanks to all those who have already contributed ! The Chouinard legacy gather momentum each day.
The first three Chouinard Foundation shows are now scheduled as follows (please note slight changes in dates from our last bulletin):
The Drawings and Paintings of Elin Waite
Art Academy of L.A., August 6 – September 1
The Paintings and Sculpture of Harold Kramer
Art Academy of L.A., November 5 – December 3
The Watercolors of Rex Brandt
Art Academy of L.A., February 4 – March 4
The Art Academy is at 5211 Kester Ave. In Sherman Oaks (corner of Magnolia). Turn off Ventura Freeway at Laurel Canyon Blvd. Go west on Magnolia
“There is something about a quality arts school that can truly rattle your cage. Long before I went to Chouinard I was at UCLA in the fifties and I can hardly recall more than three professors in five years that woke me up. Contrast that with life in the boiling cauldron of Chouinard’s where every day teachers and fellow students were radically reassembling your head, as in Jepson’s obtuse ramblings (god, what did he mean by that?), Moore’s savage critiques from hell, Graham’s convoluted problems to name a few, or pure chaos as when Bob Chuey steamed into painting one day, threw down a load of branches, twigs, beer cans, and other junk and yelled, “Okay, suckers, see if you can paint that.” No rearranging allowed. Years later I was in the teaching business for a while and I still run into students telling me forgotten stories about myself, or how something I said totally changed their lives, and I’m thinking “man, I don’t know if I want to know that,” and I realize that for a teacher you do so much just off the top simply to get the nippers going on anything, get them off the dime, past their own mediocrity along with keeping the job interesting for yourself. I suspect that’s what those guys were doing too. So, one day you are way beyond desperate for a problem to give, and on the way to work you see a vacant lot screaming at you, “answer, answer, answer!” so you swerve over and pick up a load of junk and roar into the classroom, throw all that stuff on the floor and yell, “Okay, suckers, paint that!”
There is still a desire on the part of some artist to continue honing their drawing skills. Over the years drawing groups have sprung up to accomodate this need. Members pay a ee, models are hired, and the work continues, difficult as it is. Here are examples from three groups, one in Fallbrool, one in Encinitas, and one in Morro Bay. Predictably,old chouinardians are found de-rustifying as they once did in Graham’s, Jepson’s or Cross’s classes.Let us know if you’re in such a group; we’ll give you a plug.
Architectonic: A dubious beverage served at some lesser gallery openings.
Archival: Not to be confused with arch-rival, somebody who paints like you.
Art Collector: An angel whose blind passion is matched only by unlimited funds.
Art Dealer: Someone who loves art, wants friends, enjoys parties, and can pay the rent after paying the artist.
Art Historian: Duffer who dislikes contemporary art, loves previous art and can never tell you when it all went bad. Art Writer: A juggler of ideas and impressions who can barely make a living.
Belly up : State of a gallery when optimism meets incompetence.
Boonies: Art venues that are so far out you have to bus in rented cognoscenti.
Career: A zen concept best understood by asking,”What career?” \
Jan( O’Brien) Magdaleno
sent these photos, reminders of chouinard, vintage 1949, fashion department. she was 19 Jacket by Alice Mae Estes, car by Ford, Photos by Fiedler and Long, Probably Fred Archer students.
C.F. Founders Possess Private Passions Right: Dave and Bob on a Tourje couch in Mrs. Chouinard,s Living room.Bottom Left: Robert Perine, “Toonit, Ecknarly, Zemlit, Avonar, Phantel, and Arth- nip, recent additions to the tribes of Xyr (an ongoing project since 1974(.” Graphite, each drawing 9*12.” 2000. Bottom right: Dave Tourje,”crazy Bull,” acrylic on Plexi,48″ * 48″, 2000. Dave’s work is showing Sept.9 – Oct 8 at BGH Gallery,Bergamont station , Santa Monica.
GRAND VIEW Published by the Chourinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave.. South Pasadena, CA 91030 Phone/Fax 626-403-5963 Dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Nelbert Chourinard and her school. David Tourje, Co-founder 626-403-5963 Robert Perine, Co-founder 760-436-1140
GENERAL NEWS The Elin Waite mini-show at the Art Academy of L.A. was a big success, says Mark Westermoe, the Academy’s director/owner. Seeing work by an artist from the 1950/1960s, who was also an art director for Westways Magazine, and discovering Waite’s connection to Chouinard, has broadened the student’s understanding and appreciation of what went before. Art school students in a new century can benefit from a look at the last, perhaps clarify their own direction and point up both improvement in, and decay of the skills they find worthy of developing in their class work It was not without note that Chouinard students always work-ed hard at entering a specific field of fine or applied an, just as students today.
Another package from Fred Hammersley in Albuquerque brings us an original etching of Roger Hollenbeck’s (’47) and a box of slides of his own work. Hammersley, Roger Hollenbeck, Tom Laursen. and Bill Brice were fellow students at Chouinard and Jepson Art Institutes before WW2. Rico Lebrun was one of their mentors. Hollenbeck and Lauren are deceased.
A small but quality collection is developing at the Chouinard House, and we plan to add to It as work comes in, as well as to our growing archives. We hope you will consider donating work to our collection, both as a means of preserving it and as a tax deduction (appraisal required). Last, but not least, the design of a Chouinard website is under way. By the time you receive this bulletin you will be able to access us: www.chouinardfoundation.com
MUSEUM SHOW UPDATE
We’re pleased to announce that the Oceanside Museum has committed to next year’s Chouinard show, along with the Kruglak Gallery on the Mira Costa College Campus and the Boehm Gallery on the Palomar College Campus, all In close proximity to one another in north San Diego County, the hub being the junction of freeways 5 and 78. The official dates ate July 7- August 26,2001. Invitations will include a comprehensive map for those coming ruin out of town.
Realizing that a well-rounded group of Chouinard artists required space, and that such an overview should naturally include three generations of students and facility. we decided that three curators were necessary to select the pieces and efficiently round up the work. Throe venues therefore, proved logical, providing three separate experiences while preserving historical continuity. A unifying color catalog is In the planning stages.
The first generation: 1921 – 1945 – Robert Perine (’50). curator. (760)436-1140 Boehm Gallery The second generation: 1946 – 1955 – lames Aitchison (‘58), curator. (760)753-8689 Kruglak Gallery The third generation: 1956- 1672 – Ed Flynn (‘67), curator. (323)661-9727 Oceanside Museum
We are hopeful that this first outing will trigger the interest of historians and other museums, that future Chouinard exhibitions will be possible in other California communities. It seems fitting that the first year of the new century is a good time to look back at the last, to review, analyze, and put Chouinard in its proper context as the vital Los Angeles art institution it was. Again. full credit goes to Nelbert Chouinard. a woman ahead 0f her time. She made it happen and Is, In memoriam, the spiritual motivator of the Foundation.
QUOTES AND NOTES
Most of us went to Chouinard with the very limited goal of learning to become an Illustrator, a designer. a potter. a Landscape artist or whatever. Somehow spending a few years hanging around the school patio, where I spent most ot my student life, we were engulfed by the atmosphere of Chouinard and gradually transformed by it. All die departments let students out into the patio where everyone interacted or watched other interact They were coming out of the studios or classrooms with some of the most interesting and intriguing esthetic questions of our time. some old, some new, not yet tested in the real world. We simply took them in as a natural consequence of life at Choninard.
It seemed as if two or three generations of art movements were stacked on top of each other, operating simultaneously, Movements which no longer existed in Europe or on the East Coast coexisted at Chouinard, live and well, along with some of the most advanced esthetic concepts. Bring a student during this period was a little mind-boggling and more than a little confusing to most of us in the fine arts department. We were learning Renaissance ideas of drawing to Abstract Expressionism to Not-Dadaism all essential to painting and sculpture.
Renaissance notions of art were perhaps exemplified by the great master teacher, Don Graham, for whom I had great respect. He talked in such a soft spoken that we all had to huddle close to hear, staying quiet. Don also spoke in that incomprehensible manner great teachers cultivate, making it imperative to listen carefully. I was in his class for a year and a half and ultimately discovered that Don was a magician.He was teach as much as help you discover things for yourself. He was a mirror where you looked and listened intently and ultimately saw yourself.
– Nob Hadeishi, July, 2000
We’d like to hear your story! We’re also searching Chouinard memorabilia! Pardon our French, but we also need your francs!
Check the box and send this coupon with your check
A big thanks to all those who have already contributed ! As we remember and share our experience at chourinard, we solidify the legacy.
REEP Since our last bulletin Ed Reep has appeared in ‘They Drew Fire,’ a PBS series on war artist correspondents, available as a book and/or video. He was also interviewed by Charlie Rose and Peter Jennings and was honored, along with others, at the National Newseum in Washington DC. Reep taught at Chouinard from1950 to 1970. Gabrielson’s Glossary of Art Terms Cavort: An artist dance performed after making a sale. receiving a grant, or any other good news. for instance, the judge doesn’t consider your painting, good enough to be considered community property. College Art Association: A strange outfit that holds conventions for people who don’t have jobs and listens to papers !nom people who are afraid of losing theirs. Commission: Money you give to someone selling your work for prices you could never on this earth demand of yourself. Context: Or, how to fit the tux on the gorilla.
Chouinard House Update
• Voted by the South Pasadena City Council as a Heritage Cultural Landmark on July 9. • House painting completed – computer matched to the original colors. • Driveway re-done to match the original. • Entry columns rebuilt. • Total project now near completion. • Next meeting at the House Saturday. Nov. 4. 10.30 am
Note: No foundation funds were used for their project.
Criticism: Savage truths about artists better given to artists other than yourself.
Curator: Final arbiter of art until a member of their board calls, final arbiter of what shows get them their next job.
Day Job: It you want to be an artist, never let it go.
Death Rattle: When a gallery goes out of business and his paintings are locked inside, it is the coda played on the front door by an artist wanting to get the work before the Sheriff
Derivative: A cancer you hope you don’t have but suspect everybody else does.
Diploma: A piece of paper given in bright sunshine and later consigned to a dark drawer.
ALUMNI FEEDBACK MEMORABLE CHOUINARD MOMENTS
• Mrs. Chouinard at a gathering of students at Grand View explained the school philosophy as creating thinkers, not renders. Chouinard vs. Art Center’s way of doing things. She was right on message.
• Marc Davis’s class In animation using figure models. although at the time I didn’t know what he was talking about
• Ditto, Moore’s beginning design class. He said, “you may not understand what I’m talking about until long after you leave Chouinard.” How true. • Regrets, Not getting into Rex Brandt’s watercolor class earlier. Had his basic course my last year -Bob Lindborg, Blackfood, Montana (’50)
AN EDUCATION UNINTERRUPTED
Chouinard, 1967Reflecting on my memories of Chouinard. I can easily re-live my eight weeks of two days a week listening and watching Fred Hammersley’s elegant precision in support of Color and Design. This was a performance experience for me. Each comment was respectfully given so that the spirint of what was being learned was kept whole, unbroken, and assimilated through all of the senses, but not losing touch with his subtle and contagious sense of humor. In spite of my fixed state of embarrassment, I walked away with a decidedly elevated confidence, knowing that the first layer of a mystery had just been peeled back for me.
Chouinard, 1968 The Viet Nam, War WM raging. my husband Ed was drafted out of graduate school and sent to boot camp in Northern California. I lived near the Van Nuys Airport flight path. Every so often Air Force and Navy transport planes in formation sent shadow patterns over our houses and streets I began using a four Inch by four inch toy model of a DC3 I’d found near a plastics factory, repeatedly pressing it into ceramic plates of soft clay. The final firing was in silver china paint- I realise now that this was the beginning of my “protest” in high contrasts. Instead of the dark aircraft shadows in the street, I focused on tiny silver planes, frozen in time on platen meant to hold nourishment not death.
Chouinard. 2000 Some thirty year later I realize that the unspoken bonds between myself and fellow Chouinard, including instructors, has risen in my consciousness, is Most apparent and tangible over time. I feel we each walked away uniquely imprinted, though that Imprint escapes definition for me. Yet it continues to unfold, and as a Chouinardian I can continue to witness and participate In a legacy that encourages the spirit of “seeing. – Vivian Daniel Flynn(’70)
The Chouinard that I first knew in the late 1940s was a place that had an almost magical sense of common spirit and purpose. There was virtually no discipline but everything you needed to learn was there to have if you wanted It. And we wanted it. Often we learned as much from the others in the class as from our teachers who often seemed to be just trying to channel the energy, then standing back In let it happen.
When finished class assignments went up on the board and you saw what wonderful stuff many of the people around you produced, it was an experience, that could often be discouraging but it always provided invaluable lessons in what you, also, could hope to “achieve.” – Ned Jacoby(’50)
GRAND VIEW Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave. South Pasadena. CA 91030 Phone/Fax. 626-403-5963 Dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy ofNelbert Chouinard and her school.
David Tourje, Co-founder 626-403-5963 Robert Perine, Co-founder 760-436-1140
AALA SOLO SHOWS The Watercolors of Rex Brandt Art Academy of L A., Sunday, Fob 4 – Sunday. March 4 The Paintings of Sam Clayberger Art Academy of L.A., Sunday. May 6 – Sunday, June 3 The Paintings & Drawings of Robert Blue Art Academy of LA., Sunday, July 8 – Sunday, August 5 Chouinard House get-togethers are every first Saturday: February 3, 2001 – 10:30 am March 3, 2001 – 10:30 am April 7, 2001 10:30 am Gabrielson’s Glossary of Art Terms Academe: Somewhere to go to lose oneself, gain units, avoid reality, and shop around for identity. Academic Artist: A teacher who evolves hit personal art so as to appeal to students. Aesthetician: A vile coward with no Sense of responsibility who cons others into doing what he cannot. Anger: Artist way of showing respect. Ant Hill: Appearance of a studio when visited by tour buses.
Plans ate moving forward for this summer’s all- Chouinard exhibition at the Oceanside Museum, the Kruglak Gallery, and the Boehm Gallery. The work of three generations of Chouinard students and facuity members will be combined to celebrate Chouinard’s place in California art history. If the school was still in tact, this would be its 80th anniversary. The curatorial responsibilities are being shared by:
Robert Perine – First generation, 1921 – 1945 James Aitchison – Second generation, 1946 -1960 Ed Flynn – Third generation, I960 – 1972
The opening will be the afternoon and evening of Saturday, July 7th this year. As a convenience, shuttle buses will tour the three venues in north San Diego County, allowing viewers to relax and see the entire show. Plans are also under way to have a Chouinard beach party just three blocks away. we welcome your suggestions and ideas for the party.
If you haven’t already been contacted by one ol our curators, please feel free to e-mail or call or send slides.
Perine – 760-436-1140 – perinefipacbell.net Aitchison – 760-753-8689 – jaichis&’ucsd.edu Flynn – 323-661-9727 – email@example.com
MIKE KANEMITSU Southern California Artist Matsumi Kanemitsu fondly referred to as Mike” by his colleagues and friends in America. arrived from New York to teach at the Chouinard Art Stool of the California Institute of the Arts in 1965, ostensibly to take change of the Fine Arts Department in the absence of Emerson Woelffer. At the time Woelffer WOS taking a year sabbatical on the island of Ischia when he had done some of his great paintings prior to coming to teach six years earlier at Chouinard at the invitation of the then dean. Gerald Nordland.
Woelffer and Kanemitsu met at June Wayne’s Tamarind Lithography Workshop which was housed at her studio on Tamarind Street in Hollywood in 1961. Tamarind, which is now based at the University of New mexico, as a permanent department to further the art of lithography, was an enormously successful attempt by Wayne to save the art form, (carrying on Lynton Kistler’s dream). Both Kanemitsu and Woelffer did some of the finest lithographic works of the 20th century at Tamarind, along with other eminent artists who worked them under the Ford Foundation Fellowship, Including some of the best known artists of the time – Robert Rauschenberg, Sam Francis. Robert Motherwell, Jacques Lipchitz, and Philip Guston. Chouinanf’s printmaking department provided Wayne with some of her finest printmaker apprentices, though June told me confidentially that the didn’t want the most gifted artists because they were likely to have esthetic conflicts with her guest artists.’
Kanemitsu, the quintessential New York School artists loll in love with Southern California and decided to stay on and teach at Chouinand, a fortunate thing for students. He brought with him some of the ingredients necessary for the growth of the arts In the region which, along with Emerson Woelffer. contributed to the very essence of the Chouinard educational process.Nelbert Chouinard as we know, was a Pratt-educated artist who began her teaching career In 1919 at perhaps the best pre-college school In the region – Pasadena’s Polytechnic School – a branch of the Throop Polytechnica Institute that became the California Institute of Technology. Both exist today across the street from each other. Mrs. Chouinard lived just a few blocks from Poly Pasadena. as it is called today and her original home was purchased in 1998 by artist David Tourje and his wife, Linda. The rest is already history (see Grand view,Issue One)
The commonality of Influence Mrs. Chouinard brought with her from the East Coast, like kanemitsu, fuses the cultures of the East and West, shows the Importance of the hand in our human culture and, in particular, the arts. The notion that “those who can do are those who can’t teach” is a misnomer because those who can’t do can’t teach other. Kanemitsu was one of those teachers who taught by example, like most other teachers at Chouinard. In earlier days they were hand-picked by Mrs. Chouinard and later through tradition,were the best in their disciplined field, at least those who practiced what they peached.
According to his reminiscences of Kanemitsu, Laddie John Dill, one of Mike’s first students at Chouinard (1965), writes that as he and other Chouinard students first entered the classroom/studio. ” Kanemitsu was alone in the room, drawing. It was as if he was in his own studio. As the rest of us came in, he just continued to draw?’ ‘ -Nob Hadeishi
TOURJE / WORDS I never won a lottery – until, that is, I found and accidentally purchased the Chouinard House. Am I talking about mere dollars or the largest pot with the least number of winners? Hardly. Mere dollars, like any common form, of energy, would likely be disbursed, spent to the last dime in short order. But this jackpot actually grows!
It grows because the Chouinard Foundation was founded on that vast underlying subject passionately held and mutually agreed upon – visual art – that churning cauldron which never ceases to boil. It seems this cauldron has been kept on the stove by one Robert Perine, simmering, as it were, perhaps cooling appreciatively over a flickering flame while he wondered -“How could this recipe have been forgotten?”
Well, if I’m not mistaken the Chouinard pot is boiling again (maybe not as hot as before) and is now being fueled by the collective memories, love, and help of many excited Chouinardians enthusiastically throwing logs on the fire.
It appears that Bob Perine’s flame is being rekindled.
Consider where we’ve come in a year. It’s very exciting. Our early (daily) conversations consisted of honest and humble questions.Some of mine “How do you actually spell Chouinard?” “Can’t talk for few days – need to replace all the sewer lines.. Today it’s ‘Who’s curating our first museum show?” or “What date do we inscribe on the bronze landmark plaque?” Progress is indeed being made.
We have an informal Board that Is Incredible – lames Aitchison. Sam Clayberger, Ed and Vivian Flynn, Nob Hadeishi. Ned Jacoby. Bob Mason. Leo Monahan, and Lou Paleno. Others just discovering us champ at their bits. I notice at our meetings that it is very easy for Chouinard people to talk about how great Chouinard was, With this kind of people Involved (and more to come), the conversation now centers on how great Chouinard will be. Museum and art school exhibitions, scholarships for the underprivileged, and the archiving of collections, are a few of the goals we’re actually achieving. It seems we are future-oriented now, yet anchored to the school’s tremendously rich peal – something rare in California. (How many such institutions have a rich cultural past in California?) The unanimous vote of the South Pasadena City Council (and mayor) for granting the Chouinard House Cultural Landmark status- with the impending fate likely for the Grandview building as well – seems to confirm the fad that culture fs important even in a relatively young environment like California. What all of you did at Chouinard wars and IF, important. This is confirmed dally through the sales and recognition of your art production in van011.1 ways, but also now (and in the near future) will he important in the broader collective light of general history again something important in the West, given our relatively short past.
Living In the Chouinard House is great, and being involved in the Foundation is greater. A lot of my own art history gaps have been filled through conversations with you Chouinard folks, you who were there, be it hanging out with Millard Sheets or John Altoon or Mike Kanemitsu. Living here it is easy to see the spirit of this person called “Madame” that touched off a fifty-year esthetic wildfire. The house, unaltered since her life here, possesses an encapsulation of her attitude – it rambles along unshackled by how architecture “should be” – historical tiles stuck randomly into walls, for instance. There is a loose strength that pervades the atmosphere. One directly senses a powerful individual, unrestrained by rules, loved by many, disliked by some. She was eccentric In certain ways, but had a deep sense of purpose – to prepare artists to think, create new realities, break rules, make new ones, and above all make art that’s truthful, man! What a recipe for a school! What a cauldron! MAIL Thank you for sending the Chouinard Foundation bulletin to me – I’m glad to know the memory of Mrs. Chouinard’s Art Institute is being kept alive – I really rilitY1 that place and all it stood for. No other can ever reach the same heights. Please keep me inhumed of the future ‘happenings” of this Chouinard Foundation. Hopefully, I can attend a few! All of the best to your endeavors, from ever that model. -Lane Letti
I started school at Chouinard in the Fall of 1967. This was a time of great social experimentation and Chouinard was definitely a ‘happening’ place. Some of this was good. Some destructive. I saw a lot of drugs and ‘partying”, but the pressure was also them .. the pressure that being included at the best art school could bring. I remember working all night to get my color and design projects just right for the 8:00 am class. Always trying to be a step ahead.
I loved the campus, and would spend long days in the labs, or visiting In the courtyard. During my last couple of semesters the CalArts campus was being constructed. The talk of a new, expanded school was everywhere. My class was the last graduating class from the original campus and we had the option of finishing at the temporary location in Burbank (Villa Cabrini). I wouldn’t have thought of leaving the “real Chouinard ” and opted to finish at the old school. In the last couple of months it was odd to be one of a handful of students at the old campus. Sort of eerie and, at the same time, wonderful to have the place to myself. My only regret is that my degree says CalArts on it, not Chouinard. -Larry Hurst
Some time around the late forties or early fifties Mrs. Chouinard bought a painting from Richard Haines. A beautiful painting from his Southwest period (see merry It hung in her living room on the east wall, over the fireplace, which was where I fell in love with IL She told me that shortly after the purchase, she had her living room painted and when the painter took the Hamm off the wall, he noticed on the back, the price, and said in astonishment, “why would anyone pay $2,503 for a thing like this?” “Young man,” Mrs. Chouinard replied, “It took me fifty years to understand why I would pay $2,5011 for a painting and I don’t intend to try to explain it to you In five minutes!’ -Ruth Osgood salyer.
In the late 1950s I was a TA major to theater design at Columbia University. After a summer designing eight musicals, I realized I sorely needed training in drawing and design which I could get only at an an school, and decided on Chouinard. I don’t know how I knew about the school. Perhaps, given its legendary status, it was pan of the collective unconscious, perhaps. in my case, a beneficent karma. Whatever the reason, one day in the Fall of 1957 I arrived at 743 N. Grandview. At that time Mrs. Chouinard (did anyone really call her Nribert, even Nellie?) Reviewed all new students. I remember a spare II believe she was 80, or near it) friendly, but no-nonsense woman who looked as hard at me as she did my work. I felt good – honored. really – to have passed her tough scrutiny and began classes the following term.
Although I had the Gl Bill, I told her I might need extra financial help. “Can you push J broom?” she asked. I allowed I probably mold and so the rest of that semester I swept the halls and classrooms every evening. The economic aid was minor, but the job proved significant anyway. Pushing a second broom was Aaron Cohen who became my mentor and friend that first year. Aaron. an ad major winding up his last 5-ear, knew eve one, He profiled the faculty introduced me to his extraordinarily talented pals., told me where to find supplies at cost, and got me a noontime waiter’s job at The Patio, a high-priced hamburger mint. Aaron also knew which women students were a soft touch – for a meal or a snack, that is, He’d say -Let’s stop and say hi to Liz. She always offers cookies- and she always did! The next term, after he graduated, I took over his apartment in the hugely pink “Shalimar” (a a sign over the front door proclaimed), and shared the place with Larry Bell. Aaron later became a Mattel art director, but in the Misi.804 died of a brain aneurism. Although I later found myself a freelance promotional / public relations writer, I’m fortunate to have had Mrs. Chouinard invite me in, and Aaron Cohen coach me those first couple of months. I suppose that each of us can think of someone who acted as a guide and gum at some point in his or her life. Certainly many Chouinard faculty members were willing and did so. But during those Lot couple of years that she was ‘,Jill an active presence, Mrs. Chouinard and the school she founded (you can’t really separate them) remained our primary mentor and liaison into the world of art. By the middle 60s we saw her less often and new students were processed with all the impersonal formalities reminiscent of any institution. Without her presence and guidance Clinuinanl seemed hollowed out Happily I was there when the halls rang and Aaron (and I) knew where the goodies were being given out.
-Dean Cushman We’d like to hear your story! We’re also seeking Chouinard memorabilia! Pardon our French, but we also need your francs!
A big thanks to all those who have already contributed ! As we remember and share our experience at chourinard, we solidify the legacy.
Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030) Phone/Fax: 626-403-5963
Monthly Chouinard meetings are held at the chouinard House on the first saturday of each month at 10.30 am – April 7, May 5, and June 2nd.
The Paintings of sam Clayberger
Art Academy of L.A., Sunday, May 6 – Sunday , June 3
The Paintings and Drawings of Robert Blue Art Academy of L.A., Sunday, July 8 – Sunday, August 5
The Paper Sculpture of Leo Monahan Art Academy of L.A., Sunday, October 7 – Sunday,Nov 4.
This July 7 may make history for Chouinard, a school that was all but forgetten until the Foundation Came along and decided to do something about saving an important piece of art history. The museum show at OMA, the Kruglak, and the Boehm galleries, will be the first large, Comprehensive collection of Chouinard artist ever assembled. it is high time. How amazing that no one has thought to do such a show before. What a roster of artist we are bringing together!
The exhibition has been diveded into three groups: the 1st Generation (1921-1945), the 2nd Generation(1946-1960), and the 3rd Generation (1960-1972). The task involved in finding people, interviewing them, eliciting referrals, reviewing slides, and tracking down the work has been difficult, but enjoyable. A big thanks go to Ed and Vivan Flynn, Nob Hadeishi,and James Aitchison for pursing all leads and for essentially making it happen. Though we still have a way to go , we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. A comprehensive catalog has yet to be prepared, so some of us are grinding out essays in which we struggle to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But we know it’s worth it and already predict that Chouinard people from all generations are going to have a wonderful opportunity in Oceanside to revist each other and in many cases meet for the first time. Nelbert’s family, after all, was over fifty years old, and some of us are still able to reach back without falling Over.
Cover : Sam Clayberger’s “Ruth,” an acrylic of unusual color, is typical of his large collection of sensual nudes. A visit to his Los Angeles Studio in March 2001(left) unearthed a wealth of choice works, not all his own, Sam studied at chouinard with Richard Haines, Phil Dike, Edkohn, and Don Graham, taught later at otis for seventeen years.
You younger guys will need to hold us up, but that’s all right . It’s massive dream come true. Keep in mind that shuttle buses will be available to cover all three venues during the Saturday opening -2.00-8.00 pm. If you want to come early and do a picnic lunch on the beach nearby, have at it. Bring a Frisbie or two.
A special announcement will be maild out in june. If you’d like copies for your personal mailing list, please let us know soon: Ed Flynn – 323-651-9727; James Aitchison -760-753-8689; Robert Perine -760-436-1140
When Rico Lebrun arrived to teach at Chouinard in 1939, he still had traces of his hot-blooded Italian/European roots. No one in sleepy California knows anything about art, he probably reasoned, and this arrogance showed up right away in his classes, where he told promising students they shouldn’t study with anyone but him. Mrs.chouinard quickly tired of this attitude, so Lebrun went off to work for Disney for a while. Later, he found himself teaching at Herb Jepson’s school nearby, where he stayed until that school folded up in the early 1950s. This drawing,dated 1952, was done during that period. it will be in our july show at Boehm Gallery.
Gabrielson’s Glossary Of Art Terms
Diptych: Somebody who gets a grant from the same outfit twice.
Docent: A rich lady with time off for art.
Easel: A device to hold a blank canvas up to an empty mind.
Effusive: Praise so intense you can stand it all day long.
Embouchare: The form lips take when they are about to kiss ass.
Embrace: At art openings, a hugging gesture best performed wthout lethal weapons.
Existential: A marvelous semantic invention allowing anything to mean anything or nothing at the same time,giving an artist or a wodslinger fantastic leeway in describing art.
Flop: A show so bad people can’t get it up to even put its down.
Gallery: A white room where expectations meet reality.
Gallery Person: An underpaid sitter who with no com-assion fends off galleryless artists with no compassion, Practices a great stone face and has an attitude.
CHOUINARD: Past and Future
I still chuckle when I think about what a history buff I’ve become in the last couple of years. Guess I can thank Perine for that.
See, I come from a generation that s eemed to be cut loose from any logical stream connected to a potentially rich and useful past. We just didn’t really care. We were the de- evolution of the hippie, rebellious, for sure, and inexplicably pissed off. To see this rebellion in its extreme, go rent Penelope Spheeris’s film “The decline of Western Civilization” some time. It documents the late 1970s L.A. punk scene for visual and sonic reference.
I’m not a sociologist just an interested observer, but I’m beginning to believe that the same social axe that fell during the 70s and contributed to white middle class youth anarchy was a reflection of the philosophical axe that fell on Chouinard a few years earlier. The war cry seemed to be “X %!Z#” everything that came before – none of it applies!
Out of this seemed to emerge educational philosophies that may or may not have worked. In one university art class on creativity the “professor” wanted to take psillocibin mushrooms in order that we could explore our “creative potential.” Another teacher shunned hard won drawing skills, saying “we don’t care about that here.” Obviously, the question “what the hell do you care about?” emerged rather quickly.
Much to my parent’s dismay, I dumped my fine arts scholarship on the table after two years, shaking my head in disgust, yet some twenty years later, remain perhaps the only fine artist from my college class of 50 – so go figure. Thinking back, there didn’t seem to be any connection to what was being taught and the pertinence of what came before. I remember getting an F on a report I did on Pop Art (which I liked) because the “professor” felt that I bought into the “Warhol/Pop propaganda machine.” Of course my own consciousness was steeped in the same attitude, so victimhood doesn’t work either.
So now that I’m basically grown up, have a job, sell my art, have kids, etc., I’m observing something rather interesting: My kids and I listen to the same music. We skateboard and snowboard together. Hanging out with them, and their friends, I can see that they’re very cool, very hip in their musical and esthetic sensibilities – and they actually think things from the past are cool. There is an interest and respect for “old school”! Maybe there’s even something to derive from it! What a concept!
This doesn’t mean that a younger generation bows or should bow to the past with some blind, holy homage to pay (this didn’t happen at Chouinard – witness the feuding and foment between departments). No. It just means that as they become artists they will find their own voice and develop their own esthetic grammar more thoroughly and actually contribute more heavily as artists if they understand what came before and where they fit in – the artists, movements, shifts, and turns in the California art scene that ultimately led to where they now sit. And therein may lie the future and possible importance of what we are doing with the Chouinard Foundation . . . with our shows (particularly the July museum show) and efforts to preserve and display the significance of Chouinard’s convoluted yet storied past, we can more easily build a foundation dedicated to a valid esthetic future.
Kramer and Reep, Disagreement Experts Here’s one special class session that remains in my Chouinard memory: Harold Karmer was just finishing his famous “Flesh paint” speech (the one where some student would always bring a tube of paint to class from Leslies with the infamous label :”Flesh” on it). Kramer sees it and starts to glow red (crimson) and purple (rose madder), brimstone and smoke coming from his cigar. He proceeds to yell and scream that “flesh cannot be a premixed color. It certainly isn’t this ghastly pink!” This tirade usually lasted the rest of the class, bringing the student in question to tears and the rest of us, who for some unknown reason mixed blue, yellow, sienna, umber, and stuff to render skin correctly, were glad to have the illusion that we were artists.
At this point Ed Reep came into the class in a plaid shirt and a big grin. He moved next to Kramer and they began to argue, something about “hack artist,” World War Two, Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, and unfulfilled dreams. Whatever it was, it was the last time they saw each other. This escalated to full out swearing and threatening gestures, followed by an invitation from Kramer to “take it outside.”
Remember that Kramer’s class was in the Annex, a red brick building on the corner (this was the place that caught fire early one morning and killed a wonderful old woman who was the receptionist, but that’s another story). There was a small parking lot in front of the annex with an alley beside it running down to Alvarado. Kramer and Reep, still yelling at each other, left the annex and when they reached a space between two parked cars they proceeded to swing away at each other. Everyone from the illustration class, the animation class, the photo lab, the design class, and the basement materials & methods class flowed out to see this ruckus. Students were yelling taunts at them, like “hit him!” “beat the shit out of him,” and “don’t let him get up – kick him!” Reep and Kramer, by now, looked tired (both being out of shape). Reep got Kramer in a headlock and Kramer was trying to punch Reep’s stomach. They fell to the ground and were rolling over each other. Then the building maintenance supervisor jumped in and pulled them apart. The disappointed rooters booed a little and then went back to class. Kramer and Reep must have been great friends. – Rick Kjarsgaard
I started at Chouinard around 1953.1 was on the Korean War G.I. Bill. I had been at Art Center before being drafted in 1951, but Art Center wouldn’t give me credit for the time I’d spent there so I went to Chouinard. It was a shorter drive. Lucky for me that I was so crazy, for the school became for me an unexpected and long-lasting influence. Although I was not aware of it at the time, Chouinard was not training me to be an artist, they were educating me.
Don Graham’s class appealed to me because he had such a different approach to drawing. “Stop making life drawings/’ he would say, “make pictures.” “Stop drawing all that anatomy, it’s getting in your way.” “Open it up!” he would tell us and that was the unspoken school motto at the time – Open it up!
Right away Chouinard let me know that it was not the easy vocation I thought it would be. Instead, it was total confusion. “Listen, sonny, if it was easy everybody would be doing it,” Graham told me.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to fall in love with him. After all these years his words are still with me.
Long after I left Chouinard a celebratory party was arranged for Don Graham at the Masker’s Club in Hollywood. There was a big crowd, including many from the animation studios. Near the end of the evening everyone stood to cheer him. I thought, thank God we were all able to let him know how much we appreciated him, but I hadn’t adequate words and soon he was surrounded by admirers shaking his hand and patting him on the back. Don, I think, was very shy.
Soon after this event Graham retired to Friday Island and Nelbert’s Baby became CalArts
A special thanks to Nancy Cartzvright — a sponsor of the Chouinard Foundation and good friend of Dave’s –for plugging the Foundation in her recent book.
Donors to the Chouinard cause: La Dorna Eichenberg John C. Hench Lou Paleno Natalie Rhodes Rex Brandt Robert Mason Don Birrell Nancy Cartvvright Sam Clayberger CamiHe Abbott James Bagley Donald Ellison Anahid Sultanian Vance Gerrv Nobuyuk Hadeishi James Hawkins Elaine Owen Nola Perla Kim Weed John Yamakoshi James Aitchison Roger Armstrong Lionel Banks Charles Boyer David Brain Ruth Britton
Mary Carlton Jean Charie Jim Childs Jack Chipman Timothy Clark William Corkett Robert Cormack Laddie John Dill Ed Flynn Ann & John Foti William Gault Roberta Griffith Fred Hammersley Corinne Hartley Patricia Howard Billie Ignaticv Robert lnman Jane Krensky Jean Klafs Hirokazu Kosaka William Lambert Bob Lindborg Jeanne Madden Jan Magdaleno James McElmell Mary McEvoy Leo Monahan Ed Reep Paul Ruscha Ruth Salyer Clarence Sato Anne Siberell Neal Springer William Stout
Joanne Surasky Sally Tippman Peggy Tourje Marjory Tourje John Vidnic Bernard Wolff Allan Woodhull Steven Wright Alan Zaslove Bardy Anderson John Barnard Darline Coon Katharine Coze Dorothy Harris Laurel Mannen Bruce McCurdy Ed Mix Peal Negrette Marianne Sontag
We welcome donations from all art activists, not just Chouinard alumni.
Our admiration for, and thanks to, Glen Duncan of the South Pasadena Cultural Heritage Commission and Heritage Coalition of Southern California. Glen’s hard work and interest in the Chouinard House and Chouinard legacy was instrumental in the rapid land marking of the House.
We were sorry to learn of the passing of Emerich Nicholson (’31 -’32) who died recently at the age of 86 in Hawaii. After leaving Chouinard he went to Yale and became involved in architecture and mural painting. He worked for Walter Teague and Russel Wright, was an art director at Paramount, and displayed his special Enforta Glass pieces at Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in L.A. A mural of his can still be enjoyed in the Vacaville, California post office. We just learned of the death of A1 Cruse (1999). A1 was dean at Chouinard in the 1960s and well-liked bv students. He also helped make our 1993 reunion a success.
We’d like to hear your story! We’re also searching Chouinard memorabilia! Pardon our French, but we also need your francs!
The first “art” began with a human mark, probably that Aboriginal hand print on an Australian cliff. A few thousand years later art-makers discovered how to blow liquid ochre through a reed for unusual shading effects. During those intervening millennia a simple stick was also useful. Since then, drawing has been a fundamental way to describe our world of images and ideas, and the use of a stick is still a rudimentary challenge. A youthful Don Graham (above) scratched on the sidewalk to show 1920s Chouinard students how line could define form. Some 35 years later John Altoon enlarged the human figure with a stick on the beach at Playa del Rey. Students may remember Neil Fujita and Mike Kanemitsu employing a bamboo stick dipped in ink to achieve a certain line they liked. Mrs. Chouinard was convinced that drawing was so elemental that she pushed everyone to take plenty of life classes with Graham, Jepson, Beetz, Cross, Lebrun, Jarvais, herself, and the other Chouinard regulars who under-pinned basic curricula. Actually, “life” drawing is a kind of metaphor for the lives we’re engaged in, and how we experience and express those lives is often captured in a simple linear image … or a cluster of choice printed words . .. or a heartfelt tune on a set of reeds.
So take a look in that portfolio of drawings you have and send us something with schtick. We’ll publish it.
GRAND VIEW Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030) Phone/Fax: 626-403-5963
Monthly Chouinard meetings at chouinard House are set for saturday at 10.30 am – July 14, August 4, September 1, October 6, November 3, and December 1. All are welcome.
The Paper Sculpture of Leo Monahan Art Academy of L.A., Sunday, October 7 – Sunday,Nov 4.
Chouinard was already known to attract the offspring of movie stars(Spencer Tracy’s son, John; Gary Cooper’s daughter, Maria) when comedian Ben Blue’s son, Robert, appeared at the Grand View school to further his art career.
Robert Blue (’69) tragically passed away in 1998 at age 50,an energetic and promising artist who was already riding the wave of success over fifty one-person shows, big success in Japan, and recognized for his sophisticated portrayals of women. It is fitting, therefore, that the Foundation host his work at the Academy, the budding school where he taught for several years, sharing his wisdom and skills in the Chouinard tradition. Opening:Sunday, July 8
Driving east onWilshire I was struck by the somewhat desolate view of the fenced off and abondoned OtisParsons building sitting empty and without activity. Passing by, I wondered what would become of it as it now awaits an uncertain tenancy. Continuing east, I noticed the intense creation occuring to rehabilitate the lakes and park ares of the MacArthur Park area in response to the construction of the Metro Rail line undoubtedly due to bring it’s pursuant masses. As i drove between the two lakes i looked to my right and saw the old Chouinard building in the distance on Grand View ( painted a greenish color). It had a sense of repose, sleeping perhaps , as Nob Hadeishi would later muse, with a quality of potential awakening.
That awakening will most likely come in the form of an awakened consciousness regarding the tremendous impact Chouinard has had, and is continuing to have, on Los Angeles art and far beyond, the impact of which has been felt by virtually every development in visual art to extend from Los Angeles during the school’s 50+ year run from 1921-1972. Though Chouinard closed in 1972, the artist, of course, continue to produce.
It is this that we are celebrating in our upcoming show the good works of everyone from Ruscha and everyone in between , whether living or not ,well known or not. This show is about the art made, but perhaps more importantly, the art still being made. And it’s about Nelbert Chouinard’s dynamic creation that continues to influence, whether in the classroom or international art stage.
This show is the culmination of a massive effort under taken by people with professions and family to tend to, for no pay or promise other than their belief in, and support of, the purpose at hand: to restore the nearly forgetten legacy of a great woman and her school, the Chouinard Art Institute . Our plans for future shows will further that purpose we continue to explore Chouinard’s tremendous influence not only in the “fine” art arena but that of the “applied” arts: animation, design, advertising, illustration, and fashion,and it is for the support of this purpose that we thank you, our contributors, for your continued help in this endeavor.
Please accept out invitation to visit this quality show and thus support it, and please feel free to pass on any suggestions you may have for the future.
– Dave Tourje
In response to our last issue of Grand View (“In Memorium”) Don Birrell (’50) of Vacaville sent these two images. He writes: “In your last Chouinard bulletin I read the notice about the passing of Emerich Nicholson and reference to his mural in the Vacaville Post Office. We have all enjoyed the mural over the years and I thought you might like to see a copy of it. I was surprised to note that he was a former Chouinard student before entering the PWA project.” Below: Bin-ell’s giclee print entitled “Vacaville’s Old Rocky/’ assures us that although he retired as chief designer at Vacaville’s famous Nut Tree in 1993, he’s still nurturing his creative obsessions.
From Mark Miller, founder of the Museum for Preservation of Illustrative Art (in Marlboro, New York), we read, in part:
“I left my studies as an art student at the University of Oklahoma when Madame Chouinard accepted me as an intern for my first year. Shortly afterward Pruett Carter invited me into his classes and encouraged me to focus on magazine illustration as a career ambition. He also made it possible for his students to meet and enjoy the advice and comments of other illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, John LaGatta, A1 Parker, and many other illustrators and art directors of that period. While still attending Pruett’s night class I got my first paid job when 20th Century Fox hired me to design the male costumes for “The Black Swan.” That sort of work lasted until the War began. After WW2 I went back to Fox and Chouinard for a few more years, but then I decided to try to break into advertising and “boy-girl” magazines such as McCall’s, Good I lousekeeping, Saturday Evening Post, etc. In New York I was first invited to join the Harry Watts Studios in the early 50s, then later to the Cooper Studios. Both of these provided good studio space and didn’t require commissions on work done for editorial communications.
“By the last of the 50s, and early 60s, magazine “story” work in the U.S. was thinning, so I visited a few European magazine editors in France, England, and Germany and found a good market for my work. 1 eventually moved there – first England, then France.”
When Miller came home to give his kids an Americam education he settled on his Hudson Valley farm and began growing grapes brought from Europe. Today he runs his museum and tends his vineyards, namely the Benmarl Winery in Marlboro, N.Y.. Why not chat him up with a little wine/art talk: firstname.lastname@example.org
KRAMER”S KLASSROOM KWOTES “Don’t draw what you see. Draw what you prefer to see.””Think of anatomy as an emotional statement rather than a measured statement.” “When you see a change in form, look for a change in value -some damn thing has to happen.”
The editor of Grand View wishes to express apologies to Ed Reep for the “fisticuffs” story in the last issue of Grand View. Writes Reep in a recent letter: “Nothing in the article makes sense and is total fabrication. Kramer and I visited one another’s classrooms constantly and had fun doing it. We not only respected one another as teachers but as artists as well. The alleged brawl and every bizarre detail surrounding it is silly, foolish, and any thoughtful person should instantly be able to see through it … to me it’s pure character assassination, both Kramer’s and mine … no teacher in his right mind would do such a thing.”
Another Chouinardian adds a second correction: “The annex did not catch fire .. . the John Robert Powers building did. And killed Ruth Marie Judge.
Harold Kramer relaxes at the last post-graduation ceremony and dinner held in the Chouinard building – June of 1969.
Ghoul: Fellow you know from art school who shows up ten years later at your big opening and says you stole everything from him.
Half Life: Along with no life, the perception that art is only to be understood within its social life.
Harmony: Dealer and writer agree on a price for writing gushy coffee table book about an artist in the gallery.
Hindsight: Re -dating your paintings back in time.
Iconoclasts: Guys (academe) who speak up before they get tenure.
Illusionism: Artists waiting to get paid for a sale six months ago.
Jury Rigged: A continual suspicion of the NEA peer-review process.
Justification: What you include in a grant proposal that must really lighten up their meetings.
Key Money: Money you pay when moving into a loft for improvements that still need improving.
Over thirty years ago, not only in Los Angeles, but the entire art world lost one of its leading institutions the houinard Art School. Abandoned and closed forever, this seemingly permanent fixture in the American art community (1921-1972) was all but intentionally buried and forgotten … that is, until now.
Dedicated to not only preserving this rich history, Chouinard alumni have once again come together to make a statement relevent to today. Firstly, we are the heirs of the original Chouinard Art School not to be confused with the later California Institute of the Arts. Our long term goal is not only perpetuating Nelbert Chouinard’s dream, but the creation of a permanent home for anyone interested in the arts.
To that end, The Chouinard Foundation (a non-profit organization) is already preserving our legacy through the acquisition of memorabilia from the school, as well as donated collections from both faculty and alumni both living and deceased. Another success story is the Foundation’s Chouinard Art Series ongoing retrospective exhibitions of our many distinguished alumni and former faculty members. Disciplines taught such as ceramics, film, fashion, illustration, design, etc. are being presented to the public showcasing those contributions to the family of arts. Lastly, the Foundation Scholarship Fund has been created as well as a home page on the internet
What a beginning! However, only active participation can insure success in this endeavor, for such goals always come at a price. Like the Chouinard Reunion held in 1993, the current undertaking is being financed out of our own pockets and by those of you who are stepping up with your tax free contributions and joining The Chouinard Foun dation (see any issue of Grand View for further information).
Your Chouinard Foundation meets regularly on the first Saturday of every month at Mrs. Chouinard’s old home in South Pasadena (declared a Cultural Heritage Landmark by the City Council). Come join us there. We also need your help in locating our lost alumni, for since the reunion, many of our fellows have either moved or died. Also, there are many more alumni and friends out there who have never been located. So, get involved by volunteering to help us make this dream come true.
This is our common legacy. Nelbert Chouinard would heartily approve, for she loved a good show!
We’d like to hear your story! We’re also searching Chouinard memorabilia! Pardon our French, but we also need your francs!
•GRAND VIEW* Published by the Chouinard Foundation/1114 Garfield Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030) Phone/Fax: 626-403-5963
Now that the two month show, “CHOUINARD: A Living Legacy” has been retired, we are sorting out reactions from viewers and media alike. Opening night (afternoon and evening) saw a large crowd of Chouinard alumni and their friends and families flowing through the three venues in north San Diego County Oceanside Museum of Art, the Kruglak Gallery at Mira Costa College, and the Boehm Gallery at Palomar College.
Circulating shuttle buses provided easy access and additional entertainment for artists, some of whom hadn’t seen each other since their school days at Chouinard and, following the opening, several dozen partyers assembled at a local restaurant and continued festivities well into the night.
During the next few weeks reviews cropped up in local newspapers and magazines, preceded by an indepth article on Chouinard’s history and the Chouinard Foundation by Suzanne Muchnic in the L.A. Times Calendar section.
Tom Whayne, The Publication, San Diego’s arts magazine: “The next group of artists, chronologically (call them the post war group) include John Altoon, Emerson Woelffer, and Robert Irwin Altoon, who could outdraw Billy the Kid, was the subject of a recent show at MCA, San Diego. His life was so bizarrely eventful that to this day stories about that life tend to eclipse his art. Woelffer, though his work was not far from Robert Motherwell’s, described himself as an abstract Dadaist. Once, in answer to a challenge to his Dadaist credo, he slashed one of his own works to pieces. His two collages in the Chouinard show (Oceanside venue) are masterful. Robert Irwin, who was a student at the Institute from 1951 to 1954, is, of course, one of the world’s best known artists.”
Neil Kendricks, San Diego Union: “Much of the work at the Oceanside Museum of Art on display through Sunday focuses on formal issues. Like the other sections of [the exhibition], there is no one dominant style. Rather, the show is a montage of modernist images expressed in abstract and representational paint-ings, ceramics, and sculpture.” Kendricks picked a few artists’ works he thought worthy of discussion: Corinne Hartley, Watson Cross, Ray Rich, Gary Wong, Paula Gray, Margaret Nielson, Beth Bachenheimer, Phil Paradise, and Sam Clayberger
Bill Fark, North County Times: “The philosophy, the ideals, the purpose, and belief and the dedication to art did not end with the school’s closure. Most of those graduates are among today’s most acclaimed artists who have passed on to their students the lessons
Opposite: Alexandr Archipenko’s 1925 sculpture, “Spring Torso,” was a keynote piece at the Boehm Gallery on the Palomar College campus. Collection of Gary Breitweiser. Above: “Hollywood,” a watercolor by Hardie Gramatky, 1930s, was also at Boehm, a much discussed piece that, by his peers, was called “juicy.” Collection of Gordon McClelland. Right: “Light Trap,” a 2001 welded aluminum construction by Laddie John Dill was at the Oceanside Museum of Art with the last generation of Chouinard artists. Courtesy of the artist. Below: “School Days,” by Llyn Foulkes, also at OMA. Art writer Tom Whayne describes it: ” ‘Mickey Mouse observes Old Glory’ while behind him a pair of golden arches fronts a barren landscape. The piece is vintage Foulkes. The great flag on a fat pole stuck into the ground in front of a pile of smoldering waste (each piece identifiable), the ever cheerful Mickey (if Goofy runs on with a bone it will be a human one), and the dismal environment all contribute to the impression of man made doom (What’s a mouse to do?)”
learned at chouinard. This commitment and continued interest in their alma matter was evident in the formal opening at the Oceanside Museum of Art. Museum director Skip Pahl said the event was one of the most successful ever. “We had over 600 guests, practically a Who’s Who of Southern California artist. And they weren’t the only ones; some people came from New York. It was as if we had reopened Chouinard for one night.”
All in all, we are proud of this exhibition,remembering it as a great jump start into a Chouinard future just now unfolding.
Additional Chouinard graduates continue coming forth with art works in tow and new stories to tell. The legacy is indeed being brought back to life, a long overdue final reconnection to the current art community
I would like to express my utmost thanks to all those that contributed to the incredible success of our recent show, which was expressed in numerous positive articles, from the L.A. Times to major national art magazines. Our curators, RObert Perine, JAmes Aitchison, Ed Flynn, Vivian Flynn, and Nob HAdeishi deserve enormous credit for their donations of literally thousands of hours of their time and talent in order to pull it off and maintain the needed degree of quality. As far as CHouinard goes, history was definitely made and we are receiving responses from literally all over the world.
Thanks also to the many artist and collectors that donated such great work in support of us and , in most cases, bore the expense of transport. This was truly a group event and many connections and friendship were made or rekindled as a result. It is very clear now that interest in Chouinard extends far beyond chouinard people themselves into the art world in general. Request for radio shows, film projects ,new exhibits, and donated artworks and memorabilia are now flooding, in and we will continue updating you through this bulletin, as momentum contiues. This , of course, points up the need for added expense, so your continuing donating our time and money, effort and talents to this valuable cultural endeavor.
Above: Palomar College art instructor philosophizes over Marc Davis’s painting inspired by Conrad’s novel, Mobey Dick.. Student tours at both college venues took place during the last two weeks of the Chouinard:
A Living Legacy show.
Below left: Gary Wong and costume designer Theodora van Runckle mug for Gary Krueger’s camera. Wong’s collage, “Slap Down” was a hit among his Chouinard colleagues.
Below: Nancy Cartwright, helping the Chouinard cause pro bono, joins Ed Penney’s TV crew to interview artist John Canavier. Canavier’s thir-teen foot sculpture, “Structure #5” dominated the east gallery at the Oceanside Museum of Art. A graduate in architecture from USC, John later taught Materials and Methods at Chouinard for a decade. Both of documentary producer Ed Penney’s parents went to Chouinard in the 1920s.
Upper left: Michael Maglich discusses his piece “Tonal Gradation/ A Sand Piece,” with a friend. The work contains 61 medicine droppers. Upper right: Artist Karen Wight demonstrates foi friends how to tweak her feet her bronze and glass feet, that is, objects meant to be touched. Center: Exhibition curators Robert Perine, Ed Flynn, and James Aitchison pose with Elders of the Evening, Emerson Woelffer and Ynez Johnston, who continue painting daily in their studios on Mt. Washington. Catalog essayist and former Chouinard teacher Nob Nadeishi is caught smiling at the July 7th opening. Left: Gary Krueger and videophile Ron Judkins working the Chouinard show, catching Peter Shire, Judy Stabile, and Leonard Pate.
Richards Ruben Ned JAcoby sent us this photo he shot of painter/ instructor Richards Ruben ( Chouinard, 1949-1961) painting outside his studio in the silver Lke district of Los Angeles in October of 1954. Ruben and Jacoby were fellow dtudents at Chouinard in the late 1940s and both taught there in the 1950s. Ruben, Who was influenced by Lawrence Murphy, offered sound guidence to fine art students determined to be painters. Stanley Seale
Stanley Seale’s widow, Marty, remembering Chouinard, wrote us recently from Denver, Colorado; here are excerpts from her letter, which accompanied a portfolio of Stanley’s work:
“He produced a variety of drawings, paintings, and poetry, and his personal color formula for representing the I -Ching hexagrams. He died in 1982 and we the members of his family are concerned now about the body of his work; although it is small, we feel his creations are of real worth.
“His art may be of interest to you, as Stan attended I-Chouinardl just after he ivas discharged from the service, and again in 1950. His particular interests in those days were in drawing and painting, and he had great admiration for the drawing instructor, Don Graham. He continued throughout his life to draw and also became involved in language systems, poetry, and mathematical concepts.”
One part of preserving the Chouinard legacy is accepting donated collections of the work of former Chouinard students and instructors. Inquiries like the above are encouraged as we watch our collection expand with the work of recognized professional artists, past and present, (see “From Tourje,” pg- 4
by Roger Armstrong
In 1935 1 met a man who proved to be a major catalyst in my life and career. His name was Vern Caldwell and I met him in San Diego where I was working for a major motion picture art director named Harry Oliver. I was 17 years old, a refugee from high school.
In hindsight, a series of incredible events led me to this fateful meeting. After the loss of my father in an automobile accident the year before, my Uncle Joe, acting as a surrogate dad, took me on a business trip to San Diego. The international exposition was in the planning stage and Joe had been hired to do the P.R. One day, sitting in a reception area while he was in a conference drawing in my sketchbook, a man came out of an office behind me. He passed behind the couch where I was sitting, paused, looked over my shoulder, and handed me his card. “Come see me tomorrow and I’ll give you a job,” he said. The card read Harry Oliver, had a phone number and San Diego address.
My uncle was impressed by this, and after a phone call to my mother in Sierra Madre, it was agreed that a year out of high school wouldn’t be a total disaster. When I went to see Harry the next day I accepted his job offer. It seems he needed a sketch artist to do research and do quick sketches of buildings from the gold rush days. He and his crew of technicians from MGM were recreating a replica of a gold mining town from the 1880s called “Gold Gulch.” Harry was a remarkable character who had earned the first Academy Award ever for art direction for the sets of “The Good Earth,” starring Paul Muni and Louise Reiner. He was a genius at turning brand new materials into old buildings a bombed out French village from WW1, for example, or a centuries-old Mexican town. This is what he was doing in a ravine in Balboa Park. Gold Gulch was to become a concession for the Exposition. I did research and made preliminary drawings for the architect doing the actual construction a lot of fun for a 17-year-old kid. Harry bought me a black cowboy hat and rented me a horse. I rented a room in the old Golden.
West Hotel on 3rd and Market Sts. and ate at a cafeteria around the corner. Meanwhile Uncle Joe kept an avuncular eye on me as I rode the street car every morning to Balboa Park. I miraculously stayed out of trouble and even managed to send money to my mother each week.
Among the highly talented group that Harry brought from Hollywood was Vern Caldwell, a marvelous commercial artist whose lettering talents and draftsmanship were exceptional. He designed posters and stationery for Gold Gulch, giving it the flavor of authenticity. Yet he was still able to keep up his other commercial work in L.A. by mail. Sometimes he encountered a drawing problem so, before the days of photo copying, he would send me to the library to make drawings of something special. One time he needed the exact way a Roman senator’s toga hung in place so I found it in the encyclopedia, made the drawing, and he gave me the usual $10 tip.
One day, sitting at his drawing board, he turned to me and said, “You haven’t finished high school, have you?” “No sir,” I said. He shook his head. “Too many uneducated artists in the world. You’re pretty good, but you need an education.” Pause, then, “I’m on the board of directors of an art school, Chouinard Art Institute. Ever heard of it?” “Oh my God! Heard of it? Nirvana! The ultimate goal! Oh yes,” said I, a master of understatement. “Tell y’what,” he said. “If you go back and get a high school diploma when this Gold Gulch thing is finished, I’ll give you a two year scholarship to Chouinard.” And so it came to pass. I not only finished high school but two years at PJC. I then went over to Chouinard and Vern happened to be on campus, made good his promise. 1938 and 1939 were my first happy years at Nellie’s dream school. Joe DeMers, Carl Beetz, and Dick Munsell were among my early instructors. Then followed a ten year hiatus, most of it spent drawing “Looney Tunes” and Merry Melodies” comic books for Western Publishing Co. My regular assignments were “Porky Pig” and “Sniffles and Mary Jane,” but I did a lot of “Bugs Bunny” stories as well as Disney features – “The Seven Dwarfs,” “Little Hiawatha,” and many others.
Then came the war. I was working at the Walter Lantz studio as an assistant animator when the draft board summons came and I went off to be a soldier. A lousy soldier, I might add, but long enough to earn me G.I. Bill benefits. So guess where 1 wanted to go?
At Triple A galleries in Beverly Hills I had seen a series of drawings by Richard Haines that knocked me out. He had recently been hired by Don Graham to teach at Chouinard. So I signed up for another two years. Graham, Haines, Bill Moore, Rex Brandt (the list goes on and on) were the luminaries who taught there during my golden years. At the end I inherited the “Ella Cinders” comic strip following the death of Clifford McBride. Until the early 1960s 1 drew and sometimes wrote both strips. My painting career took a back seat during the 1950s but I’ve managed to paint occasional watercolors for the last 30 years . I was director of the Laguna Beach Museum for a while and taught at the Laguna Beach School of Art, Cal State Fullerton, Pasadena City College, Orange Coast College, and so forth. All of this based on my golden years at Chouinard.
I thoroughly accepted the idea of practicing artists serving as teachers. No tenure. If a guy was unable to speak to young people about practical professional matters, we did not hire him for next year. I tried to build up the curriculum so that we could gain recognition as an accredited institution offering a reasonable introduction to the sciences and humanities. I did supervise the accreditation by the Western Schools and Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Art. I got my humanities and science instructors from off-beat places the Observatory, a best selling Botany writer, art historians who were always critics – Langsner, Coplans, myself; & of course I brought in people like Connor Everts and John Altoon to replace people like Dick Ruben and Bob Irwin who moved on. I mentioned the Professional Practices class. I always insisted that no one decide what he/she was going to do before completing the sophomore year. The first two years were supposed to give one an idea of the full range of what possibilities existed within the professional arts. I had folks come into Professional Practices who would be earning a fortune designing swim wear so that they could practice painting as their real vocation. I tried to introduce the students to the idea that they would have to sell if they were to have the time in their studios and so had gallery keepers, critics, curators, accountants, and lawyers talk to them about their rights and privileges and responsibilities (one of which was to build a life).
– Excerpt from a letter from Gerald Nordland, June 2001
Chouinard changed my life! I never made the big leagues but the Chouinard experience gave me a solid career in Industrial Design that I could never have hoped for without that experience.
Reading the superb catalog for the show brought back a Mood of memories of those wonderful, hard working times with teachers who gave more than they received and a spirit I had never before tasted.
So it was a surprise to find out how emotional I am when 1 found myself laying the catalog down and just weeping. My sadness was for those beautiful experiences that helped me and many others grow up. Then the longer range picture kicked in and I realized my nostalgia was only a part of a larger and longer period of achievement, of blossoming and blooming by so very many graduates all over the world.
It’s obvious that the seeds planted at Chouinard have matured and are re seeding ongoing beacons of art every where and the blockbuster show that the Foundation achieved pulls back the screen on that continuing performance.
Congratulations for a wonderful show and catalog and may the spirit of Chouinard continue long after we’re gone. -Bob Mason
Gabrielson’s Glossary of Art Terms
Kinetic: An art movement that is over too fast to write about. Landlord: Voracious bully who resents your existence while you pay him money for a space no one else wants. Loft: The place of dreams which can look better than anything you can ever do in it.
Magic: A brilliant piece of art that overcomes your incompetence. Madder: (a) a strange color, and (b) what you get as you get older and as successful people get younger. Mobocracy: The whole damn art world when money gets hooked up to a temporary passion. Moribund: State of your career when you fall out of twenty or more Rolodexes. Movement, Art: Two artists and a friend who writes for the magazines. Neurotic: A state of mind where you might get sick enough to produce something interesting. Paint: A liquid, viscous material with such power it transcends time, people, and influence. It has the capacity to ruin all your clothes too.
If you were a Chouinard student any time between 1925 and 1972 you probably ran into drazving teacher Don Graham and/or Watson Cross, the backbone of the fine arts department. Thanks to Watson’s daughter Cathy – and a former student from japan – these old photos recently fell into our hands. While Cross main- I tained that stern, critical eye we initially feared, it I hardly represented his marshmallow interior. Graham, doing his soft shoe routine, gently waxes eloquent about basic composition, a subject he never tired of exploring. Below: The two together at Chouinard’s 1969 graduation
Four person show in the Southwestern College Gallery, October 11 – November 1. Reception 5:30 – 7:30. Other artists: Leslie Nemour, Robert Moses, and Ruiz.
ED BEREAL & ED FLYNN Faculty exhibition, Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellmgham, WA. January 7 – 31, 2002
JOE GOODE Upcoming solo show, Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach. Opening December 8, 2001
RAUL GUERRERO Solo show, Cerritos College Art Gallery, 11110 Alondra Blvd., Nonualk, Sept. 25 – October 18 / Reception 9-25, 6:00-8:00.
MICHAEL MAGLICH Upcoming solo show, Craig Krull Gallery, Bergmont Station, Santa Monica, April, 2002
MARGARET NIELSEN Mosaic installation on the Garfield Fountain, Paseo Colorado, Pasadena. Opening, September 28, 2001
ED REEP Solo show at The Jill Thayer Galleries, Bakersfield, 1700 – 20th St.. Reception, 7:00 – 9:00. Sept. 29 – Nov. 30, 2001
Management, Movement, and Money: If you haven’t already received a letter from us asking for financial assistance, you soon will. 2001 was a big year for our 3-year old foundation, creating a new face for Chouinard, a major step in preserving the school’ and its founder’s legacy, an objective that has received a lot of enthusiasm but not the financial support we had hoped would come. It is important to realize that we have just begun. We need your help in these early stages. Because of your vigorous support in mounting a superb museum exhibition last July-August, the public has taken notice. We are already building a pattern of success as an institution and would like to continue informing the art culture of the region that Chouinard was a decisive force in the forming of that culture, even beyond California. By reconnecting to recent history we make a point: that good schools and good art do not die, but last indefinitely as part of our heritage. We sense that many of you have wanted to send money but simply haven’t gotten around to it. Now is the time. Our advisory commit-tee has created a long list of fabulous projects, many of which we are presently working on. But what we have discovered is that ideas are cheap and plentiful while execution remains expensive. Also note that, so far, all of us are working for free and the money we receive from you goes directly into projects. We want to thank the new members of our advisory commit¬tee for their support, ideas, and use of their names in backing future projects: lames Aitchison Vivian Flynn Bob Mason Chuck Arnoldi Uyn Foulkes Leo Monahan Ralph Bacerra Mala Frank-Gavin Gerald Nordland Larry Bell Neil Fujita Lou Paleno Ed Bereal joe Goode Ed Ruscha John Canavier Nob Hadeishi Jill Sattler Sam Clayberger Paula Gray Peter Shire Alice Davis Raul Guerrero Judy Stabile Guy Dill Fred Hammersley Theodora i>an Runckle Laddie lohn Dill Otto Heino Karen Witfht Debbie Doolittle Ned /acoby Emerson Woelffer Connor Everts Ynez Johnston Gary Wong Ed Flynn Karen Laurence
Planning meetings are still being held on the first Saturday of ever)’ month at the Chouinard House – 1114 Garfield Ave., South Pasadena – 10:30 am. Think seriously about volunteering a piece of your time for a worthy cause, or simply come by and be counted. Much can be said for the artist truly committed to the art-making process; who steadfastly adheres to important prin¬ciples concerning his art and remains aloof to the maelstrom of hype and commerce generally surrounding this occupation known as “artist.” This is a path that undoubtedly more would love to strictly follow, yet due to the usual pressures of finance, demand, and survival requirements, cannot always take that risk. This is the narrow path of Gary Wong.
Wong was born in Oakland, California and grew up in Los Angeles, a fourth generation Chinese-American.”I moved to L.A. when I was about four. I grew up at 21st and San Pedro, Central Ave., around in there … before freeways. 21st is known in the Chinese community as one of the first kind of “suburbs” outside of Chinatown. It was a pretty racially mixed street.”
Wong’s hard-won individualism is to be admired. In the 60’s, like many young artists, he operated beneath the tall shadows still cast by the major art status quo of the 50’s – Abstract Expressionism. “I fell in love with the stuff in art school (Chouinard). You can’t help it, you know. I had Kanemitsu. I had Woelffer. Cats from the old school that had lineage to the New York School.” He adds ” I spent a good twenty years paint¬ing this notion of painting . . . eventually I felt like I’d painted myself into a corner.” Though his relationship with this dominant style would turn from active participant to philosophic demolition man, he remains loyal to his early influences and what he gained from his experience under his teachers at Chouinard. “Kanemitsu was like my link to having a lineage because he was Asian- American, born in America. He hung out at the Cedar Bar, you know, he was like second or third generation New York. So I was really taken by that. Me and Mike had dialogue, long dia¬logue, and when he died something happened to me aestheti¬cally. What it was was symbolically, Mike had died. He was my hookup to the American Abstract painting lineage and in AE I felt there was nothing left for me to do. I was trying to free myself up to find another way to make art that was not as intel¬lectually needy.” As regards Emerson Woelffer, Wong remains appreciative. “I’ve always looked at Emerson as a Dadaist. He does what he wants but doesn’t get the credit he deserves – why is he wasting his time trying to teach a bunch of knuckleheads? But what I got from Emerson was understanding and respecting him as a person and an artist that was a Dadaist. Because I was into Dada. He was the living embodiment of it… he had that European thing about him. He instilled so many modes of thinking in my head, you know, just by him being him.”
About Chouinard Wong remembers “There at Chouinard was another aesthetic awakening … a moment. . .an extended moment over a period of three or four years of observing and studying and being with and around people like Woelffer who, you know, just piqued that interest in me enough to say, well, you know, he’s committed to it – maybe I can be committed to it.”
And there is his singular memory of Nelbert Chouinard. “During the Chouinard / Cal Arts transition everybody was up in arms. During the heat of it all, Mrs. Chouinard came down to the school and assured the students and faculty that as long as she was alive, there would always be a Chouinard Art Institute. She came down very queen-like. It was her baby, man.” Philosophic art-freedom began to fully manifest for Wong in the late 70s, hastened when he befriended a fast rising art star named Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat had just arrived on the West Coast, showing at Gagosian’s gallery in Venice. Wong, for a day gig, did art cartage for many artists, including Basquiat. “I struck up a friendship with Jean-Michel and we kicked it around for awhile. I was able to see first hand what was happening to him with the gallery scene. At the time, he was still free and not tied up into having to produce a lot. He still had his aesthetic intact. So I took him quite seriously like, you know, ‘this kid is really saying something”.
This impacted Wong and helped provide a window through which he saw an aspect of his own aesthetic future. “I was affected by his use of words, his use of images, his use of found objects. To me, it was a very Dada thing.” And this, among many influences, has contributed to Wong’s unique artistic statement. He paints on found paintings, makes col¬lages mixed with primitive, visceral imagery, with abstract poetry scratched into the surface. The result: a simple, pow¬erful, cryptic message.
Today, Wong remains resolute in his direction. “Knowing what you don’t want carries as much weight as knowing what you do want.” And with this, Gary Wong has achieved artistic freedom with a very broad range of sublime influences from his early experience through his recent inter¬est in Chinese Brush Painting. The foundation underlying direction is the observation of the everything. “You know, l”m not an entertainer, I”m not interested in hype. I’m just a picture maker.”
And Gary Wong has found truth in the process. “There at Chouinard ivas an aesthetic awakening … a moment… an extended moment over a period of three or four years of observing and studying and being with and around people like Woelffer who, you know, just piqued that interest in me enough to say, well, he’s committed to it.. . maybe I can be committed to it.”
(In the last issue of Grand View, under “Top Drawer” we featured photos of two of Chouinard’s legendary drawing teachers – Don Graham and Watson Cross. The following story – told by Cross to his son-in-law, Bill Ohanesian – came to us recently. Ohanesian calls his father-in-law Wat.”)
Sometime in the early 1960s, in one of Wat’s drawing classes, one of his more beatnicky-appearing students just did¬n’t seem to have the slightest interest in drawing. Missed class¬es, didn’t do homework assignments, put out sub-minimal effort when he attended … the usual slacking. At one point, when it was fairly clear that Terry was heading for a flunk-out, Wat sat down to talk to him. Terry said he just didn’t like drawing and really didn’t care if he could draw or not. Telling that to someone who thought drawing was on a par with speaking, caused Wat to feel indignation boiling inside. It was like telling a motorcycle cop that the rules of the road didn’t apply because they were boring. Wat tried to keep his cool and asked how Terry planned to complete the semester. This was a foundation class, during which a large project was due at the end of the semester. What was he planning to do for it?
“I dunno,” was the answer. After a few dead-ends, Wat finally insisted that Terry do something or be flunked. Was there anything he would want to do? Probably in defiance, that he would never get away with it, he piped up. “I wanna make a film!” Again Wat felt his blood boiling. This was not a film class. “A film, huh? What kind of film?”
At this point Wat felt he had the advantage, the better poker hand. “Okay, I’ll tell you what; I’ll excuse you from the remainder of the class (a useless presence anyway) and let you make a film for your final project. BUT, your entire class grade will ride on your film. The class will decide if it is worth your missing all the studio work they had to complete. Okay?”
“Okay. I guess so. As Terry sheepishly departed, Wat had no idea if he’d ever see him again. And he didn’t – until the end of the semester.
On that final day, a bleary-eyed Terry straggled in late, passing the rows of student projects and portfolios with his scraggly little roll of 8 mm film. The skeptical class waited while he threaded the rickety projector, pulled up a screen, and darkened the room. His movie began … a combination of animated cut-out shapes and hand-drawn forms and characters. In a nutshell, the class loved the film and went wild. They insisted on seeing it again, then again. Terry had clearly worked his ass off and come up with an imaginative, fun project, winning everyone over, particularly the teacher.
Afterwards they talked. Wat asked him what he was planning to do next and Terry said he wasn’t sure if the school was behind him and that he was thinking of going to London, “where things are happening.” Still the aimless slacker, still unsure. Wat told him he had a lot of talent that he should put to use, then wished him luck. Terry Gillian did eventually end up in London. By virtue of fate (and Wat’s good luck wish) he picked the right pub on the right night and hooked up with five little-known comedians who called themselves Monty Python and who had a deal for a weekly television series. Terry Gillian’s outrageous, absurdist cut-out animations for that series were to become legend. He has since graduated to major films like “Brazil,” “Fisher King,” and “12 Monkeys.”
What was forever proud of that story. By allowing and challenging a directionless student to excel at something of his own choosing was, to Wat, the spark that gave Gilliam confi¬dence in his abilities, an important part of the essence of the Chouinard experience. – Bill Ohanesian
CHOUINARD HOUSE BECOMES A FLEXIBLE VENL FOR ART
Even before the Chouinard House restoration was nearing completior a year or more ago, it was becomin the repository for much good art – some loaned, some donated, a place former Chouinardians are pleased to hang their work. Here’s a small cross section of images that Dave Tourje and his family enjoy on a daily basis and which you will see zohen you visit.
Exhibitors include : Nelbert Chouinard Sam Clayberger Marc Davis LaDorna Larson Eichenberg Connor Everts Ed Flynn Mala Frank-Gavin Don Graham Richard Haines Nob Hadeishi Fred Hammerslcy Corinne Hartley Roger Hollenbeck Alex Ignatiev Ynez Johnston Herb Jepson Harold Kramer Nola Peria Robert Perine, Ed Reep Sam Sunasky Elin Waite Emerson Woelffer Gary Wong
Others have offered to bring works when the time comes to be included. A Response to “CHOUINARD: An Art Vision Betrayed” 24 August, 2001
I received the Chouinard packet today and after several hours with it, I am hastening to respond. I am impressed with the catalog of the recent show, and want to congratulate you and all of those involved in making such a handsome and professional production.
The Robert Perine book is a revelation to me and I am very pleased that you have sent it. I had heard about the book for some years from Richards Ruben, who I regularly visited on trips to New York. He extolled the book and told me I had to obtain a copy, but involved as I always was in multiple projects, it never happened. I have scanned the whole book and read chapters 7, 8, and 9 eagerly. I will get to it when time permits. It is an enterprising effort. I regret that I could not have helped with it. I was only at Chouinard for four years – June 1960 to July 1964. 1 left to assume the directorship of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art (D.C.), and then to the San Francisco Museum of Art (now SFMOMA) in September 1966. I did hire Connor Everts to create a complete graphics lab, adding woodcut, monotype, and lithography, to the active etching and drypoint program. I asked Connor to cover for John Altoon in evening school drawing, when he was having some problems, and he continued to teach drawing in day school. I brought Edmund Teske in to establish a photography program, and it was continued by Alex Hovsepian. I also talked Woelffer into conducting a sculpture course and hired Richard Hunt to come from Chicago to lead it the second year. I had planned on a museum career and chose to leave my very satisfying work at Chouinard to go to Washington.
One story that did not get told in Perine was the effort by the L.A. Police and City Council to license nude models. I led the effort to defeat it, with token support from U.S.C., U.C.L.A, Art Center School, and Otis Art Institute. The council and cops presumed that every nude model was really a prostitute. It took a lot of time, but I felt it was worth it, and I documented it in Frontier Magazine (“Art: Newd= Lewd?”), December 1962.
Thanks again for the packet. 1 am reading it with anxious interest. Good work!
Gerald Nordland Catalogue Raisonne, The Works of Richard Diebenkorn Gabrielson’s Glossary of Art Terms Party Artist: Being the only one at a social affair and having to suffer everyone else’s “My Aunt Mary who also paints” story. Passionate: Look you give to someone buying your art. Possibility: An idea that the next day doesn’t survive the drinks that spawned it. Preconceptual: Brilliant art idea proposed by Dr. Ed Wortz, a quarkian impulse before something becomes conceptual, so elusive it can never be seen, described, or documented. Procrastinate: Normal studio attitude guaranteed to get you past the morning before guilt and fear take over. Professor: (Academe) God for 50 minutes. Put down: Compliments artists give to each other. Realism: Balancing your checkbook every month instead of just letting it go. Render: Process going on out in Cudahy where old worn-out art magazines are shredded up and made into luncheon meat.
Ex-Chouinardians continue sending news, along with interesting graphic tidbits. As the Chouinard family enlarges its scope through the Found-ation, our common interest in the art, both past and present, grows.
The NEW CHOUINARD Commits to High School Outreach Programs (At our January meeting in the Chouinard House, the topric of outreach to high schools came up, and much of the time was spent dis-cussing ways to sponsor and launch such a program. Mala Frank- Gavin and Blaze Newman, both high school teachers, got us going on the validity of bringing real, practicing artists into contact with stu¬dents wishing to know more about the realities of the art life and how current arts cultures effect them.) Students in Rowland High School’s Art Department are enthusiastically looking forward to a guest visit from Chouinardian William Stout. It is scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday; March 26th, 2002.
Stout started Chouinard on a full scholarship in the mid-1960s, later receiving his bachelor’s degree. He has done comic strips, a ward-winning graphic novels, movie posters, and books on dinosaurs of unparalleled beauty and realism. He has also published sketchbooks and collector cards. He has worked as an art director, production designer, key character designer, conceptualist, and producer.
Stouts visit to Rowland High will be the first in a series of the Chouinard Foundation’s new pilot program that hopes to be available to other schools around the southland. Chouinard artists will do workshops, lectures, and interviews. Students will visit some of the artists in their studios. Events will be videotaped to preserve and document these outreach programs for future reference, a part of enriching the Chouinard legacy. Anyone wishing to share their vision, artwork, and experience with high school students, please contact:
Mala Frank-Gavin email@example.com We are still working to establish a Chouinard registry that includes e-mail addresses as well as artist website addresses. While our own website is still in its infancy, we expect to eventually cross-link Chouinard artists to a handy network of information. Check in when you have a moment: www.chouinard foundation.com
CATALOGS AVAILABLE A comprehensive, 64-page catalog especially for the exhibition,”CHOUINARD:A Living Legency” is available through the Chouinard Foundation for $17 (includes postage) Send your check to: THE CHOUINARD FOUNDATION 1114 Garfield Ave. South Pasadena, CA 91030
TOM YAKUTIS (1929 2002) We are sorry to announce the passing of Tom Yakutis on January 25, 2002 from Tace11 lymphoma and complications of lupus. Tom served in the Army in Germany during WW2 and attended Chouinard from 1954 to 1958. He worked for Disney as a cartoonist and animator and also for every major animation studio. He received an EMMY for work on “My Mommy’s Going to Have a Baby” while at DePatie Freleng. He had been actively supporting the Chouinard Foundation.
Your good wishes and moral support have been fabulous!Your financial support will complete the picture!
I’d like to help:
Special note: One of our objectives is to print GRAND VIEW in full color.This, of course, will require additional funds, so please consider this quality upgrade when you contribute.
Bob Lindborg (Chouinard, 1950) sent these and other photos for our perusal. Top left: The Chouinard school at Sixth and Benton way, 1948. In 1949 students moved back to the Grand View school where most of the G.I. Bill students from World War II finished up their art education and left for art careers. Top right: Ad design student Wing Fong works on an assignment in Charles Cruse’s class. Bottom left: Lindborg with Marie Wilson prior to a Chouinard bash. Lindborg did the publicity photos. Bottom right: Bill Moore shows his friend Bill Kipka an lbo ceremonial mask from his private collection. His Hollywood apartment was noted for its egg-crate wall covering. (L.A. Times, March 13, 1949)
SHOW LOG Current and recent exhibitions: Nattcy Armitage Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Pasadena Begins July 11 Ralph Bacerra and Otto Heitto Burbank Municipal Gallery, July 12 – Aug 1 Larry Bell Kiyo Higashi Gallery, Los Angeles till 7-20 Ed Boreal – Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, July 3-27 Boyd Elder Seminar, University of Texas John DeMarco Hand painted guitars at Oceanside Museum of Art, through Aug 4 Debbie Doolittle Showcase Gallery, Santa Ana Ynez Johnston Schmidt, Bingham, NY Robert Perine “Rock & Roll,” skateboards and guitars, Oceanside Museum of Art (curator) June 15 – Aug 4 Ed Ruscha Gagosian Gallery, NY Barbara Salantro Creative Arts Center, Burbank Jill Sat tier Showcase Gallery, Santa Ana Dave Tourje paintings, Oceanside Museum of Art June 15 – Aug 4 Emerson Woelffer Tobey Moss Gallery, Los Angeles Tom Wudl L.A. Louver, Venice Please log in when you have an upcoming or current show to report send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHOUINARD CENTRAL Curator Tim Anderson of the San Luis Obispo Art Center informs us that a new show, “Cultural Currents – Chouinard and the Central Coast” is scheduled to run from February 15 – March 22, 2004 at the center.
He writes: “The idea for this exhibit was inspired by the exhibition “Chouinard – A Living Legacy” which appeared in three venues in the Southland last year. At that time, many of our local San Luis Obispo County artists began to talk about the number of Chouinard graduates who live and work here on the Central Coast, and I began to conceive of a show featuring artwork done on the Central Coast by Chouinard graduates.
“This exhibition will include Chouinard artists who created art work in this region. It is not necessary for the artist to have lived here, just to have created the work here qualifies for inclusion in the exhibit. Some of the artists we will be including are: Phil Paradise, Phil Dike, Sally Tippman, John Barnard, Shirley Pittman, Merle Bassettt, and Robert Smith, just to mention a few.
“I would like assistance from the Chouinard Foundation and your membership in locating artists and art works which will fit into the theme of this exhibit. I would also be interested in letters from artists talking about the Central Coast, sketch books related to the area, and photographs which might aid in setting the context for this exhibition. We arc hoping to do a small catalog and any help to find funding for this project would be greatly appreciated.
“In closing I would like to say that in my fifteen years in the Los Angeles area working at Otis-Parsons, James Corcoran Gallery, and LACMA, it was my pleasure to work with many Chouinard artists. As the assistant to A1 Nodel at Otis, I met Emerson Woelffer and Ralph Baccera. While at the Corcoran Gallery I installed shows for Billy A1 Bengston, Joe Goode, Laddie John Dill, Chuck Arnoldi, and Ed Ruscha. I hope that these old friends and acquaintances, plus new ones that are found through the Foundation, will help make this a successful exhibit and extend the legacy of Chouinard.”
If you are interested in being included in this shozv, call Tim Anderson at the SLO Art Center – 805-543-8562 – or write him at P.O. Box 813, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406
APOLOGY: to Bob Inman for calling him “Tom” in two former issues of Grand View. The editor takes full responsibility for the goof. Doing it twice is truly inexcusable. More thorough proof-reading is a target for the near future, namely this issue. On the left is his “Chouinard Scries # 43, 40×30,2000.
JOHN DEMARCO Shown with two of his hand-painted Fender Stratocasters (below left), John DeMarco (Chouinard 1956) is one of several artists and craftspeople whose art is on display in the “Rock & Roll” exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art from June 15 through August 4. Featuring guitars and skateboards that combine art and music, and art and sports, the show is appealing to the younger crowd of art buffs. While the originators of skateboarding (the Z- Boys, etc.) and players of early Fender solidbody guitars (from Dick Dale to Jimi Hendrix) are now over half a century old, local high school kids are learning that the turbulent 60s produced more than a few creative, inventive pioneers.
A LETTER FROM BILL OHANESIAN
When I met Cathy Cross in late ’71 in the Mt. SAC Art program, I had never heard of Chouinard or the upheavals that had taken place there. When I met Watson for the first time, I couldn’t have known of the pivotal influence he had been among so many artists who were to become my heroes. After a few times at the house, one thing I knew for sure was that he was one terrific guy who could draw and paint like no one I’d ever personally met.
Over the years as I sat in on his classes at various schools, I came to learn a hell of a lot more about the man, perhaps most essentially about his ability/desire to inspire and motivate his students to achieve what they never knew they were capable of. When Wat first showed me the Chouinard book, I was actively looking for an art school to attend that would combine both my hopes of a place that was simultaneously exciting, solidly grounded, and encouraged individual ambition. Paging through An Art Vision Betrayed was like being skewered by a double edged sword: HERE was the place! And, so sadly, here WAS the place (I have since for-given my parents for my being born 10 years too late). Having the good fortune to have crossed paths with some extraordinary instructors, I realized the key to fulfillment in any classroom is a mutual driving inspiration between teacher and student. If that is what propelled Chouinard in spades, then it’s what could propel it now.
I started as an art major, then gravitated to film making, finding it as creatively stimulating as painting. I am also grateful for a traditional art studies background, which inspires me to this day. I remember how understanding Wat was of this shift in my direction (more so than my own parents) as he had begun doing multi-media video “happenings” in his 70’s and 80’s classes, which I participated in.
Having done a fair amount of teaching in the last years, I have observed firsthand the lackluster state of public school arts education, so drained of inspiration. Sometimes it’s the teacher, sometimes the students. Whatever it is in any one classroom, the arts should NEVER be boring. The mysterious alchemy of what made Chouinard CHOUINARD has always tantalized me… as much as the very real questions: Could that legendary educational chemistry gel in today’s very different world? If so, how can the vitality of Chouinard in its time and place be energized today?
When I first heard of the real possibilities of a Chouinard revival, I dreamt of a great ambition: to teach there. To apply what I learned from observing Wat to a program of video production in the new school. Like his teaching of Basic Drawing, to approach video as both an art and a craft – something that is as self expressive as it is communicative – avoiding the extremes of technical artificiality as well as esoteric incomprehensibility. I realize there is some wariness toward multi-media studies, but Chouinard’s strength was always in pioneering a cross-fertilization of creative programs, encompassing traditional, visual fine art, commercial and applied arts. “How will we teach?” is as important a question as “What will we teach?” By Wat’s example, Chouinard’s legacy was in being simultaneously responsive to its students while compelling them to achieve what they didn’t know they were capable of.
The growth range of possibilities of how a video studies program (potentially encompassing everything from multimedia to live action to animation to screen writing) excites the hell out of me and is really more suited for a whole other letter. For now, I imagine beginning modestly with fundamentals and appreciation classes and building in the direction that students seem to be inspired toward. A big part of our job will be “getting the word out.” I would want to contact the many arts and media teachers I know in the area and make presentations to the students about the new Chouinard. Maybe show some slides, stress the traditional vitality of the school… leave informational packets, etc. For the school to be so close to motivated San Gabriel Valley stu¬dents, it would be remiss of us not to start very soon. For me, the possibilities of a new Chouinard represent a hell of a lot more than the nostalgia value of reviving a beloved art school. I strongly believe it is a time for renewal in the Arts. I deplore the fact that the Art scene is both a mystery and an irrelevance to most Americans; that American movies have regressed pathetically since the 70’s, that even animation has floundered like a dead duck for the last years.
ARTIST TO ARTIST I visited your show on Tuesday and I think I’m just now exiting your “Time Machine,” though not fully, as I don’t think I have fully explored the evocations the experience brought. This is not a common art exhibit. The Time Machine struck on many levels first the “entertainment” aspect of sitting in the chair looking across at Kiyo (now with very short hair [me] talking), with us “becoming” each other, itself a powerful connotation. It goes from there, with the recognition of our own transparency against the tableau paintings in the background and the implication thereto, and further, the haunting sense of evaporation look-ing angularly across it. The experience is then carried forward in the other rooms with the white, muted window coverings casting that dusty overtone over everything. We’ve seen different artists’ efforts to address 9/11 fall down. I myself avoided it, thinking it’s too short a gestation period for me. You have succeeded in you effort, and in so doing, with the careful arrangement of your furniture and tableau, the new “Fractions” and the anecdotal irony of the cigar piece (itself bringing humor and sadness simultaneously), have elevated the potential of what a show of “paintings” can accomplish; the best thing I’ve seen in a while! Send us your reactions to fellow artists’ shows. We’ll publish!
Your good wishes and moral support have been gabulous! Your financial support will complete the picture! I’d like tohelp:
COVER STORY: THE EVOLUTION OF A MODERNIST FREDERICK HAMMERSLEY & THE HARD EDGE News from Mission Street A LaIla Tribute The Gramatkys Remembered A Half Century of Diversity: Don Birrell Neil Boyle Nelbert Chouinard Pat Dullanty Gonzolo Duran Bernard Garbutt Harper Goff Don Graham Edmund Kohn Janice Lovoos Louis Percevil Elmer Plummer Robert Alan Smith Kim Weed There’s no point in starting another art school…UNLESS… … it’s educationally unique. “It [Chouinard] does not attempt to predetermine a rigid set of academic standards and procedures to which all students must accommodate themselves with slight regard to their individual uniqueness. “… the instructor’s assignments are given in terms of responsibility for student development rather than in terms of material to be covered. It is the instructors jointly and separately, rather than the adminis¬trators, who are held responsible for the aims of the school – the creative develop metit of its students.” – Don Graham , A1 Cruse, Chouinard Art School, 1966 … it’s run by practicing artists.
“Large, vague, inclusive art departments in gargantuan colleges are doomed to various kinds of mediocrity for so many reasons it is just weary to think about it: conflicts between the bureaucracy and student-faculty needs on all levels; inability to screen students for quality; juxtaposition of aca¬demic and creative issues; unending infighting and politics and intrigue at so many levels you can’t figure out where it’s coming from next; the tenure system which rewards incom¬petence, etc., etc. “The atiswer to Kart departments’ is a con¬centrated, professional, fundamentals-loaded approach taught by experienced artists using actual problems they’ve confronted and wrestled with and can pass on. Students want this. Artists who need to survive demand it.” – Walter Gabrielson
… it’s based on student needs.
“Current art instruction at both the high school level and beyond focuses on only one of the two areas that are vital for developing artists; instruction is either enormously technical, providing students with rules and tricks OR is so open and free that it provides no guidance or direction. Either “anything goes” or nothing does! Art instruction needs to (1) support student artists in developing their individual vision as artists AND (2) provide the technical instruction that each developing artist needs to communicate her or his own vision. Technique without vision is the only thing worse than vision without technique. The first leads to the creation of meaningless, empty works; the latter leads to frustration because the student artists lack the skills to bring their visions to life.” – Blaze Newman, San Dieguito High School Academy
… it re-focuses on fundamentals. “I’ve never witnessed more panic-stricken faces than during the first week of Beginning Painting in an academic college classroom. For the most part new student painters have already been conditioned to keep their innermost ideas, thoughts, and experiences private. Facing a new white can¬vas meant exposure to a whole world of possibilities. They preferred to follow the guidelines of the “acceptable ” world. What they had yet to learn was, and is, that good paintings are first conceived inside oneself and then work their way into the world at large.” –Robert Alan Smith
… it has community support. “South Pasadena’s commercial development has been look- ing for a driving force for decades. And it may be here. The Freemont Center … the Pasadena Shakespeare Company … the Rialto Theater serving the niche of independent films…the establishment of the Chouinard School of Art will be a welcome addition to this trend.” – Harry A. Knapp, Mayor of South Pasadena… it has solid financial backing.
“At present the Chouinard Foundation core group is working pro bono because we are contributing to a valuable public trust the past, present, and future of Chouinard’s aesthetic history. The donations we receive go directly toward the goals we are pursuing, be it the quarterly bulletin, our collection, archiving Chouinard history, outfitting the school, or other future programs. We have therefore achieved a certain financial strength with relatively less money than other, more bureaucratic institutions. – Dave Tourje … it has a meaningful name. “7 had a dream and I was in this big barn and it was filled with young people; everywhere / went there were young peo¬ple and they were creating. That was the beginning of Chouinard.” – Nelbert Chouinard
The Evolution of a Modernist: Frederick Hammersley joined the Chouinard Foundation Advisory Board in late 2000, enthusiastic about the potential of our project and hopeful of it’s future. As an expression of this, he sent us several crates of artwork and art-related material, which form an intriguing historical backdrop to his much-credited contributions to American Art, the recognize. Hon of which has seemingly developed as slowly and surely as his style, one that has unfolded naturally over the last fifty or so years, led by a strong academic background and an infallible intuition.
Frederick Hammersley and the Hard Edge — Dave Tourje Hammersley was born January 5, 1919 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His father worked for the Department of the Interior and the family moved often. At one point, they resided at an Indian Reservation in Fort Hall, Idaho where he took up studies at the University of Idaho. Having trouble with conventional studies, Hammersley took to art, taking a job for $1.00 a day painting signs. “I grew up lettering. We painted signs for the theater in Pocatello. I got very good at this”. In 1939 the family moved to San Francisco where Hammersley studied advertising and designed letterheads part time. In 1940, he moved to Los Angeles: “I went to Chouinard for two years, ’41 and ’42. Then I got drafted and served in WW2 from ’42-’46. I was a draftsman and spent time in Paris, Frankfurt, and Berlin. While there I became the head of an art department. Eventually, I went back to Paris where I entered art school. I would visit Picasso and Bracque in their studios.” After the war, he returned to Los Angeles and reentered Chouinard at it’s temporary location at 6th and Benton Way, along with all the other returning GIs. It was here he settled in, completing his studies at Chouinard and then at the Jepson School nearby, pursuing his painting voice, leading him to discoveries later to be known as “Abstract Classicism,” then “West Coast Hard Edge.” Here’s our short telephone interview:
Hammersley, Roger Hollenbeck, and Mort Rabinowitz discuss a project at Jepson’s school in the 1940s.
Tourje: Who were your early influences at Chouinard? Hammersley: When I came back to Chouinard in 1946 I was curious about color. The advertising people at the time were not interested in this. Henry Lee McFee, a marvelous painter, would say “You should look at your painting through a hole in your fist. Everything should look rich.” I would do that. F. Tolles Chamberlain, a lovely old man, had a favorite pastime. It was ‘looking’. Jepson used to hate going to lunch with him because he would stop and just look at the cracks in the sidewalk. Looking is so important. I followed Jepson, a marvelous draftsman, to his school where I met Rico Lebrun. Lebrun was a rather small man with eyes like Picasso—very black. Lebrun was dynamite. He used to implore “Don’t try to make a good drawing—just tell me the fads!” Lebrun would intimidate many, including Jepson. He would say, “You never sketch, you DRAW!”
DT: Your early still lifes are beautiful. Toward the late ’40s it appears that you began breaking down form into more severe simplicities, a seemingly early approach toward ” Hard Edge.” How did academic painting integrate into this process?
FH: My academic background was the background for my “Hard Edge” or abstract work. Both are the same in that each show parts that are different yet relate to one another. This is the thing that gives pleasure in the making, and the looking, at an image—one thing is made up of many smaller units that are of one family. A plant has the advantage over a painter in that instructions within its seed can produce only one kind of flower. A painter can get into trouble by using several seeds [ideas] and get a confusing blossom. Selection—legibility, are crucial.
DT: In retrospect, given the dominant aspect of Abstract Expressionism at the time, Hard Edge seems to be an unlike-ly or parallel development. Was this investigation a singular or a collective dialogue? Was there a group consciousness at play among the Hard Edge painters?
FH: It came to me alone, by accident, and was the opposite of what was done before. Oddly enough, the idea was the same… the painting was started with one shape which I could “see” on the canvas. No other parts were made unless they were “seen” which meant that the first shape was the father of the family of shapes that followed. No painter really influenced me. I’m influenced by painters when they give me a marvelous sense of perfection and beauty. Like Cezaime or Degas. When you see something great, you see the seeds of something great in yourself. Now, I didn’t get AE at all and I remember it bothered Lebrun. It seemed the art world was very tired and I was never a part of the psychological or emotional makeup of AE. When I left Jepson’s, I didn’t know what to do so I rented an old garage for 10 dollars a month and began painting portraits and self- portraits. One day, I divided a canvas into sixteen rectangles. I just looked at it and saw one rectangle as blue, so I painted it blue. Then I saw another as yellow ochre and so on. These became my early “hunch” paintings, because I painted them by intuition only, without “thinking.” I would look and “see” the shape. Then I squeezed the paint right onto the palette knife, then painted till it felt done. This taught me to have faith in logic and feeling. If you have an idea, go with it, as it is precious. You don’t know where it will take you if you don’t go with it. So, at the time, I had no contact with other painters at all. Later, when teaching at Pomona College, we had a faculty show. Carl Benjamin visited there and when he saw my work he said “Hey, I do that too! Come over and see.” So, we became friends and I would stop by his place.
DT: Much has been said of the four major West Coast Hard Edge painters; yourself, Carl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson (also a Chouinard artist) and John McLaughlin. The show in 1959 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art which moved to L.A. County is now considered a pivotal moment in the Hard Edge genre. How did that moment come about?
FH: We came up with the idea as a group but we had no real contacts. We may have done the show at Pomona College or Long Beach. So we called Jules Langsner (L.A Times Art Critic and Chouinard Instructor) who became very interested in the idea. Through his contacts we ended up at the San Francisco Museum. We wanted to call our-selves “Abstract Classicists. I didn’t care what it was called, really, but I remember walking with Jules saying that I felt the name was too long. I told him Benjamin called it “Hard Edge” which I felt fit. Later, Lawrence Alloway from the Institute of Contemporary Art in London called it “West Coast Hard Edge.” That name stuck. After the show opened it seemed to just sit there, with no real attention given to it. It didn’t seem to make any impact at all in L.A. either, but we became very well received in London.
DT: We’ve spoken before about taking time away from painting and how this contributes to the overall painting process. Describe this idea.
FH: The time you’re not painting is as important as the time you are. The same thing happens every week—one works five days, takes off two. One works most of the year, then nothing (a vacation) for two weeks. One cannot have activity seen or felt without having one place where there is none. One cannot feel the impact of a red unless there are places where there is less or no red, and, a bit of the opposite —green, for example.
DT: Any other advice for artists?
FH: Yes. If you want to be a successful painter, plan on living a long time.
News From Mission Street
We’re pleased to report that the lease on the Mission Street facilities has been signed and the application for permitting has begun. It will take about a year to complete the 16,000 square feet of floor space shown here, with its 6 classrooms, labs, and auxiliary spaces. A few classes, will be offered sooner, perhaps as early as the Spring semester for a limited number of special students. A curriculum focus group is presently working on a new Chouinard model for basic art education. For those of you who have never seen the Chouinard House, or the school, we invite you to phone 323-982-1773 and let us know when you would like to visit.
The school is located in the heart of South Pasadena’s Mission Street Corridor, just a block from the new Metro Gold Line station. The Metro will be operating in about a year (see map for other cultural institutions near us).
In the last few months we have received a number of images from subscribers, also more gifts of art from alumni. On this page and the back cover are regular Chouinard names – Don Birrell, Neil Boyle, Nelbert Chouinard, Harper Goff, Don Graham, Ed Kohn, Louis Percevil, Pat Dullanty, and Robert Alan Smith. Ninety-year-old Janice Lovoos (once a writer for American Artist) donated several paintings to the Foundation by Bernard Garbutt, Gonzalo Duran, and herself. Kim Weed, another nonagenarian artist, didn’t recognize anyone or anything in our last bulletin, and so sent us the humorous drawing to prove that he too had been a Chouinard student back in the 1930s.
Activities A LALLA TRIBUTE On Saturday, November 16, 1:00 – 7:00, at the Chouinard House, paintings and drawings of model /dancer Lalla Lezli, who passed away in late June at 94, were on display. Many artists and former Chouinard students loaned works. Spearheaded by Nancy Lilly, Lalla’s close friend and Los Angeles life model agent, the show was a nostalgic one for former Chouinardians and artists from art departments throughout the southland- Art Center, Otis, UCLA, USC, etc. This was a Chouinard Thanksgiving Celebration “Potluck” event – there were appetizers, finger foods, soft drinks, wine, pumpkin pie, and much more
Letters June 21, 2002 I’m sending you this memory of my late husband James (Jim) Roach who passed away one year ago today (1936- 2001). I would greatly appreciate you mentioning Jim in Grand View as I’m certain people will remember him as a teacher and student at Chouinard. Both Jim and I attended and studied at Chouinard in the late 1950s and early 1960s with Robert Irwin, Ed Reep, Watson Cross, Don Graham, Robert Chuey, Bill Moore, and Robert Winquist.
Jim graduated in 1962 with a BA degree in design and taught Perspective Drawing there (1967-1972). He worked with architect John Lautner who also was a teacher at Chouinard, and architect and designer Gene Loose, also a teacher. We met Richard Neutra and his family while living in one of his apartment designs in Westwood Village. While working at Architectural Woodworking Co. in Monterey Park in the 70s and 80s, Jim managed a large account for AWC with E.F. Hutton which included designing offices all over this country, Canada, and Ilawaii. Jim and I traveled extensively … our favorite destina¬tions being Hawaii and Spain I do a lot of collage work with varied techniques and belong to the College Artists of America. Sincerely, Wendy Roach
THE GRAMATKYS Remembered Since Hardie Gramatky’s wife, “Doppy” passed away at 92 last May, we have received a letter from Linda Smith, their daughter. Here are excerpts from her mother’s memories as a Chouinard student in the late 1920s: “Hardie arrived at Chouinard in 1928 after two years at Stanford. This handsome man with the nicest smile stormed into our life class, leaped over the drawing benches and start¬ed drawing fast and furiously. I really should have had blinders on because it was very hard to concentrate!”
About the teachers: “Clarence Hinkle was a wonderful teacher. He taught us a method of underpainting, using a palette knife to spread white paint on the canvas and then work into it with pure color.
“Pruett Carter arrived in 1930 and gave us a big lift. He was an established illustrator and was a great feather in Mrs. Chouinard’s cap. A high point was going over to Pruett’ and Teresa’s home after class and talking late into the night about New York. Pruett had a way with words, colorful words. He loved Hardies puns.”
“F. Tollcs Chamberlin? He’d hover behind us, then take the charcoal and add boxes to show the relationship between the rib cage and the pelvis. Hardie and Millard Sheets and Phil Dike and a bunch of guys went over to his studio in Pasadena and took a special life class. Hardie worked all day, but still went over there.”
“Lawrence Murphy was a delightful man who lived alone in downtown L.A. He had an air about him- a jaunty tilt to the brim of his hat. He was a great artist and had for¬gotten more about drawing than we’d ever know.”
“Arthur Millier taught etching at Chouinard. He was the L.A. Times art critic. One time Hardie took me out to Mr. Millier’s home to print some etchings. Hardie was turning the press for me and somehow I got my finger in the way and the heavy roller went right over it and squashed it. It didn’t break, but Hardie felt terrible.”
About Hardie: “While at Chouinard he would often go on sketching tours for several days, driving wherever the notion led him and paint numerous paintings. He recalled, “In my art student days I was tremendously influenced by that sun¬light painter, Van Gogh. So much so that I spent most of my days outdoors, painting everything from the sea coast to the desert. I painted like mad. Over a period of three years I painted an average of five watercolors a day. Some times I went on trips with that great California painter Phil Dike. We would literally knock ourselves out with palette and brush, getting up at five in the morning and painting until after dark.
“My theory was a simple one: The more you paint the more a master of your medium you become. When you real¬ly have something to say you say it directly without having to consider the medium. My idea was to play the palette like a pianist plays the keyboard, never conscious of reaching for color or tone, but getting the most subtle shades and har¬monies with the greatest of confidence.”
Gramatky began working at Disney Studios in 1929, going to art school at night. His first job was to do a Disney comic book, but he did six months of drawings in three days and told Walt he’d like to try animation (there were 14 ani¬mators when he arrived and 250 when he left for New York in 1936).
“In those days there was a very small group. We did the story at night, with Walt clowning around, acting like crazy, and did the animation in the daytime.”
When the animators got discouraged Walt would act out what he had in mind. He would demonstrate in slow motion (body language) the emotion they should draw. “In 1936 we took our savings and moved to New York City, the Mecca for illustrators, thanks to Pruett Carter. In 1938 Walt concluded an L.A. Times interview with: “There was a boy working for us who had a great future in our stu¬dio. But his heart wasn’t in his work and he decided to chuck it all and paint what he wanted to paint. We gave him a great sendoff because we admired his spirit. He had a struggle, but he arrived. Even when he was struggling he was happy because he was doing what he wanted to do.”
In the words of Hardies art school chum and wife, “I guess he got that from Chouinard.” For fifty years this woman turned kids into artists. Some of you knew her. Most of you hold her memory in deep respect, as do thousands of others who remember the LA school that bore her name. It’s time now to solidify her legacy by helping us build the new Chouinard. On the back cover is a painting done by Nelbert Chouinard in 1919. For your $1,000 donation to our building fund you will receive a special, Cirrus Editions serigraph of this oil painting, a numbered, limited edition of 375. Image size: 24 x 18. Paper size: 30 x 24
HELP US TODAY. Your contribution to the Chouinard Foundation building fund is tax deductible.
Send your check to: CHOUINARD FOUNDATION 1114 GARFIELD AVE. SOUTH PASADENA, CA 91030
To continue receiving Grand View, send $50 now for your 2003 subscription. New subscribers fill out below:
NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE & ZIP
1,000 readers (you!) x $100 = opening the new Chouinard! WE NEED YOUR HELP! If every person reading this raised just $100, the building fund would be full, SO … ask 100 people for a dollar each; 20 people for $5; 5 people for $20.
WHATEVER IT TAKES! Send the $100 you raise to: The Chouinard Foundation 1114 Garfield Ave. South Pasadena, CA 91030 by June 20th. (Other items you can donate: flooring, paint, lighting, lumber, lab equipment, computers, library books, any materials we can use to save bucks.)
Reminder: For your $1,000 donation to our building fund you will receive this special, Cirrus Editions, %2 color serigraph of the above oil painting by Mrs. Chouinard it’s a numbered edition of only 375 and will be available in June!
Society of liustrators Awards On Saturday, May 4 from 2:00 to :6:00, a large group of illustra-tors from the 50-year-old Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles met at the Chouinard House for an afternoon of conviviality, refreshments, and awards. Life Achievement Award #11 went to illustrator Larry Salk, 1/12 to Bill Roblus, court illustrator, and #13 to 92-year-old David Rose, a man still painting every day. In the 50-year history of the society only 13 of these honorary awards have been voted by the Society’s board of directors. Chouinard Advisory Board member Leo Monahan (award #8) acted as presenter. Being in the Chouinard House was significant any Society members were once Chouinard students and credit the school with launching them on successful careers.
Cultural Heritage Commission On Thursday evening, May 15, the South Pasadena Cultural Heritage Commission passed our plans and hailed Dave Tourje’ and architect Seth Sakamoto’s efforts to design an historically correct, turn of the century facade and store front as part of the school’s remodeling plans. Located in the heart of the Mission Street cor ridor, where the neighborhood is being modernized and refur bished, the school will blend well with the city’s theme. The Gold Metro Line, half a block away, is presently undergoing trial runs before officially opening in July.
Eight years after Nelbert Chouinard made her triumphal return to the Grand View building (1949). a small group of Chouinard teachers began researching a way to expand the school in a new location. They were Don Graham, Elmer Plummer, Gene and Bettina Loose, and Mary Lea Murphy. Sideline rooters, says Gene Loose, were Harry Diamond and Marc Davis. A stimulus for this objective was a Disney-sponsored study made by San Francisco’s Cresap, McCormick, and Paget. These “expert” consultants did an extensive survey by interviewing Chouinard faculty, students, and employers of graduates, compil-ing a glowing picture that reflected the success of Chouinard’s past. Nelbert was proud of the results of this report, especially in light of Walt’s interest and the uncovering by WED’s Mickey Clark and Chuck Romero of a huge bookkeeping swindle pulled off by Chouinard’s infamous bookkeeper, Camille Candido. Mrs. Chouinard had been slowly bilked of thousands of dollars and was hugely relieved that Disney was offering to keep Chouinard afloat, at least for a while. Though many students mistrusted Walt’s involvement, whiffs of change floated in the wind.
So news of the consultant’s report was circulating around school, free information for anyone who might benefit, namely Disney, Nelbert, and the faculty group who were even more inter-ested in having a workable plan for the school. Gene Loose noticed the for sale sign on a vacant forty-acre piece of property bordering Griffith park on the north and west, Los Feliz on the south, and Western on the east. He called the phone number on the sign. For a down payment of $100,000 the Chouinard group could obtain the land, subdivide it, and sell off the lots for profit, setting aside a choice seven-acre piece for a new Chouinard cam-pus, a restaurant, and plenty of parking, w ith enough money left over to finance and maintain the school. The school campus would have been on the north, just below the Griffith Planetari¬um, with an entrance at Fern Dell—a beautiful location that bordered
Griffith Park and all its natural amenities.
It meant a lot of work, of coursc, but Loose—the architec¬tural guru at Chouinard—set about drawing up preliminary plans for a four foot modular structure with flexible classroom dividers that could be modified to adapt to future cultural and curricular shifts. These changes could be done quickly by two men with two simple tools. Loose’s Bauhaus sensibilities and global concerns (he was a Bucky Fuller fan) were perfect for simplifying, yet expanding and updating, the school.
According to Loose, Mrs. Chouinard liked the idea. Her only hesitation was to wait and see what Walt was going to do. During the final years of the 1950s she was approaching her 80th birthday and subsequent voluntary retirement. By 1961 Disney had made up his mind to protect his investment in Chouinard: he would move forward with plans to create his “university of the arts.” The faculty group’s plans were therefore stopped in mid stream, despite the validity of the plan and an otherwise smooth highway of green lights.
It could have been done. Loose contends today. In light of early CalArts history, the school would have been better off in terms of preserving and maintaining its reputation for offering some of the best art education in the country. It would have remained central to the city of Los Angeles as well, a requirement the Chouinard faculty lobbied for right up until the end. Another missed opportunity. The school that might have been.
(Gene Loose is a regular at current Chouinard meetings, having joined the cause a year or so ago. Like us. he would like to see a new Chouinard horn, one that holds the high standards Nelbert Chouinard maintained for fifty years. Though he left Chouinard in I960. Loose carries the torch. We thank him for supplying the visuals for this article.) —Robert Perine
WEBSITE We appreciate your patience with our efforts to overhaul our present website. The site has been too-frequcntly moved to the bottom of our priority list due to other pressing needs. In the future ChouinardFoundation.org will play a key role in the intra- communication between us and the rest of the art world.
First Chouinard Foundation Auction Ignites FundRaising Effort Rain and Specter of War Have Marginal Effect On Saturday, March 15th, after a crowded Friday night celebration featuring unending bounties of food and music, about a hun¬dred bidders braved the rain and impending war with Iraq to bid on 174 donated works from Chouinard artists, dealers, collectors and friends. The evening began with short talks by the (jetty’s Louis Marcasano and gallery owner Jack Rutbcrg (below). Some bidders stayed home, using the Internet or the telephone, making for a few exciting moments. Watching Izzy Chait and Jim Goodman efficiently make their way through the works while absentees bid on the internet was absorbing. The gross: over $100,000. Residual benefit: a $50,000 stimulus gift from the Kramer Trust.
Left to right: Beth Bachcnhcimer Mala Frank Gavin Leo Monahan Dave Brain Robert Perine Ron Miyashiro Bd I3ereal Larry Bell Jerry McMillan Unidentified Gary Wong Jim Goodman John Schroeder Debbie Doolittle Karen Wight Dave Tourje Guy Dill Brad Howe Heidi Loewen Raul Guerrero Doris Kouyias Jason Crum
came in droves to preview the auction s offerings and munch on the a constant stream of delectables. Below: llardic Gramatkys daughter. Linda Smith, flew in from Connecticut to enjoy the festivities, here with Robert Perine Below right: Auctioneer Izzy Chait warmed up his voice at Friday night’s party by singing with his group. On Saturday night, micro¬ phone in hand, he hurried along the sales of 120 works with the same voice.
“Nada Mas Otra” When Ron Cooper agreed to participate in our Auction Preview party, we all knew we would be in for a good time. Known as an important artist and catalytic force at Chouinard in the ’60’s, his prcscncc was more than appreciated by the over 500 attendees of the party (above with Gary Wong).
Besides himself, Cooper brought along his prized creations- the renowned Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal he has become well known for around the world. This refined liquor, made from the Agave plant, is made solely by Cooper and his associates by standards set hundreds of years ago. “It’s the way tequila was made 300 years ago,” he says. Cooper also submitted an artwork to the auction. Entitled “Nada Mas Otra”, the work relates to his activities concerning his Mezcal. Painted on an old plastic bottle, pounded flat by goats herded down the road leading to the still used to produce the liquor in Mexico, the statement means roughly “nothing other than this,” an idea attributed to the Mezcal he produces. “It’s a saying used by the villagers that help me make it. They know how great it is,” Cooper says. Visit Ron s website at Mezcal.com. —Dave Tourje
GETTY ROUND TABLE
On a Friday night in late February a special panel discussion, “Modern art in L.A.” took place in the Getty Museum’s main auditorium, with panelists Walter I lopps, Henry Hopkins, James Byrnes, and artist Fred Hammersley, participants. The evening was dedicated to Emerson WoellTer. Both Woclffer and 1 lammer- sley, of coursc, made significant contributions at Chouinard.
DRAWING AND THE ART SCHOOL
by Gerald Nordland Following is Nordland’s description of Chouinard as written especially for the /. M. Chait auction catalog
The Chouinard Art Institute was composed of a cluster of related and overlapping disciplines that included fine arts, design, film, illustration, advertising, fashion, and ceramics. It was the convic-tion of the faculty that a strong general education was required for every student. That education would includc history, govern¬ment, literature, science, psychology, semantics, and two years of art history. Drawing and painting from the Fine Arts division were the foundation of the curriculum of every division. Since the artist would live in a competitive environment, producing work for current use, one had to be keenly aware of contemporary taste, new technologies, and shifting styles. One needed to be able to understand the user of art and the pressures motivating decisions. An artist was trained to be a thinking person, with sensitivity to his/her audience, means, past, and his/her interpreters.
Drawing is unquestionably the oldest of the arts. Humans depicted their quarry long before fashioning the first mother goddess figure or creating the first clay cup. We know from cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Greek vase decoration that substantial skills were developed in describing the observed world, setting out brilliant likenesses, recording both interior and exterior life.
At the beginning of the 15th century – in his Libro dell ‘Arts Cannino Cennini was the first to formally advocate the serious study of drawing as the basis of all artistic training. Drawing was conceived at that time as an intellectual discipline. By the end of the 15th century Leonardo da Vinci demonstrated the importance of drawing as a means of scientific discovery in both his writings and his drawings. Under Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael developed drawing into more elaborate and significant functions for the artist. It became a tool for exploring and developing ideas and an expression of ability and virtuosity. First thoughts were jotted down and developed into specific studies of compositional elements figures, heads, draperies and then synthesized into total compositions, worked up for presentation to a client. Pope, or King. The academic work up can be compared to the architect’s approach, with tentative sketches of functions, structures, and facades, then integrated into a model of a future building.
The Chouinard Art Institute curriculum recognized, as did J. A. D. Ingres, that “. . . drawing is the probity of art.” The twenti-eth century has seen a progressive dilution of classical art tech-niques and drawing skills, with the evolution of new technologies photography, copying machines, and computer design. Classical contour drawing, calligraphic skills, and tonal compo-sition are often substituted, manipulated and avoided through mechanical dcvices and computer software. For many in the late twentieth ccntury and today, drawing is avoided by contemporary device. If. however, drawing is an intellectual discipline, the basis of all artistic training, a means of scientific discovery, and a tool for developing and exploring ideas, that avoidance carries a heavy cost. The price can be a loss of independence, the freedom to express the uniqueness of personal vision.
The Chouinard Art Institute was a facultygoverned art lab-oratory. Decisions were arrived at through the consensus of the teaching staff. Those decisions were tempered by daily experience in the making of art in the contemporary world. Every faculty member was first a practicing artist and only secondarily an art instructor. Daily experience in the real world studio, with its pressures and changing technologies, guided each staff member in helping develop curriculum, in considering the adding of new classes or dropping old ones, and in counseling and guiding students, evaluating the timing for their advancement into a major upper division field.
Because the faculty recognized that the pace of 20th century life and modern art had brought about a relaxation of standards which affected the work and sensibilities of entering students, it decided to adopt new teaching and scheduling strategies. First, a saturation/teaching proccss in eight-week packages was developed where the student would immerse him/herself in a specific art laboratory, unlike anything one experienced in previous schooling. Second, drawing was mandated as an unavoidable discipline, and every full time student was required to devote one studio day each week in drawing, relating to his/her primary career goals.
Artists such as Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Richards Ruben, John Altoon, and Emerson WoellTer, spent years drawing and painting, making prints and sculpture, studying the works of earlier masters and the “new masters” of contemporary art Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, and Miro. It was only after years of discipline and skilldevelopment that they were able to sort through their learning and discard the unnecessary, that which no longer worked, the meretricious, and set out their personal discoveries. Those statements were unique, autobiographically theirs, and yet inimitable. No Chouinard artist ever led his/her students to believe that the profession of art offered an easy path. For some it is the only path. It begins with a contradictory arrogance and humility: a conviction that whatever the cost, it is what I want and need to do, and the corresponding belief that I have the mysterious and unknowable ability to carry it through to succcss.
The roster of fine and distinguished Chouinard veterans w ho have succeeded in making lasting contributions to contemporary art is more than remarkable. They can be found in painting & sculpture, etching & lithography, sculpture & photography, illustration & advertising, film, fashion, ceramics and fields of design that range widely from interiors to furniture to product design to architecture. Beyond this one has to mention such light and space conccpt artists as Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler, and Larry Bell, who founded their own specialties. The art field is an endless maze of opportunity, possibility, blind alleys, discovery, and tempting dreams. It requires an open ended positive, and skill- based training, the accumulated wisdom of the past, the fundamental tools of the field, and the breadth of cxpericncc provided by veteran instructors in the model of Chouinard. The works to be seen in this exhibition/auction, and the artists who have so generously contributed to it whether Chouinard alumni, veteran instructors, or congenial colleagues are links in the grand tradition of Chouinard and its emphasis on professional art training. The Chouinard Foundation’s efforts to strengthen the underpinnings of art training in Southern California will continue to grow in meaning and conscquences for the growth and development of art in the region for years to come.
For past, current, or upcoming show listings in SHOW LOG, please mail your announcement or e-mail info to Bob Perine at perineraipacbell.net. Photo of work or the event also welcome.
SHOW LOG ED BEREAL / On June 3rd. last summer, Ed Bereal staged a one person show at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland called “Wanted in the Name Of …” A number of Bereal’s
Chouinard buddies attended, including Joe Goode, shown here with Bereal and posed behind “Miss America,” a NASA inspired piece sheltered in a plexi box. About the sculpture and the painting of the same name Bereal says, “they’re a metaphor for that side of America you see in Central America.”
LARRY BELL / Upcoming show at the Off Main Gallery in Bergamot Station May 25 (opening at 6:30 pm) to June 15.
DON BIRRELL / Retrospective of Birrell’s work design, drawing, and painting at the Vacavillc Museum, January 24 to August 10,2003. As design director of the Nut Tree for some fifty odd years, Birrell becamc a cultural icon in Vacaville. At the show’s opening he was honored at a testimonial, 200 plate, dinner.
JOHN DEMARCO / “In the Key of Blue,” Fender Museum of Music and the Arts, Corona, May 14th to August 19th, 2003. This collection of large format “music” paintings depict moments frozen in time from the lives of jazz and blues musicians. There are 17 large format works interspersed with DeMarco’s hand- painted guitars
ALLEN RUPPERSBERG / “The Singing Posters,” is the title for Allen Ruppersberg’s current show at Gorney, Bravin, and Lee on 26th Street in New York. His work will be on view from April 25 to May 31.
ROBERT CARY / Chouinard ’52 / Died January 12 in Newman, California. Cary was art director at an independent greeting card company in Los Angeles. Later, he and his wife Diana lived in Mexico for ten years (1950s and 60s) where Cary was a restoration expert and a fine artist. His work was shown extensively in Cuernavaca where he had an annual one-person show. Upon return to the U.S. in 1971, Cary taught Mexican art history at Grossmont College in San Diego.
JACK GOLDSTEIN / 1945-2003 / (Chouinard 1966-70) See article by Tom Dixon, pg. JO. RUTH OSGOOD SALYER / Chouinard ’51 / Died April 26 at 83 in Laguna Beach. Salyer was one of the founding directors of the Laguna Beach School of Art & Design and a long time resi¬dent of Laguna where she taught and nurtured her painting career. At Chouinard she was a disciple of painter Richard Haines, Jean Chariot, Don Graham, and design teacher William Moore who often touted her paintings as examples of great design.
EMERSON WOELFFER / 1914-2003 / (Chouinard teacher, 1959-1970). Died in Los Angeles on February 11 at 89. Woelf- fer, a Chicagoan, was a student at the Chicago Art Institute in the early 1930s. He moved to New York to paint and had his first show there in 1952. In NY he made life-long friends: deKooning, Kline, Motherwell, Rothko, and Pollock. Moving west, he spent time at Black Mountain College and Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, then came to Chouinard in 1959 and taught until 1970.
THE WORD IS OUT Judging from our increasing e-mail inquiries and phone calls, news of the new Chouinard is spreading. Past Chouinard teachers and others currently teaching in other institutions are sending resumes. Regional museums, as well, are probing in hopes of working with us to curate Chouinard exhibitions. Riverside Museum, for example would like to do a retrospective of Chouinard-influenced work in their Julia Morgan building, much to the delight of Advisory Board Members Ed Bereal and Connor Everts, both of whom taught at UC Riverside. Bereal, in fact, grew up in the Inland Empire.
Another new museum in San Diego—callcd the California Art Museum of San Diego (a non-profit in its early planning stages) recently invited CF co founder Robert Perine to meet with them to talk about interacting with the Chouinard Founda-tion. Eager to “link up” with a reputable, historically important art school, the museum’s board of active fund-raisers are tenta-tively negotiating to lease a 40,000 sq. ft. building in the old Naval Training Center off Rosecrans Blvd. on 26 acrcs fronting the harbor. When the land was given back to the city of San Diego by the government the city council voted to dedicate all of its facilities to the cultural needs of San Diego’s citizens. Most of the center, which is now called Liberty Station, has been earmarked for the use of non-profit organizations. The Chouinard Foundation may have a role in helping the new museum become a reality. One of the museum’s interests will be the watercolor move-ment of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. In their research the board turned up a host of painters connected to that movement who were closcly connected to Chouinard, both teachcrs and students. It is interesting to note that NTC opened in 1923, just two years after Chouinard was founded. The public will have its first access to Liberty Station in 2004.
When the Redcat Gallery at Gehry’s silver winged Disney Hall opens its doors on opening night in October, the inaugural show will be a retrospective of Emerson Woelffer s work, a fitting trib¬ute to a nationally known artist who taught at Chouinard and recently passed away at 89. The show is being curated by Advi-sory board member Ed Ruscha, with Jerry McMillan helping with the catalog production, both Chouinard graduates from the 1960s and students of Woclffer’s. Ruscha is soliciting written tributes from some of Woelffer’s former students for the first Redcat exhibition catalog.
Jeff Phillips, curator of contemporary art for the Art/Art Project, tells us that his hope is for future Redcat shows to feature well known Chouinard graduate artists. Fifty years of Chouinard influenced art, plus twenty five CalArts years should keep curators busy over the years.
International Baccalaureate On Friday evening, April 11th at the Chouinard House, eleven seniors from Rowland High School exhibited their graduation work from the IB honors visual arts program. Attending were parents and students from the school as well as the district super intendent, and a district board member. Organized by Mala Gavin, the event was a success, the house so packed that it was difficult to move.
Students were grateful to interact with a number of Chouinard artists who attended Sam C’layberger, Gary Wong, Nob Hadeishi, Lou Paleno, Gene Loose, Bob Perine, Dave Tourje, Nancy Armitage, and more. Other artists who have influenced these same students are: Bob Smith, Bill Stout, and Larry Bell. Daniel LaRue Johnson When you see a photo of an artist wearing a beret you have to know he spent time in Europe. With Daniel Johnson, in fact, the big break came right out of Chouinard in 1965 when he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study with Giacometti in Paris. His description of Giacometti’s studio is visually astute “a monochromatic setting moss green. Lots of Camel cigarettes.” In reminiscing, Johnson remembers the Parisian sculptor working on “many things all at the same time” while his brother Diego developed the patinas and the American apprentice struggled with his French. “It was all about observation,” says Johnson, summing up the experience.
Decisions were arrived at through the consensus of the When he was at Chouinard (’56 to ’65) he was under the influence of many Don Graham (“that instructor who whispered”), Bob Winquist, Watson Cross, Ed Reep, and Elmer Plummer. Then followed sculptors Richard Hunt and Stephan Von Heune, and painters Dick Ruben, Emerson Woelffer, and Connor Everts. He also recalls tcrrific conversations with Bob Irwin, not in Irwin’s class, but when Irwin occasionally drove him home from school. Later he lent an car to Jules Langsner and John Coplans as well, and met artists Michacl Frimkas (Otis), and Mike Kanemitsu. “In those days I was making little 4’A” black boxes with peep holes and found-objects inside, like baby faces,” says Johnson.
In 1966 he landed in New York. With contractor Robert Borg and the Donald B. Lippincott Foundry’s help, he began experimenting with CorTen steel as a material for large scale steel sculptures to be placcd on Borg’s building sites. He created various maquettes for his ideas, including one for a Ralph Bunch Memorial across from the U.N. The Bunch obelisk, called “Pcacc Form I,” took ten years to conceive and complete, the financing ($500,000) coming from the Phelps Stokes Fund in New York. Other CorTen steel sculptures, the Martin Luther King and Jackie Robinson pieces are shown here. In 1972 he found time to study composition and theory at the Julliard School of Music.
Johnson has had two major solo shows, one at the French & Company Gallery in 1970 and the second at Noah Goldowsky Gallery, both in New York. In the April 6, 1970 issue of Time Magazine he was called “America’s Leading Black Artist.” He has completed at least eight major commissions, received five grants and fellowships, and his two-page bibliography contains an awesome list of magazine lineage. A private collector’s list reads like a who’s who of VIPs and celebrities: John D., Nelson, and David Rockefeller, Bliss Parkinson, James Baldwin, Jane Holtzer, Lena Home, Stanley Kramer, Ornette Coleman, and about 35 significant others. Public collections includc MOMA. Pasadena Art Museum (Norton Simon), Cleveland Museum of Art, and Chouinard Art Institute. One wonders what happened to the latter piece when Chouinard met its demise.
If we’re lucky, we’ll see Dan hanging out at the new Chouinard once in a while, doing a seminar, encouraging students. – Robert Ferine
Organizers of the Chouinard show, left to right: Julie Snyder, Jean Pierre Pciny, Dave Tourje, and Corinne Simon Duneau photo by Karen Monahan
L. A. FARM Exhibit On May 5 an exhibition of Chouinard artists’ work was previewed at Jean-Pierre Peiny’s L.A. Farm restaurant near Bergemot Station. Julie Snyder of The Art Engine and Corinne Simon Duneau of Seven Sages Fine Arts organized the show to benefit the new Chouinard school’s building fund. There were 16 paintings by 10 Chouinard alumni: Larry Bell, Fred Hammersley, Harold Kramer, Jerry McMillan, Leo Monahan, Lou Paleno, Gary Wong, Emerson Woelffer, Robert Perine, and Dave Tourje. The snacks and drinks were great, the company warm and very French, fitting for a name like Chouinard.
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JACK GOLDSTEIN September 27, 1945 – March 14, 2003
There were about fifty people gathered at MOC’A for the memorial service. A1 Ruppcrsbcrg, myself, and a few from the early Chouinard days. We were waiting, almost as if Jack was late getting there. But this time, he didn’t show. The service was short, poignant. Brian Butler (Jack’s art dealer) and writer Richard Hertz, recalled and revealed Jack’s vast achievements. The most startling Goldstein remark regarding the physical was “The man committing suicide controls the moment of his death by executing a back flip.” Over and over in my mind I ask “was this Jack’s final piece or a random act that becomes the last gesture?” We will never know.
I realized everyone there had a memory, or their own concept, of Jack Goldstein at Chouinard and later at C’alArts. The Art World retained him as “theirs” but allusive as well. At Chouinard we shared a studio on ninth street that Mike Kancmitsu made available when he moved on. We worked separately at night and during the day. I brought Nick Wilder there (who I was working for). He looked at Jacks’ photo cutouts, my sprayed shapes. I took Jack (he had no car) to Barneys’ Beancry, introduced him to Ed Kicnholtz. He was debuting the “Barneys” assemblage in the patio. Jack spent hours in dialogue with Ed. I stayed inside the piece, viewing.
Jack moved to Venice, I moved into the Wheeler studio. 1 last saw Jack in his New York studio in the nineties, just weeks before he dropped from sight. Jack spoke of disappearing. He designed his paintings and directed six helpers fabricate the final piece. He said “The thrill of the ‘idea,'” or chase, was eluding him … it was he “who belonged to others.”
Jack slowly reappeared in shows all over the world. But where had he been? His final world was one of his choice, an aging trailer at the end of a road in San Bernardino Countyno water, maybe electricity. Wc all thought we knew him. We knew his work over the years and each of us “knew Jack.”
Jack was all those things we “knew,” always uncompromising, dircct, and blunt. I leafed through my Chouinard journals where Jack Goldstein’s name blares out. I close them till a later time. I still cxpcct Jack to reappear somewhere, some time, surprising us with a new direction. But maybe this time he took that final “back flip” and won’t return. Rest in Peace, Jack. Gloucester Point, VA, May 2003
HENRY LEE McFEE Excerpted from Chouinard s 1941 Summer School Painting Program brochure “l am not, as you know; clever with paint. I plan the canvas well and proceed little by little to build it up.”—McFee
These few simple words tell us a great deal about the man, his work, and his sincerity. Like creative artists of all time, he patiently attends to all details of preparation “from the ground up,” as we say, before putting paint to canvas; and during the whole course of making a picture, considers he is doing a job which has to be done thoroughly, as a good carpenter builds a house.
There is no other way to make a work of art. The ideas and invention necessary to a work of art have to be dug out of one’s innermost being, by toil; that is, if it is distinctive art. There has to be effort and groping and experiment “trial and error” Michelangelo called it before the creative mind yields distin-guished art or anything else of novelty and distinction. A job has to be done.
McFee confesses he is not “clever with paint” meaning, of course that he does not express his ideas in painting easily. In that respcct he is in a large company creative minds are not facile minds their instincts do not operate in grooves. The “groovers” are the ones who do things easily.
Cezanne also was troubled because he couldn’t express him-self with facility. Being the “primitive” of a new way of painting in other words, its inventor precluded the possibility of his being “clever” at it; just as the Wright brothers were not clever or facile in inventing a flying machine. McFee is in the same boat working out his own way. His reputation as one of America’s foremost artists has been established during the many years he lived and worked in Woodstock, New York. — Warren Wheelock TIMELESS MOMENTS Due out this Summer is a 224-page coffee table book on the drawing, painting, and sculpture of Corinne (Parr) Hartley (Chouinard 1944). It’s entitled The Art of Corinne Hartley: Timeless Moments, from ARTRA Publishing in San Diego.
A strong draftsperson at Chouinard, Hartley left school and went to work at Bullock’s and Haggarty’s as a fashion illustrator, specializing in women and children. During that 25-year career she kept painting, and in the 1990s took on sculpture. Her subjects are family emphasis on women and kids, the images tending toward the observational strengths of a latter day Mary Cassatt. Her painting technique is fresh, lively, and free, but drawing remains the underlying strength of her work. She is represented by a dozen major galleries nationwide.
Hardbound edition, $65, sofibound, $45.
Published quarterly by the Chouinard Foundation 1020 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA 91030 Phone 323-982-1773 / firstname.lastname@example.org Dedieated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Nelbert Chouinard Dave Tourje and Robert Perine, co-founders Cover: Larry Bell begins a discussion of his work in /he large, bombed out section of the newly leased Chouinard building. Below, Ed Bereal discusses his work with the attentive audience of about seventy artists and friends who attended the chilly Saturday night event featuring both slides and video. Thank you!
In the harried and intense process of getting the new Chouinard on track (up and running) Dave and 1 have come to appreciate the tremendous support we arc getting from a relatively small group of volunteers and dedicated, unselfish workers. We would like to take this opportunity to announce publicly and thank the following people (some from the very beginning of the process) who are making the school possible, not just because of their contributions of money, but in addition to that: Thank you!
In the harried and intense process of getting the new Chouinard on track (up and running) Dave and 1 have come to appreciate the tremendous support we arc getting from a relatively small group of volunteers and dedicated, unselfish workers. We would like to take this opportunity to announce publicly and thank the following people (some from the very beginning of the process) who are making the school possible, not just because of their contributions of money, but in addition to that:
Advisory Board Larry Bell Ed Bereal Dave Brain Sam Claybcrgcr Debby Doolittlc Boyd Elder Ed & Vivian Flynn Mala Frank-Gavin Nob Hadeishi Fred Hammersley Otto Heino Doris Kouyias Karen Laurence Lynn Leatart Gene Loose Leo Monahan Gerald Nordland Lou Paleno Jill Sattler Judy Stabile Chuck Swenson John Van Hamersveld Gary Wong Friends of Chouinard Nancy Armitage Fred Alldredge Caroline Blake Nancy Cartwright Rose Tourje Garza Joel Goldstein Nancy Lilly Joan Marshall Blaze Newman Bill Ohanesian Magnus Stark Chel Stith Steve Thomas Linda Tourje Michael Wingo
“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead
A Weekend with Bell & Bereal
When Larry Bell and Ed Bereal flew into town last month it was with unflagging enthusiasm for their ongoing careers (as well as for the new Chouinard) which was readily manifest during the Saturday evening dialogue and showing of slides and video and the Sunday afternoon critique of the work of those willing to undergo judgment / affirmation. Bell took us through his art career via examples of his work, starting with his youthful, assumptive reading of Herb Jepson at Chouinard and ending with his recent outpouring of recycled art scraps heated and pressed into canvas, some 10,000 experiments in printmaking.
Bereal’s politically motivated works, both paintings and sculpture, are direct, powerful, and thought-provoking, a reflective outgrowth of his experiences in the black community and his appraisal of an often two-faced America. Realistic in both content and execution, the paintings are at once skillful and possessed of quantities of raw energy, often employing contrasting images and symbols to emphasize the context of his message. The Chouinard Artist Series, Number II (participants to be announced) will be held in January 2004 at the school. Call or e-mail the Chouinard Foundation for reservations: Saturday evening tickets are S10, the Sunday afternoon workshop “critique” is limited to twenty individuals. Tuition, S50. (Note: The format of these seminars may vary due to the visiting artists’ needs.)
On Sunday afternoon, Larry Bell pointed to a cluster of suspension wires left from Vivian Flynn s class and said, ” Whoever s responsible for this is the best artist in this room.” In the same session. Ed Bereal picked up a marker to challenge participants ‘assumptions about creating the illusion of ^-dimensionality, saying we can assume that two diverging lines are a road but, in truth, those lines just make a triangle. He talked at length about the struggles involved in battling the flat monster”—the 2-dimensional plane of paper or canvas.
At Last! Saturday morning, October 11th was the magical and long-awaited day: the new Chouinard Foundation School of Art’s classes began. Vivian Flynn and Dave Brain kicked off the day with their classes for children and teens, followed in the afternoon by Michael Wingo’s Intermediate Figure Drawing class and Sam Clayberger’s Basic Drawing class. Weekday evenings feature adult classes in drawing (Brain and Clayberger),color theory (Leo Monahan), and design fundamentals (Robert Perine). Almost 70 students are enrolled for this first 9- week session. Additionally, the outreach program expanded with Blaze Newman providing a pro bono weekly class at the Almansor Center for students with emo¬tional and/or learning disabilities. High¬lights from the first month of classes include a canine model in Vivian Flynn s class for children (courtesy of Irene and Nob Hadeishi) and a conquis¬tador in armor posing in Michael Wingo’s class.
The success of this first session is due partly to the enthusiasm shown at the first Chouinard Foundation Open House, held at the school on September 14, amidst the disorder of renovation. Balloons, banners, colorful fliers, and Chouinard supporters welcomed poten¬tial students and interested neighbors. In addition to course catalogs for the Fall session, Chouinard T-shirts, plenty of food, and guided tours of the facilities, visitors also received the opportunity to talk with the inaugural faculty about the new school’s thrust: providing solid technical foundations while also stimu¬lating creativity. Many current students have already enrolled for the next session, which will have an expanded roster of courses (painting, graphic design, ani¬mal drawing, introduction to film, and watercolor painting) and instructors (Debby Doolittle, Bill Ohanesian, Robert Alan Smith, Theadora Van Runklc, and Alan Zaslove).
DRAWING: Always a Challenge Chouinard teachers will be talking a lot about drawing and design in the next year or two, especially the old turks who are in the habit of harping on funda¬mentals. Every time one of our students touches pencil to paper, he/she is draw¬ing. Those marks become lines and lines become shapes that define forms. Part of drawing is a science, another part motor skills, still another, emotion and vision.
In 1968 Rick Kjarsgaard, lab assistant to photography instructor Alex Hovsepian, took these pictures at Chouinard of Millie Rocque’s illustra¬tion class at her request. She said she had an especially strong group of students and wanted their work record¬ed. In looking back. Rick remembers Rocque’s reputation as a teacher:
“Millie was known for teaching us to draw the model as if we were a worm moving over the figure, leaving a drawn line behind our movements. Each journey over an area defined more of the surface. In the end the drawing looked similar to the wire mesh frames in today’s computer animation techniques. Only more fcarty.'”
We hope, like then, today’s students will consider themselves dedicated workers, free to upend a drawing bench, sit on the floor, or use the wall as an easel. Carving out in¬dividual niches in the new Chouinard facility is what we’re eager to sec.
Sign of the Times
During demolition of the interior of the leased Chouinard facilities (west building) a lath and plaster wall was ripped away, exposing the former exterior west wall of the cast building, revealing a 20′ x 60′ brick wall painted with a sign advertising a lard company. The sign painter’s logo is still there—Schroeder Brothers—and since the west building was constructed in 1905, the sign can be dated between 1903 and 1905. It is in excellent condition and will be left intact for students and visitors to ogle a piece of South Pasadena history.
Schroeder Brothers, 1 discovered, was the first sign shop in L.A. (starting in 1874) and held sway until the Dromgold Brothers set up shop in 1896 to compete. By 1912 the two shops had merged, but when the U. S. went to war with Germany in 1917, a court order required the firm to changc its name to the American Sign Company.
The reason this otherwise trivial information caught my inter¬est is because my grandfather, Stephen Perine, worked for Drom- gold-Schroeder and in 1934 became owner/director of the Ameri¬can Sign Company. Both my father and uncle worked at the shop in the twenties and thirties, and as a boy I would visit the shop and watch men on scaffolds hand-painting Van de Kamp s coffee cakes,rolls, and loaves of bread.
When I studied this well-preserved billboard on Chouinard s wall, I wondered if it was possible that, as a young man, my grand¬father had worked with the Schroeder Brothers on it. There’s no way to prove it, of course, but I liked the conncction—Stephen with a graphic designer grandson who loves typography and lettering, and me with a grandfather who owned American Sign Company on 8th Street, only a few blocks from Chouinard on
Grand View. For me it was as if the L.A. village-turned-megalopolis had become a village again, a sort of time machine back flip. — BP
Nostalgia or History? Six contact sheets of photos (circa the 1960s) arrived from Judy Stabile (several shown here). Judy is one of a handful of students who saw fit to record scenes and photograph fellow students at Chouinard. We thank her for sharing.
We’ve heard that some Chouinard alumni are not into “nostalgia,” the so-called wasted activity of recalling good and bad times, the latter sometimes unpleasant.
This therefore acts as an excuse to disregard Chouinard events where reminiscing is a waste of time.
Okay. But there’s another way to look at it: All of recorded history was the result of individuals willing to jot it down, photograph it, preserve events for the record, whether that record lacked luster or was important. History undergirds everything, including art. Even as a few of us struggle (and sacrifice) to re-open Chouinard, there’s a degree of consciousness that says—let’s make this school spe¬cial by not repeating past scrcw-ups and by being open to new ideas.
Webster says nostalgia is “remorse, wistfulness, sentimentality,” the brief act of mentally revisiting both the good and not so good. But reminiscing once in a while hurts no one, and sometimes gets a laugh or two.
Nostalgia-dodgers, be assured here at the new school we’ve run out of Chouinard stories. Current focus is on where we carry the ball next, not who threw it in our direction. Emerson Woelffer Leaves a Mighty Legacy
In the July 2002 issue of this magazine we ran a story on Emerson Woelffer who was still alive and recounting stories of his teaching at Chouinard and Otis. His health was failing and he spent several weeks in a convalescent facility in L.A. where Dave Tourje and I visited him one afternoon.
1 le was frail but alert and very happy over our goal to re-establish the Chouinard school. On that occasion he reaffirmed our conviction that drawing and design should be the main focus of the new Chouinard. When asked what our approach should be he said, “teach them to draw the figure!” He grinned and gestured with a kind of high-five. At his funeral last February were a flock of his former students: Debby Doolittle, Laddie John Dill. Ed Ruscha, Gary Wong, Larry Bell, Joe Goode, Llyn Foulkes, Nob Hadeishi, Juanita Jiminez, and Dennis Hopper, to name just a few, paying tribute to a great artist and teacher.
As of this writing, four Woelffer retrospectives are on display: one featuring seven decades of work and curated by Larry Hurst—is at College of the Canyons up the street from CalArts in Valencia; the second, the inaugural show at REDCAT Gallery in the new Disney Concert Hall, was curated by Ed Ruscha with a catalog designed by Jerry McMillan; the third is at the Manny Silverman Gallery in west I lollywood; and the fourth is at the Tobey Moss Gallery in Los Angeles. Janice Lovoos Sets Chouinard Record On Sunday, August 31, Janice Lovoos celebrated her 100th birthday, the first Chouinard student to reach the century mark. Her long career as an artist, as well as an arts writer, was lauded by over a hundred dinner guests who spent the early evening shaking her hand, kissing her. and bestowing gifts.
After a five minute tribute by travel filmmaker Hal McCall, she was handed the micro¬phone and recounted a piece of advice from her friend Beatrice Wood, offered a few years back:
“Beatrice told me that the key to old age was lots of chocolates and young men.” At Chouinard in the early 1920s Lovoos (then Janice Beck) was close friends with fellow- students Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Phil Paradise, Carl Beetz. and Herb Jepson, and she vividly remembers each artist’s strength and personality. This knowledge (and her observations) served her well years later when she authored several books and a number of magazine articles on the art his¬tory of the West. Her interest in the Chouinard Foundation and its activities is clear: last year she donated several works of art. including her own, to our collection. We hope she will at least match the impressive longevity of the incredible ceramist, Beatrice Wood 106! Roger Armstrong Honored In March, artist Roger Armstrong (Chouinard 1940) was awarded the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award as part of the Orange County Arts Awards. The award honors “those individuals whose vision, dedication, generosity, and artistic contribution have made a key difference in the development of the Orange County arts community.”
Armstrong, an advocate and teacher of watercolor, as well as a former cartoon strip artist (“Napolean” and “Ella Cinders”), was hailed for “over sixty years of exceptional leadership and artistic vision.”
At 83, lie is still going strong. With friends he drove to the South Pasadena street fair (Gold Line opening) in order to contribute to the building fund by making $25 sketches of visitors to the Chouinard booth. At left is a self-portrait taken from a personal letter. Central Coast Chouinard Exhibition Just in. this letter from Tim Anderson: “Thanks for the article in Grand View last year. I have heard from a number of former students from Chouinard who currently reside on the Central Coast. 1 hope to hear from more of you in the next month or so.
“My curatorial concept for the exhibit is to point up the symbiotic relationship between our geographic area and Chouinard. The school provided the artists and the land provided an unspoiled natural environment and a community receptive to artists.
“When I have chosen the artists for the exhibit I want to include work done here, an example of their work (when possible) and a statement from the artist about what their time at Chouinard meant to them. To be included the artist must have made art on the Central Coast, but not necessarily have been a full-time resident here. For the purposes of this exhibit the Central Coast will be defined as anywhere north of Santa Barbara and south of Monterey. The work will include artists both living and deceased. As support material it would be helpful to include letters, postcards, sketch books, and drawings that artists may have sent from the Central Coast or done here and taken with them when they returned. The only way I can unearth these works and materials is to hear from the Chouinard Foundation members.
“I would like to thank the Foundation for its support for this endeavor—past, present, and future.”
Tim Anderson, Curator SLO Art Center P.O. Box 813 San Luis Obispo, CA 93406 805.543.8562 fx 805.543.4518 email@example.com Editor’s note: Foundation members living on the Central Coast between Santa Barbara and Monterey will be sorted out by zip code and their contact information will be e-mailed to Tim Anderson.
The Chouinard Foundation Advisory Board.
Sounds pretty lofty. But if you attended Chouinard and are willing to show up at the meetings, you’re welcome to join. The current Advisory Board was to get together to establish the ground rules for the new school. Does the phrase “herding cats” mean anything? 1 low do you get a dozen artists, all with strong points of view and strong personalities to agree on anything? We come from varied backgrounds, we are all over the map in terms of personal art focus, and span several generations. This group didn’t agree on what a good drawing was, forget what good art education might be. But the thing that got the group together and held its attention was an attempt to understand the experience called Chouinard. To use an old street vernacular: What it is, what it was, and what it will be.
One of the members of the group said something that resonated with me: “if the school had not ended the way it did, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about starting it again.” Some truth there. If it had not come to what some would say an ugly and untimely end, those of us who went there would simply be doing our thing, not giving a thought to the new crop of students that was coming out each year. Oh, we might look back fondly on our experience at the school, maybe we’d feel indebted to some degree or other, maybe not, and the crusty old curmudgeons among us might complain about the quality of art these days, but we proba¬bly wouldn’t be sitting around discussing how to revitalize art education, and, to some degree by extension, how to stimulate the LA art scene. Yet here we were. Everyone there had something to say. At times it was chaotic, even a little contentious though not as much as you might imag¬ine. Each of us had his or her two bits to add; each of us was given his or her time to express many specific ideas. And together, you could start to hear the beginning of a voice, a thought, a point of view: a community forming. Ultimately it became clear that if Chouinard was to mean anything today, it had to be relevant. Sure, it could pick up where it left off, but it also had to be informed by the changes that have taken place over the intervening thirty years. Over the course of a couple of hours, out of this general discus¬sion came a consensus. Each might have a very different view ol what the school had been, because it was different at different times for different people. But together, something has started to emerge as to what it is: A non-profit, non-corporate, faculty-run school guided by a bunch of practicing artists, all dedicated to teaching art fundamentals and allowing the students the freedom to use them. We’ll have to wait to see what it will be. Sixty-five students are currently enrolled. Maybe some cats don’t need herding. —Chuck Swenson More Art Ed Input From “The Gabrielson Basic Art Skills Diet” Personal advice to students apropos of the new Chouinard. and some of it. perhaps not so apropos yet: One could argue whether it is worth it to make art any way in any form. This argument has always been around, and I say so what? If it is YOUR choice to pursue two-dimensional imagery for what¬ever ends you desire; that is all the rationale you need. You want it, you should be able to go after it. But, you need training (of course Francis Bacon never took an art lesson in his life, and he did pretty good, but there is always going to be an exception). Most ol us need shaping and information to gel where we want to go faster and better. I was in the art teaching dodge for some 15 years before 1 went out on my own 20 years ago. It was my experience that the first two years [for students] were the most efficient and productive. Juniors and seniors tend to slack oft; the art-ego thing rolls in big time (come over and look at MY WORK!!). I don’t think you need four years of shuck and jive for a B.A. that doesn’t do you any good anyway. So. take a look. Most of this program is orthodox with a few rips here and there, but it lays out just about everything you need to have. It is free. Print it out, substitute for yourself, trash it. whatever.
FIRST: I don’t think anybody should get into an intensive pro¬gram without the basics already under your belt. It just wastes too much time. One fantasy is that anybody can do this art thing. A lot of people can do it but not everybody. Better to find out early if you can hack the basics, and it’s called beginning drawing and that’s where the pedal to the metal is in 2-D work. You just gotta have it. You should demonstrate a capacity to be able to: render in various grays draw in perspective from various points of view draw in isometric draw simple forms and shapes accomplish a head drawing from three positions draw your hands draw your feet draw the nude simply
use basic materials (pencil, charcoal, eraser, colored pencils) draw nature forms (trees, clouds, etc.) draw some animals do a basic 3-view like a draftsman would draw an image taken from a photograph
The drawings should flow, showing ease with various prob-lems. Your friends should want to possess them for free.
On to the program:
As stated, this could be done in two years. A college program could have it, you could self-study, or do it with a small group: make your own art school. I have not organized it into semesters or whatever. I think accomplishing the material, roughly in the order laid down, would work. Spend more time on the hard stuff and breeze through the easy stuff. When you know something, you know it. So, understanding this, I will say if you stay the course and don’t go out and slit your wrists, at the end of two years YOU WOULD SURF. AS HELL KNOW HOW TO DRAW AND PAINT.’!
Specific areas of study:
(1)Chemical and digital photography, also applied to computers and the internet.
I he purpose would be to encourage seeing (perception) and learn the basics of going from image to the great outside through technology. A camera is a great place to start. Plus, you learn how t< photograph your own work and use it for source material. Later 011 you II need it professionally, so learn it or pay somebody else to do it.
(2)Materials and methods for the artist.
You need to know Mayer’s Art Materials very well, what goes into paint and all ol the other gunk, gold leaf and other strange processes, take a look at. but do not actually do them, printmaking mediums, know about watercolor, gouache, egg tempera, lacquer. Learn how to construct painting formats, stretcher bars, simple framing, building a shipping crate, fundamental drywall construc¬tion for converting a space to a studio.
Review of basic skills, remedial training for some, drawing from the model, drawing from live animals and other life that moves. Videotape someone walking or moving and watch and draw from it in Slo Mo. Even use the VCR from TV to do it. Emphasize creating scenes from life, working from all sources. Start with B&W, gradually move to color, but not too last.
Words from Ben Shahn
“In this symposium. Focus for World Unity the artist’s point of view is represented by an unholy three: an abstractionist, a non- object ivist, and a ‘realist.’ But to assume that I am here under the latter banner seems a little unfair to the other speakers; for if I am not mistaken, each of us claims for his school of painting the ‘creation of realities.’The argument is, I believe, that whereas the realistic painter merely imitates and recalls realities to the beholder ol paintings, the non-objectivist painter brings to him direct new visual reality.
“I believe that there is validity in this argument, so far as it goes; and 1 personally like a great deal of abstract art. But I think that further realities may be created within a picture, including and going beyond those of the eye. There may be the realities of human relationships, of the emotional and spiritual life, the realities of political decency, of social injustice – all those realities which affect lives, behavior, and sensitivity.
“It happens that I am an adult human being, and that as such I think and feel a great many things about life. Since I am also an artist, my most expressive language consists of lines and shapes and colors. It this language is to be regarded as a major art form, it must be broad enough to contain all these things that I think and feel.
“There have been schools of poetry, as well as of art. in which form has been presented: beautiful form, staring at us blankly with-out content. Then there has been other poetry in which the happy unity of form and meaning, the marriage of word and idea, have been so perfect as to make us exclaim, ‘What inspired art it is!’
For what in heaven’s name is form? It is only the SHAPE taken by CONTENT. Form, when created by an artist, is the shaping ol content into new kinds of order, thus bringing to content added meanings and greater expressiveness. Or, as Bob Josephy the book designer so aptly put it when he was asked by a writer just what a book designer does,4Book design is the crystal through which your muddy thoughts are made clear!* Of course the writer may have replied. ‘Well, Mr. Josephy, where would your book design be with-out my words?’ Although the writer didn’t happen to say that, I will, because 1 want to point out that there is absolutely no such thing as form without content. Form always has content of some kind even though it may be colored pigment. So that brings us back to the old question – not whether a picture has content, but what kind of content?
“I think any artist, abstract or humanistic, will agree that art is the creation of human values. It VI AY have cosmic extension. It MAY reflect cosmic abstraction. But however earnestly it reaches out into the never-never land of time/space, it will still always be an evaluation through the eyes of the observer. It may deny but can never cast off its human origin.
“Trying to get away from content seems to me a little wistful – somewhat like Icarus trying to shed the earth. And at our particular point in history it’s more than wistful; it appears almost to consort with those forces that would repudiate humankind and its culture as ultimate values. “We’re living in a time when civilization has become highly expert in the art ot destroying human beings and increasingly weak in its power to give meaning to their lives. I don’t know anyone on either side of the water or on either side of the political fence who has the slightest degree of optimism about the direction in which civilization is moving.
Last Free Issue … Subscribe Now!
The Chouinard Foundation is committed to community outreach, includins Grand V/ewmagazine. But, due to the expenses of opening the new art school, Grand View can no longer be provided free of charge. Starting in January 2004, this magazine can be sent only to paid subscribers. Given the costs of printing and postage, we know you will understand that the magazine must be self-supporting.
To continue receiving your quarterly Grand View magazine, plus other Chouinard Foundation mailings, subscribe by December 15th-$30 per year (four issues); $20 for sub¬scribers with limited income.
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Changes in Cyberspace
The new Chouinard Foundation website is now on-line, reflecting intense collaboration between Robert Perine and volunteer web designer and professional photographer Magnus Stark. This first phase of the new site will be followed by a second phase in which the gallery section will be expanded, as will information about teachers and students from the original Chouinard. Visitors will be able to click on the name of a specific artist to see a sample of that person’s work, a mugshot of the artist, and biographical/exhibition information. These additions will make this site a valuable re¬search tool for internet users. The site will also be linked to many other sites; if you have a site and would like to establish reciprocal links, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile,visit chouinardfoundation.org to learn more about what s happen-ing and to see works of art for sale in the on-line gallery. Enrich your art collection while also supporting the new school.
To thank the many people who have provided significant support to the Chouinard Foundation, a garden party was held on Sunday afternoon. September 28th. at the Chouinard House in South Pasadena. Almost 100 people attended and enjoyed guided tours of the new Chouinard Foundation School ol Art building, a silent auction, display of selections from the Chouinard Foundation art archive, and drawings for door prizes. For parting gifts, each partygoer received a Chouinard tote bag (emblazoned with John Van Hammers veld’s poster) and a copy ol the first annual report, which provides a comprehensive overview ol the C houinard Foundation’s mission, structure, and plans for the future. Special honored guests were Dave Bhang and 1 hcadora Van Runklc, two of the six Chouinard artists spotlighted in the annual report.
Published quarterly by the Chouinard
Foundation 1020 Mission St.. South Pasadena. CA 91030 Phone 626-799-0826 / infofe
ehouiiurdfoundation.org Dedicated to preserving and expanding the
legacy of Nelbcrt Chouinard Dave Tourjtf and Robert Perine. co-founders Cover: “Postcard for George.” done in George
Herms’s Assemblage class by students Cindy
Aaron and Keith Ullrich. Hack cover: Kids
working on mosaics with Ric and Lorraine
Heitzman. Right: George Herms and Square
Blue Gallery owner Jamie Wilson at Herms’s
February opening in Santa Ana.
Contents “Postcard for George” 2 “Chouinard Now” Fundraiser 3 Winquist Gift a Treasure Trove 4-6 Children’s Art Programs 7 Archives 7 Gallery Scene 7 New Instructors 7 The Black and White World of Roy Schroeder 8 George Hall 10 Taking a Stand for Abstract Art 10 Wight and Wong 10 Dinner Party 11 Marshall Family Donation 11 In Memoriam 12 Gabrielson’s Basic Art Skills Diet 13 Donation Opportunities 14 Annex Program 15 CHOUINARD GALLERY SHOWS August 7-21 Figure Drawing, Dead or Alive
August 29-October 23 Faculty Exhibition of New Works. Opening: August 29, 1-4 p. M.
November 1-December 13 John Van
Hamersveld and The Big Idea. The Graphic Legacy and Future of JVH. Opening: November 6, 7-10 p. M December 18-January 3 Student Show. Opening and Holiday Party: December 18. 7-10 p. M.
“POSTCARD FOR GEORGE”
An Assemblage Gift Cindy Aaron and Keith Ullrich, students in George Herms’s assemblage class, have been friends for years. At the beginning of their second 9-week session in class, Keith secretly suggested to Cindy, “let’s try our hand at something for George, who gave so much of himself and sparked all of us with energy, creativity, and a great sense of sharing….” Cindy liked the idea of a tribute/gift and began to think about how this piece could come together. “We had collaborated on some collage work several years ago. as sort of a fun exercise and found that we could work well together.”After adding this covert project to their regular class assignments,Keith spotted a box of many cubicles at a thrift store in Tujunga to act as the foundation for the piece. In its compartments they began placing their found objects, even a few from Herms’s “stash box,” trading the piece back and forth, working independently, yet together. They dug up other items, some from yard sales, some from a retired rail operator and electrician in Temple City, some from neighborh(x>d trash cans, some from the PCC Flea Market, and some from Cindy’s collection of junk, including Tinker Toys. In the process, they expanded their library of materials. At some point in these early stages they decided to call the piece “Postcard for George.”Each week, during their mid-evening break from Herms’s class. eith and Cindy would sneak to the parking lot to swap the piece, with each of them having it in custody for a week. Keith’s comment on the process: “Every time we traded the piece, I was inspired to build on what Cindy had added/changed. Ii was nice to see the amplifications (and toning down) of the previous elements. It was a bit like writing a nice song, one with a great melody that keeps popping up”Cindy’s comment: “We never worked on the piece together, but would discuss it at length. After one of us added a new element, we would talk about how it kx>ked in relation to everything else … we would talk about what it needed, or ask each other what would happen if a particular thing were added.” Collaborating in this open way worked and triggered a few surprises.The piece was presented to Herms on the last day of class. “We just put it on the table where all the other pieces were, but turned it backwards. When George got to “Postcard.” he turned it around and Cindy announced. “This piece is called ‘Postcard for George’which was a collaboration between Keith and myself. It’s a gift to you, George.” Herms, most likely stunned, was silent a moment, then insisted that his “Postcard” be included in the student show before taking it home. For artists with big egos, this process might be impossible, but Cindy and Keith have demonstrated the power of art-making as a group process, an idea Allan Kaprow was touting in the 1970s.
On the evening of Saturday. June 19th,the new Chduinard School of Art was a whirlpool of celebration. Hosted by the Chouinard Foundation, the evening was emceed by Nancy Cartwright.voice of Bart Simpson. Guest speakers were: South Pasadena’s mayor. Mike Ten; Michelle Deziel, curator of Contemporary Art at the Norton Simon Museum, who congratulated the schix>l on its return to the southland and enumerated Chouinard’s past accomplishments; and well-known sculptor Peter Shire, a former Chouinard student, who paid tribute to the Chouinard he remembered.Central to the evening’s activities was the silent auction, which netted more than $20,000. A raffle raised S 1.3(H). with prizes including a Harold Kramer drawing, an Otto Heino ceramic, a Bart Simpson gift basket,memberships in the Pasadena Museum of California Art. and a private tour of the Gamble House. Food and drink were prevalent and attendees enjoyed listening to the Kenton Youngstrom Trio (Kenton Youngstrom, Larry Koonse, and Putter Smith) while perusing the art. writing in their bids,and exploring the historic building.
When Bob Winquist came back from WW2, his aim was to get through Chouinard. Still in uniform, he registered. Mrs. Chouinard herself promising him a rewarding career if he would toe the line (she was that bossy with the “boys” who had been overseas fighting for democracy).Enrolling in Bill Moore’s design class, Winquist advanced aesthetically, eventually teaching classes in paper sculpture and beginning design at the original school. Later, when the school dissolved into CalArts, he stayed on to teach design in Valencia. During his 20-year teaching career, he accumulated a vast collection of student work, some left to the school collection (under his stewardship), some left behind by students, and other works retrieved from trash barrels.
Recently Winquist. moving into his second retirement, donated fifteen bulky portfolios of these class assignments to the Chouinard Foundation. Among the treasures are student designs, illustrations, drawings, cartoons, lithographs, etchings, and paintings. Some remain unsigned for posterity. A few of these are recognized artists who went on to fame and many more landed successful jobs within the wider art world. Ruth Osgood (the antelope painting above) founded the laguna Beach School of Art and Design. A ten-drawer fiat file here in our archives overflows with student samples, many of them in excellent shape. We repnxluce a few here to suggest what a future exhibit of former student work might look like.
CHILDREN’S ART PROGRAMS
Chouinard continues its plans to create the best children’s art program in the area. Under the direction of artist Vivian Flynn. the Fall/Winter sessions will offer both Saturday classes and after-school art studios from 3 to 6 pm, Monday- Thursday for students ages 8-12 and 13-17. Artists Paulina Granados, Ric Heitzman, and Maggie Veir will join the faculty in the Fall.The summer session, just past, was a big success, with weeklong classes including Mostly Mosaics, Extreme Collage, From Flipbooks to Comic Books, What’s in a Face, The Picasso Game, and Art Explorations. Guest artists Ric and Lorraine Heitzman, Merion Estes, and David Moen offered the young artists a variety of challenges that stimulated their creativity and enhanced their enthusiasm for art making Archives.The Chouinard Foundation continues its function as a depository for the work of ex-Chouinardians. Since our last issue.several donations were recorded and placed in the archives. Janet Hintzen of South Pasadena donated five paintings by Cal Pedranti (Chouinard, 1945). along with documentation of Pedranti’s career.He was a lover of opera, specifically Richard Wagner, and dedicated himself to turning music into image, even while a scholarship student at Chouinard with fellow painting students Howard Bradford. Dorothy Bowman, and James Pinto and under the sponsorship of Vincent Price. He also helped found Coronado Gallery in L. A. In 1953 he was invited by Wieland Wagner.Wagner’s grandson, to the Beyreuth Festival in Germany where reproductions of his paintings appeared in the program.
A ten year survey of Richard Shelton’s paintings will be on view from September 28 to November 18 at San Antonio College Art Gallery, 100 North Grand Ave. in Walnut. Artweek sums up the show: “Shelton’s paintings offer behind the scenes dramas and glimpses into the worlds of lost and injured souls.” ichael Wingo and George Herms both have works in Death: Artists Confronting Mortality• at the John F. Kennedy University Arts and Consciousness Gallery in Berkeley, August 4 – 26. The works of Richard Haines, Eniil Kosa Jr.. Wayne LaCom. Dan Lutz. Ben Messick. and Millard Sheets, all former Chouinardians, are being shown at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara until September 20th. The show is entitled “In Search of America.”
Instructors Misztal, Michaels, and Ohanesian Added to the CHouinard Faculty Roster Featured new teachers for Chouinard’s Fall session (September 13 January 13) are sculptor Tomasz Misztal. painter Serge Michaels, and documentary filmmaker Bill Ohancsian. Misztal. born and educated in Poland, will be teaching introductory figure sculpture; Serge Michaels, figure painting: and Ohanesian. a beginner’s documentary film class. The Fall schedule also introduces a flexible weekday schedule for children and teens, with “after school” studio workshops that meet from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, led by artist Vivian Flynn (see above). The Annex Program will also be featuring studio classes taught by Larry Bell. Nob Hadeishi, and Guy Dill
Fall classes begin September 13. Phone: 626-799-0826 for registration details.
The Black and White World of Roy Schroeder When an artist is born color blind, there’s a vital piece missing from his art palette access to accurate color. The effect must be somewhat like a musician who is tone deaf. This didn’t seem to bother Roy Schroeder. however, for he decided that drawing, being difficult enough, still had plenty of challenges for him. His focus on that skill, in fact, was complete, unwavering.Schroeder (Chouinard. 1950) was a G.I. Bill student who, during the war. became an expert on Nazi lore the uniforms, weapons, and vehicles of Hitler’s military. Those of us who remember him can say that he was totally dedicated to. and focused on. the research necessary to achieve 100’r accuracy in his drawings. I remember looking over his shoulder in Pratt’s illustration class and being astonished by his attention to detail. After he left Chouinard he worked for several advertising agencies and then maintained a freelance career doing illustrations for agencies throughout Los Angeles.This gift of Schroeder’s work, which includes 65 pieces, came through the generosity of graphic designer Terry Huntoon of Shadow Hills.
George Hall (above) already had a B.A. from Yale when he came to Chouinard in 1949. His older sister. Kay. was Mrs. Chouinard’s attorney for several years and the Hall family lived nearby in South Pasadena. George favored Bill Moore and Harry Diamond as teachers while at the school; upon graduation. Hall taught grade school in Hermosa Beach, then decided to put his energies into becoming a sculptor. He established two studios, the first in Newport Beach, a second in Costa Mesa complete with a furnace, a huge I-beam chain hoist, and plenty of room to work. He became a close friend of artist Tony DcLap who was working close by and teaching at UC Irvine. Being an enthusiastic skier, George eventually moved to Aspen. Colorado and built a home/studio on the Roaring Fork River next door to comedian Buddy Hackett.His Ambassador Auditorium fountain/sculpture (above left) in Pasadena, still glittering under sun and water, was created in 1959 while Hall was living in Newport Beach.
TAKING A STAND FOR ABSTRACT ART
When Daniel Johnson, right, took in the opening of Nathan Joseph’s show at the Sundaram-Togore Gallery in Soho last November, the opportunity arose to pose with two of his Chouinard buddies, Ron Miyashiro and Tom Ryan. He calls this group “Chouinard East.” He is l(x>king forward to teaching sculpture at the New Chouinard in the Fall. The Soho gallery, he says, has taken a stand for abstract art and is thereby the best gallery in the neighborhood.
WIGHT AND WONG
Chouinardians Karen Wight and Gary Wong posed for this photo for one simple reason: to satisfy Bob Perine’s appetite for puns. Wight, an L.A. artist now living in Santa Fe. NM. was here for the
Auction/Exhibition. Wong, our exhibitions guru, hung the show. That’s the basic- Wight and Wong of it.
Place: Harry and Fran Diamond’s home in the artists’ enclave in Mount Washington. Time: Winter, 1949
Cuisine: Japanese/Hawaiian food by Neil and Aiko Fujita
Guest instructors: Richard and Nona Haines, Bill Moore. Sueo Serisawa and his wife.
Guest students: Bob Adams. Wally Barnes, Bob Watkins.Pete Peterson, Rich and Lois Grey, Ron and Sadie Gilbert, Mel Owen. Bob and LaDoma Perine, and Janet Rich. Dinner was followed by a slide show of student work.
MARSHALL FAMILY DONATION
When artist Doris Marshall, mother to Friend of Chouinard Joan Marshall, passed away on May 13th, Joan and her sisters Linda. Shelley, and Carole requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Chouinard Foundation as an artistic tribute to their mother. Recently the family also donated to the school Doris’s many treasured personal sculpture tools from her art studio. These supplies and modeling stands are a timely gift for Tomasz Misztal’s new figure sculpture class coming up this Fall.Doris and Sylvia, her identical twin sister, virtually spent their lives together. As high school students they attended the Graphic Sketch Club and Pennsylvania Commercial Museum School, then attended the Berte Fashion School of Design in Philadelphia. Upon graduation they both moved into fashion illustration for Litt Brothers department store in the same city. During WW2 they moved to California and continued their careers by working in the aircraft industry as production illustrators / draftsmen.Throughout her life, Doris pursued her love of the fine arts, specifically classical to contemporary sculpture.drawing, and painting. Doris leaves her beautiful spirit, exceptional artistic talents, and many works of art as a legacy to her family.
In Memoriam John Schroeder (B.A., Chouinard, 1968) died of a heart attack on May 23 at his home in South Pasadena. He was 61. John earned his M.F.A. at Cal State Long Beach and went on to create LB Stone Paleontology business in 1979. He was a member of the Chouinard Foundation Advisory Board. He is survived by his wife Waynna Kato. John’s wish: “I just want to be a human being remembering my sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, and the wonders of the world, and to give thanks for my life and that would be enough.”
Ken Nishi (Chouinard, 1937) who died in 2001, was given an “In Memoriam” show (with color catalog) last May at the Rockland Center for the Arts in New York. He lived in Tappan and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. After a 1939 show at the San Francisco World’s Fair in San Francisco, Nishi worked with Millard Sheets doing murals. He served in the U.S. Army Special
(7) Pictorial composition and advanced drawing
You’re now at the state where you are doing all at the same time so things do get interesting. Like a carpenter, composition (advanced design) becomes your pictorial understructure. This goes along with more complex drawing ideas, putting several characters in context, drawn from various points of view. There was a teacher at Chouinard who was a master at teaching this. He taught a great many of the Disney animators. He would make a problem, like “draw five people seated or standing in a bus from three different positions – then, make a composition out of it.” There are some good texts on this skill also.
(8) Advanced computer graphics and animation.
Taking your new abilities to the computer, work the new programs and let the box do some of the job. Watch your images crash. Get your site started. Whine with other wannabes in chat rooms. Make images move around. This is probably the future of 2-D an.
(9) Professional practices
Real world experience and survival strategies, submission of portfolios, hustling your own work, gallery practices or non-practices (what to watch out for), legal, insurance, copyright, tax. all the usual stuff to run a small business which is what you will become if you are successful.
When I used to teach this material I could never describe the breadth of the painful professional dilemmas one would face. Ultimately I came up with a hypothetical that got into a lot of it. The premise is that for whatever reason you have to go out into the world and show your work in some context except juried shows, which are a huge rip-off and truly suck. Anyway, you are faced with just three possibilities. Make your choice and come out fighting:
a. A furniture store has agreed to put your paintings above the sofas for a one-person show. The surroundings aren’t too wonderful. None of your friends w ill come near the place but all your relatives and your mom and dad will proudly come by and bring their pals, and you will probably sell some work and try out all the Barcaloungers in the place.
b. A top-of-the-line gallery is sort of interested in you, but you ain’t gonna ever have a show there. They will put some of your stuff in back, say works on paper. You can say you’re in a BIGTIMEGALLERY to your artist friends who will really get envious, go to the openings, hang out with the stars, see how the real world operates. You will feel like a dolt. Nobody will talk to you at the openings but you might make some contacts for later on.
c. A middle of the line gallery is actually interested in your work! They will give you a show! You don’t even have to pay for the announcements! Nobody will pour wine on your head and look through you like you’re invisible! You’ll sell the painting on the announcement! Might even get a review! Now your buds will really gnash their teeth! BUT. the deal is, you will have to have sex with the dealer (your choice of what brand). So, bubba. which way do you go? You see, there are no easy choices. Each one has its hard part and 1 guess that is a lot of what the art career is about. By the way. 1 will let you know which choice about 75% of the students I sprang this on went for. You will be surprised.
(10) Advanced painting At this point, materials, drawing, ideas, history should be assimilated. The next plateau is more difficult to describe because it isn’t a list any more. It is more like four dimensional choices they all interrelate. And these choices aren’t without consequences because they begin to describe you (favorite story: man comes into a psychiatrist s office filled with various chairs and couches; shrink says, “Come on in. have a seat – by the way, everything counts!”). So you are faced between choices of style (mother’s milk of 2-D art) and content. Proportions of. emphasis on. Etc. It may well be that the computer will supplant your canvas. Anything can happen. Painting doesn’t ever get better (one big lie out there), it just gets different. Your choices will become your evolution and definition. You will find out just how good you are or not. You might become a part of history. You might choose to stay in a comfort zone along the way. You might want to fly towards the sun and crash into the ocean. It’s all a choice.
Nelbert Chouinard Serigraph
Still available for donors of $1,000 or more, to support the Chouinard Foundation, is the special Cirrus Editions serigraph in 50+ colors. This “Eucalyptus Style” painting (circa 1915) was done plein air in the Arroyo Seco northwest of South Pasadena. The edition was limited to 375, and there are still some left. Please phone 626-799-0826 for further information.
Register Now for Fall/Winter Classes
Course catalogs are now available. Call for your free copy: 626-799-0826 or write Chouinard Foundation. 1020 Mission Street, South Pasadena. CA 91030 or e-mail email@example.com
How to Subscribe to Grand View
If you haven’t already subscribed to Grand View magazine, you may send your check for $30 (S20 if on a limited income), made out to the Chouinard Foundation, 1020 Mission St.. South Pasadena, CA 91030. You may also subscribe by phone – 626- 799-0826 – giving office manager Rosemary Do your credit card number and address.
Copies of CHOUINARD: An Art Vision Betrayed and California Romantics arc also available for $25 and $15, as well as a few back issues of Grand View. Phone 626-799-0826 for further information.
Other Support Opportunities
Support the Chouinard cause and share our passion by wearing a Chouinard T-shirt or carrying a tote bag. We have a limited supply of each available at $20 each (plus $1.65 sales tax). For T-shirts, please indicate whether you want medium. large, X-large. or XX-large.
Note: The Chouinard Foundation operates primarily on pro bono support. The founder/directors and Advisory Board have worked without pay for five years. Supporting an outstanding faculty and staff and maintaining the facilities requires a significant amount of money.
The CHOUINARD ANNEX is a special program designed lo bring artist/students into the environment of master artists’ studios, creating a potent combination of rcal lime process and conventional learning. So lar, many students have raved about laking drawing at Laddie John Dill’s studio in Venice, and we thank Laddie lor his generosity in stalling this innovative and influential program. For the Hall, we have the Larry Bell/ Nob lladeishi workshop entitled “Process ami Perception.” as well as Guy Dill’s “Phe Dynamics of Visual Orienialion.” both of which validate our initial concept of bringing students closer to the studio experience. A huge thank you to larry, Nob. and Guy for joining the program and doing it for little »>r no money, which truly illustrates their commitment to impart a lot of what they experienced at the original Chouinard. As we learn the ropes from Chouinard Annex Venice, we will begin lo enlist Chouinard artists from other parts of the world. Moving slowly, wc hope to add a class in hand tinting photography by Jill Saltier in San I uis Obisbo. a Peter Shire drawing class in he ho Park. and perhaps a Juanita Jimenez ceramics class on the desert near Twenty Nine Palms. From there, we will undoubtedly find other Chouinard artists from New York to Tokyo. Santa K* to Berlin all expressing interest in joining this program.
Stay tuned as the Chouinard Annex satellites multiply, all of them connected to central headquarters in South Pasadena.
Published quarterly by the Chouinard Foundation 102(1 Mission Street. South Pasadena. California 91030 Phone 626-794M)82(» ar(fr chouinardfoundation.org Dedicated to presers ing and expanding the legacy of Nelbert Chouinard Co-founded by Dave Tourje and Robert Perine Front rover: (‘oUagc portrait by Xiomara Garza, done in I ivian I Ivnn s Saturday morning class. Hack cover: Two versions of the Chouinard rear entrance, done in Dave Hrain \ / ‘all semester class by students Kat Martinez and Dusty Nacole.
For those of you who have yet to visit the Chouinard school facilities, please know that remodel construction is running smoothly, though slowly. As of this writing all windows and doors have been installed and primed. The central heating and air conditioning system is installed, including a new. larger gas meter to handle the needs of the school. New outlets and lights have been installed in all studios. Interior walls are up and dry walled, and the restrooms equipped with new toilets.Yet to do: Dry wall in galleries, paint inte¬rior and exterior, molding, carpeting. Ilourescent lighting, and the phone system.
Thanks to the “Friends of Chouinard” much expensive equipment lias been donated to the school and is being stored there, ready to be used. Office Depot has contributed 5 five drawer flat files and 16 four drawer filing cabinets. Herman Miller has donated 8 contemporary work stations for our offices. All carpeting has been promised from Interface. Inc. These bounties are welcome indeed and will contribute to making us look professional in every way. not to mention making the Chouinard building a show place for future visitors.
Cultural Currents: Chouinard and the Central Coast Exhibition at the San Luis Obispo Art Center If the Chouinard Art Institute created cultural waves in its 50-odd years of existence. the ripples from those currents carried students in all directions. It may be possible to find exChouinardians in every state in the Union. In California alone, graduates have hidden away in such cozy places as Cambria Pines. Santa Barbara. Big Sur. Monterey, and C’armel. conjoined communities that demogra phers call the Central Coast.Though curator Tim Anderson is not a Chouinard grad. he caught the Nelbert fever and spent the last year planning this excellent tribute to our brothers and sisters upstate, some 25 artists with 80 works. While the show is not as broad as the 2001 Oceanside show, it does not lack for quality. Some of the same artists are present Phil Paradise, Millard Sheets. Emil Kosa Jr.. Clarence Hinklc. and Phil Dike, artists who spent many of their later years in the north, away from smogville. It was the land after all. that seduced and chal¬lenged these landscapes from the beginning, and there are still virgin stretches of coastal bluffs and farm lands viewable from the 101 freeway. “Gaviota Pass” and “Arroyo Grande” were common expressions among these painters, names as important as d* Arches and Winsor Newton. Artists that caught my eye in this exhibition were M. Phyllis Fox. Tom Dixon, and Robert Gray. Others I already knew were Merle Bassett. Jill Sattler. and Sally Tippman. It was good to meet Althca Harper, niece of Althca Ulbcr. one of Mrs. Chouinard’s first teachers on Eighth Street in Los Angeles. Several pieces of missing history letters, photos, sketches are well displayed in glass cases near the paintings. Other artists worth checking out are John Barnard. William Gault, and Shirley Pittman. The show opened February 14th and runs through March.
With the aid of half a dozen electric heaters, eight new model stands built by I.on Paleno. unexpected challenges (like keeping sawdust out of art supplies and enduring the hammering), and tables continuously repositioned the winter session was off and running on January 26th. Until electrical circuits were recently upgraded, there were a few moments of frustration when teachers or students inadvertently overloaded the antiquated wiring. The school, until this moment, has resembled an Alpine halfway house sheltered against the elements, albeit those elements are mild California ones. Now that the air conditioning heating unit is installed and activated the comfort level has risen appreciably. Now it’s a warm school, a place of energetic activity. Some 120 students signed up for 16 class offerings for the Winter session and more are expected in the Spring. Granules of charcoal and scraps of paper drift towards the floor, unaware of becoming the residue of serious art making.
Summer@Chouinard This summer will bring further innovations at 1020 Mission Street. Besides continuing the current roster of Open Program classes for adults and weekend classes for children and teens, there w ill be a form of Art Camp (daily classes for children and teens) and a Friday afternoon open house. Called Art Portal, this free program (developed and guided by Advisory Board member Mala Frank Gavin) will include studio opportunities, demonstrations, free lesson plans for art teachers at public schools, and lots of talk about art. Fach Friday will be capped with a showing and discussion of an art-related film (bring your own popcorn). For more information, please phone 626.799.0826.
In the Batter’s Box Now that the Open Program is up and running. a faculty committee (F.d Flynn, Michael Kilgore. RobertPerine. and Michael Wingo) has begun working on finalizing the full time Certificate Program. While still in the planning stages, the program definitely will have lots of drawing, design, and painting. All three will be included in students” schedules during the entire three-year program, along with several semesters each of sculpture, art history, and electives including photography, graphic design, illustration, printmaking. ceramics, and digital arts. Still to be decided are the calendar schedule and methods of assessment. A portfolio review will be required for admission to this program. The over arching goal is to provide a program of concentrated art studies where student artists and professional artists work together to learn.
One of the first artists consulted about the new school’s curriculum was Larry Bell. On top of his wish list was the idea of sending students into the studios of well-known artists, there to see firsthand how art-making happens and how an artist deals with the real world. Taking his suggestion to heart, we established the “Annex” program, named after the old Chouinard Annex on Seventh Street in Los Angeles.
The first artist to support this program by teaching a class in his studio is Laddie John Dill, with Larry Bell, Guy Dill, and others to be announced in the Spring. We believe this program is unique among California art schools.
TheChouinard Gallery Shows in the Planning Stages The follow ing exhibition ideas are in the hopper for execution during the next two years. They are not necessarily listed in ord because the schedule is not yet firmed up. Curator organizers u be selected from the Advisory Board and faculty.
Advisory Board Exhibition Fred Hammerslev’s earlv work Women of Chouinard Exhibition* Chouinard Surf/Rock Underground Show John Van Hamersveld Poster Show Chouinard and the California Watercolor School Student and Faculty Show (once a year) Emerson Woclffer’s Personal Collection
*The Women of Chouinard Show committee, headed by Mala Frank-Gavin, held its first meeting on Sunday, February 16th. They will meet every two weeks. This committee will give voice to the many women inspired by their time at Chouinard. A starter list of some sixty artists has been compiled including such early pioneers as Edith Head Mary Blair. Corinnc Hartley, and Reta Scott. I he committee will be calling for slides and e-images in the near future. Watch for a mailer with more information, soon.
Otto Heino These photos were taken by Nancy Flauber when Dave Tourje. Lou Paleno. and Bob Perine paid an October visit to Otto I leino’s ceramics lab in Ojai. Otto and his deceased wife, Vivika.established the ceramics department at Chouinard back in the ’50s and built the school’s reputation as a pottery center. Vivikas designs and Otto’s technical expertise became legendary. At 86, Heino is still going strong.daily emptying his kilns of beautiful vases and other earthenware. His work is known world wide. His lab and showroom in rural Ojai were once the province of ceramist Beatrice Wood who passed away several years ago at 106. Heino is an important contributor to the Chouinard Foundation and has offered his expertise when the new school is ready to tackle a ceramics program.
LACMA Women visit
On Thursday. February 12th. 22 women from the L. A. County Museum of Art assembled for morning coffee and snacks at the Chouinard I louse where they took a brief tour and were updated on progress at the new Chouinard. After a Q and A session, during which Dave Tourje. Bob Perine. Nob I ladeishi. and Chuck Swenson recounted the Chouinard Story (past and present), the group moved to the school on Mission Street and continued a discussion of our present goals as an institution. Catalogs and reports were handed out and a few Chouinard books sold. The general reaction was surprised enthusiasm and personal interest in offering support. We salute LACMA for their interest in the advancement of art education and in our endeavors specifically.
The amount of extant student work is probably large, judging from the number of students enrolled at the school over the years. The Chouinard archives steadily grow as people uncover hidden treasures. I f you have work to preserve. consider our archives as a safe home
.A portfolio of original Disney comic book drawings was donated by Caspar Vaccaro. a close friend of I.oil Paleno s. The value of such original ink drawings varies according to which art isl did I hem and how old they are. so appraisals a/so vary accordingly Interested parties can call Chouinard I nundation for more in formation 626-799-0826.
During the past quarter several portfolios of art work by early students were gifted to the Chouinard Foundation. The work of Elizabeth Talbot-Martin (left and page nine top) was rescued from the city dump when an alert employee spotted her portfolio and decided to preserve it (which was against trash heap rules so we won’t mention any names). Kathleen Chcsley s portraits (above and opposite) came to us through Kharen Mash in. a former and present day Chouinard student (see pg. 4). Chcsley graduated in 1936.
KPFK / Kugelman interview On Friday noon. January K)” KPFK broadcast a half hour interview conducted by Jay Kugelman at the Chouinard School during its December I41’1 Open House. He toured the school with Dave Tourje and Bob Perine and thrust the microphone at Chouinar dians Ed Flynn. Diana Vitale, Gary Wong. Boyd Elder, and Mala Frank Gavin. The mood was festive, the comments informative, and the background noises indicative of a friendly, busy (boisterous?) affair. On that landmark day our first group of students enrolled. Audio tape copies are available at the Foundation.
Jirayr Zorthian The L A. Times tabbed him “Eccentric Painter, Colorful Personality.” an apt title. When his daughter Seyburn brought him to a Chouinard House event last year, his 5* 3″ frame was appropriately dressed in colorful attire.I lis interest in what we were doing was obviously enthusiastic. I lis “Altadcna Ranch” a 12-acre piece of property became an ongoing, free-form habitat that grew over the years into a kind of env ironmental artwork for his friends to enjoy. The parties held there are legendary, attended by notables including Richard Feynman. who took his first art lessons from Zorthian, as described in his book. Surely You re Joking. Mr. Feynman.Zorthian died at 92 in Huntington Memorial Hospital and is survived by his daughter Seyburn (to whom we extend our condolences), a Chouinardian, and four other children.
John Hench John I lench. who died on Friday. February 5th at age 95. had a 64-year career working for Disney. Involved with live action films as well as animated films. Hench s last project was helping resurrect Destino. a 1940s collaboration with Salvador Dali and Disney. The film was shelved in 1946 for lack of funds.
Completed in 2003. it has already been nominated for an Academy Award. I le was told this before he died.
Hench was also active in creating all of Disneys theme parks and did the special effects on 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea, which won an Academy Award. John Hench received art training at Chouinard as well as Otis and the Art Student’s League in New York. In the last three years he contributed generously to the Chouinard Foundation.
The Gabrielson Basic Artist Skills Diet (cont. front Grand View 14)
Parts 4 and 5:
(4) Basic Design and Color Theory Using colored paper to create fundamental designs, study nature and use it as an evolution to visual concepts, understand the definitions and language of visual ideas (if you don’t go any further with this program, at least you will know the lingo at art openings), spacial relationships, planes, positive-negative, the whole thing. With color, systems of additive & subtractive color, study of light, mixing, matching, advancing-receding ideas, paint a twelve step grey scale from white to black in even moves on and on. VERY good books are available for this material.
(5) Art History (to be studied along with everything else)An aside: Art History teaching is [oftenJ a disaster. It is [usu¬ally) ow ned by PhDs who have had the life sucked out of them by the arduous process they go through, their own obsession with their specialty makes other forms of art redundant to them. You will hear the line, “well, art was terrific until… and then it all went to hell.” Normally, the Renaissance or around then. Colleges run these courses in mind-numbing assembly lines that emphasize “what’s gonna be on the test?”
The primary text tends to be I l.W. Janson s History of Art can induce lifelong spinal problems when carried in a backpack. But it is not a bad outline to follow up until 1940 or so. You could use it as a structure and then follow up on artists that intrigue you. I also believe that real artists ought to teach art history. Period. Because art history is so rich and so vast it is difficult to condense it. You always wind up with too many artists and too many people left out. My suggestion would be to speed-read Janson, take some notes, hit the highlights and go back later. Note: leave architecture for your old age or your European trip. You get into cathedrals and maybe you emerge five years later all covered with dust.
Actually, it is more fun to see them in the flesh than in bad black and white photos anyway. Maybe you can write the trip off. too.So. you want to start somewhere. Well, go for the primitives, cave paintings. African sculpture, the work of very early people. Then on to the Egyptians. Geeks. Etruscans.
Byzantines, all those middle east people. Then get into the Renaissance Mannerists, and with the Italians: C’aravaggio. Raphael. Da Vinci. Michelangelo: the Dutch: Vcrmeer (check out a video of Girl with a Pearl Fai ring (Baroque), Rembrandt. Hals, then there is Bosch (a giant). Rubens, Poussin (in France). Velasquez (in Spain). Incredibly rich territory. See how they organize their scenes, use light and composition to create drama and mystery. These people are master illusionists. Next, roughly 1800 to 1900. Another wealthy time: Goya, Delacroix. Ingres, Gericault, Daumier. Turner. Manet (Manet studied Velasquez and Edward Hopper studied Manet; you can see the legacy in their work), Courbet. Degas, at least. The Impressionists: Monet is the best I think. Then Post Impressionists: Van Gogh (every college student loves ol* Vince). Seurat. Cezanne. About this time a group of artists was mov ing towards describing the emotional landscape too Ensor. Munch, and on to the Americans finally, Eakins. Whistler, and Bingham.
Attention should also be paid to the new mediums coming up from commercial processes. Japanese wood blocks, etching, scrigraph and stone lithography (some museums have most excellent collections of them). Around 1850 or so commercial illustrators became visible and around 1900 you had Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, James Montgomery Flagg. and eventually, in the 1920s, Norman Rockwell, a guy who could paint like a bandit. Scrape off the sugar and give him a chance.From 1890 to 1945 out of Cezanne you have the cubists. Picasso and Braquc, the Fauves, Matisse, the futurists (many were sort of Cubists). Surrealists Dali, Magritte, DeChirico; German Expressionists Grotz. Beckman, Nolde, Kollwitz; and more pure painters like Soutine. Kandinsky, and Mondrian (excellent example of how to take nature and move it to abstraction); eccentrics like Bacon. Rousseau. Redon. Beardsley, Klec: Americans like Homer. Sargent, and Maynard Dixon: Mexicans Orozco and Rivera, and four of the best American painters of the time Benton, Hopper. Wood, and Bellows. Not to ignore Georgia O’Kecfc and the group misnamed “ashcan.” and the incredible photographs coming out of the Midwest and South during the depression and later on. the startling work of Diane Arbus. Read her biography.In reading about previous artists you also see the lineage of their work, or who influenced them. For instance. Velasquez to Manet to Edward Hopper. OrCoravaggio to Manet to Robert Henri. And Manet to Homer to George Bellows. Artists seldom spring in all originality from the head of Zeus. We need to acknowledge our precedents.So now we arrive at 1945: because of the vast artist im-migra- tion from Europe (DeKooning, Hoffmann, Mondrian. and on and on) there was an evolution in America from representational to the non-objective that took the art world by firestorm. I don’t think the realist-inclined artist can learn much from this work, though it is to be respected and there are still elements of basic painting to be looked at. However, from that time forward I think some stand out like Warhol.Bacon again. Hopper again. Ed Ruscha. Segal. Cuevas. and whatever current artist takes your fancy. This was also a time of intense graphic output so you can look at comic strips, animated films, photography, and territories like landscape painting, western art, political cartoonists, illustrators, commercials, you name it. The list starts to look like a bad Janson nightmare where you dream you have all this stuff to remember and the big test is tomorrow and you haven’t studied at all.So. a study of art history does the following: I. Keeps you from being a little too smug when you do something good; 2. Gives you a basic visual dictionary and respect for all that has gone before you; 3. Gives you examples of where to start when you want to pursue a line of inquiry; 4. If you’re really slick you can borrow part of an image to help you out of a tough place (steal), which is now legal under the dubious concept of “appropriation” which is another way of saying you are too dumb to think up an idea yourself. Art History should always be around you. There will always be new, terrific discoveries.
An E&E Person Goes Canvasing Many educators believe that about eight to ten percent of humans are audio-dominant learners, twenty percent visual dominant, and the remainder (seventy percent) kinesthetic dominant. In short. Most folks like to be given hands on. movement oriented lessons on how the world works. Our feelytactile senses obviously provide very direct ways of experiencing this world, even though sight and sound (through eye and ear) remain powerful elements in the learning process.In a past issue of The Publication. I wrote a bit about the cooperation of Eye&Ear in the functioning of our guidance systems, how that cooperation was born of two distinct needs, yet could be “uncoopcrated” and analyzed. Recently I performed a simple phone canvas of three do/en artists (eighteen males and eighteen females) to see if I could learn more about how the separation of hearing and seeing offered clues as to how our emotions differ from one to the other. I posed three basic questions, then asked my can vasees for concrete examples:
1. I las listening to a piece of music ever given you goose bumps, brought a lump to your throat, or tears to your eyes?
2. Has looking at a painting or other work of art ever done the same?
3. If “yes” to both questions, can you tell me the difference(s) in your emotional reactions between music and art?I then asked each person for examples of music and visual art that routinely activated these emotions.There was not a single “no” to question I. The word “absolutely” far outnumbered simple yeses. Women, especially, answered without hesitation, which was hardly a surprise. Question 2 generally elicited hesitation, but only one artist gave a flat out no. Question 3 was a different matter, however, required much cogitation as respondents struggled hard for words to express the emotional differences I suspected were there. Haifa dozen said “no difference” and as many said “very little difference.” The other two dozen groped around for an explanation of the distinctions they felt but had trouble pinning them down. My notes reveal these general suppositions: Music is more direct, more visceral. Visual art is more cerebral, quicker to move, its emotional effects having less lasting power. Music is more intense, more like an epiphany or a revelation. It often calls up visions or memories, sustains them, resurrects them when the music is later repeated. Art packs more of a wallop, like raw electricity. For one artist it was a matter of the solar plcxis vs the head. Another told me that, to her, music was much more “personal,” painting and sculpture “bigger than life.” Another said that the best artists and composers are often “in touch with a higher power,” and that you can feel this in their works and will react accordingly. Still another claimed that music took a more direct path to the heart while in painting or sculpture the media was “kind of in the way.” Ann Ahlswede, a painter from Del Mar. told me that when she looks at an impressive painting the taste in her mouth changes, like she’s suddenly “tasting sherbet.” Her sense of taste, then, is apparently crossed up w ith her sight. According to a 19X5 Scientific American article, ten percent of humans have a rare cross over of E&E, as well. When hearing a D note, such persons may see a flash of green. When looking at red. they may hear a (i note in their head. My respondents w ere again in a bit of trouble when trying to remember which piece of music caused goose bumps or made them cry. I anticipated that my list would be varied, as personal as each individual, yet there were a few surprise repeats. One tenth of those polled picked Edward Hopper as their main tear jerker. There were six Beethoven lovers, as many opera buffs (mostly Puccinithc romantic). There were three Rothko fans (lets hear it for deep simplicity). two who were permanently changed by Martin Puryear. two by Rodin, two Sorolla worshippers, two for Deibenkorn, a trio who lost it in front of Monet, and two more ready to die for a piece of I. M. Pei. The remainder, as I suspected, ran the gamut, from Shosta kovitz to Picasso to Joplin to Ellington to Miles Davis and to whoever else moved them. These luminaries and more had re earned the distinction of raising the hair on the necks of the unw ary or dampening their Kleenexs. or both. Two interiewecs thought they had entered heaven w hen they walked into the Sistine Chapel. Eat your heart out. Applewhite!
One factor which I could not poll, of course, was what specific kinds of buried memories in these people actually triggered a particular emotional response when illuminated by a particular piece of art or music. A second flaw, you may say, is that I limited my sampling to artists, most of whom would quite predictably react to the great all time leaders in their own discipline. I also wonder if I should have made a record of the music and art that occasionally reduces non-artists (the General Public) to unsuspecting sots. Would their emotional responses have been substantially different, and therefore affect my list? I apologize, but I’m leaving the answers to those questions for another day when the energy is there to go canvasing again. If anyone wants to pick up where this discussion leaves off. I would be grateful to hear about it.Robert Serine. June 1997
Published quarterly by the Chouinard Foundation 1020 Mission St.. South Pasadena. CA 91030 Phone 626-799-0826 / infofe ehouiiurdfoundation.org Dedicated to preserving and expanding the legacy of Nelbcrt Chouinard Dave Tourjtf and Robert Perine. co-founders Cover: “Postcard for George.” done in George Herms’s Assemblage class by students Cindy Aaron and Keith Ullrich. Hack cover: Kids working on mosaics with Ric and Lorraine Heitzman. Right: George Herms and Square Blue Gallery owner Jamie Wilson at Herms’s February opening in Santa Ana.
Contents “Postcard for George” 2 “Chouinard Now” Fundraiser 3 Winquist Gift a Treasure Trove 4-6 Children’s Art Programs 7 Archives 7 Gallery Scene 7 New Instructors 7 The Black and White World of Roy Schroeder 8 George Hall 10 Taking a Stand for Abstract Art 10 Wight and Wong 10 Dinner Party 11 Marshall Family Donation 11 In Memoriam 12 Gabrielson’s Basic Art Skills Diet 13 Donation Opportunities 14 Annex Program 15 CHOUINARD GALLERY SHOWS August 7-21 Figure Drawing, Dead or Alive? August 29-October 23 Faculty Exhibition of New Works. Opening: August 29, 1-4 p. M. November 1-December 13 John Van Hamersveld and The Big Idea. The Graphic Legacy and Future of JVH. Opening: November 6, 7-10 p. M December 18-January 3 Student Show. Opening and Holiday Party: December 18. 7-10 p. M.
“POSTCARD FOR GEORGE” An Assemblage Gift Cindy Aaron and Keith Ullrich, students in George Herms’s assemblage class, have been friends for years. At the beginning of their second 9-week session in class, Keith secretly suggested to Cindy, “let’s try our hand at something for George, who gave so much of himself and sparked all of us with energy, creativity, and a great sense of sharing….” Cindy liked the idea of a tribute/gift and began to think about how this piece could come together. “We had collaborated on some collage work several years ago. as sort of a fun exercise and found that we could work well together.”
After adding this covert project to their regular class assignments, Keith spotted a box of many cubicles at a thrift store in Tujunga to act as the foundation for the piece. In its compartments they began placing their found objects, even a few from Herms’s “stash box,” trading the piece back and forth, working independently, yet together. They dug up other items, some from yard sales, some from a retired rail operator and electrician in Temple City, some from neighborh(x>d trash cans, some from the PCC Flea Market, and some from Cindy’s collection of junk, including Tinker Toys. In the process, they expanded their library of materials. At some point in these early stages they decided to call the piece “Postcard for George.”
Each week, during their mid-evening break from Herms’s class. Keith and Cindy would sneak to the parking lot to swap the piece, with each of them having it in custody for a week. Keith’s comment on the process: “Every time we traded the piece, I was inspired to build on what Cindy had added/changed. Ii was nice to see the amplifications (and toning down) of the previous elements. It was a bit like writing a nice song, one with a great melody that keeps popping up ” Cindy’s comment: “We never worked on the piece together, but would discuss it at length. After one of us added a new element, we would talk about how it kx>ked in relation to everything else … we would talk about what it needed, or ask each other what would happen if a particular thing were added.” Collaborating in this open way worked and triggered a few surprises.
The piece was presented to Herms on the last day of class. “We just put it on the table where all the other pieces were, but turned it backwards. When George got to “Postcard.” he turned it around and Cindy announced. “This piece is called ‘Postcard for George’ which was a collaboration between Keith and myself. It’s a gift to you, George.” Herms, most likely stunned, was silent a moment, then insisted that his “Postcard” be included in the student show before taking it home. For artists with big egos, this process might be impossible, but Cindy and Keith have demonstrated the power of art-making as a group process, an idea Allan Kaprow was touting in the 1970s.
On the evening of Saturday. June 19th, the new Chouinard School of Art was a w hirlpool of celebration. Hosted by the Chouinard Foundation, the evening was emceed by Nancy Cartwright. voice of Bart Simpson. Guest speakers were: South Pasadena’s mayor. Mike Ten; Michelle Deziel, curator of Contemporary Art at the Norton Simon Museum, who congratulated the schix>l on its return to the southland and enumerated Chouinard’s past accomplishments; and well-known sculptor Peter Shire, a former Chouinard student, who paid tribute to the Chouinard he remembered.
Central to the evening’s activities was the silent auction, which netted more than $20,000. A raffle raised S 1.3(H). with prizes including a Harold Kramer drawing, an Otto Heino ceramic, a Bart Simpson gift basket, memberships in the Pasadena Museum of California Art. and a private tour of the Gamble House. Food and drink were prevalent and attendees enjoyed listening to the Kenton Youngstrom Trio (Kenton Youngstrom, Larry Koonse, and Putter Smith) while perusing the art. writing in their bids, and exploring the historic building.
When Bob Winquist came back from WW2, his aim was to get through Chouinard. Still in uniform, he registered. Mrs. Chouinard herself promising him a rewarding career if he would toe the line (she was that bossy with the “boys” who had been overseas fighting for democracy). Enrolling in Bill Moore’s design class, Winquist advanced aesthetically, eventually teaching classes in paper sculpture and beginning design at the original school. Later, when the school dissolved into CalArts, he stayed on to teach design in Valencia. During his 20-year teaching career, he accumulated a vast collection of student work, some left to the school collection (under his stewardship), some left behind by students, and other works retrieved from trash barrels.
Recently Winquist. moving into his second retirement, donated fifteen bulky portfolios of these class assignments to the Chouinard Foundation. Among the treasures are student designs, illustrations, drawings, cartoons, lithographs, etchings, and paintings. Some remain unsigned for posterity. A few of these are recognized artists who went on to fame and many more landed successful jobs within the wider art world. Ruth Osgood (the antelope painting above) founded the l^aguna Beach School of Art and Design. A ten drawer fiat file here in our archives overflows with student samples, many of them in excellent shape. We repnxluce a few here to suggest what a future exhibit of former student work might look like.
Chouinard continues its plans to create the best children’s art program in the area. Under the direction of artist Vivian Flynn. the Fall/Winter sessions will offer both Saturday classes and after-school art studios from 3 to 6 pm, Monday- Thursday for students ages 8-12 and 13-17. Artists Paulina Granados, Ric Heitzman, and Maggie Veir will join the faculty in the Fall.The summer session, just past, was a big success, with weeklong classes including Mostly Mosaics, Extreme Collage, From Flipbooks to Comic Books, What’s in a Face, The Picasso Game, and Art Explorations. Guest artists Ric and Lorraine Heitzman, Merion Estes, and David Moen offered the young artists a variety of challenges that stimulated their creativity and enhanced their enthusiasm for art making.
Archives The Chouinard Foundation continues its function as a depository for the work of ex-Chouinardians. Since our last issue. several donations were recorded and placed in the archives. Janet Hintzen of South Pasadena donated five paintings by Cal Pedranti (Chouinard, 1945). along with documentation of Pedranti’s career.
He was a lover of opera, specifically Richard Wagner, and dedicated himself to turning music into image, even while a scholarship student at Chouinard with fellow painting students Howard Bradford. Dorothy Bowman, and James Pinto and under the sponsorship of Vincent Price. He also helped found Coronado Gallery in L. A. In 1953 he was invited by Wieland Wagner. Wagner’s grandson, to the Beyreuth Festival in Germany where reproductions of his paintings appeared in the program.
Gallery Scene A ten year survey of Richard Shelton’s paintings will be on view from September 28 to November 18 at San Antonio College Art Gallery, 100 North Grand Ave. in Walnut. Artweek sums up the show: “Shelton’s paintings offer behind the scenes dramas and glimpses into the worlds of lost and injured souls.” Michael Wingo and George Herms both have works in Death: Artists Confronting Mortality• at the John F. Kennedy University Arts and Consciousness Gallery in Berkeley, August 4 – 26. The works of Richard Haines, Eniil Kosa Jr.. Wayne LaCom. Dan Lutz. Ben
Messick. and Millard Sheets, all former Chouinardians, are being shown at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara until September 20th. The show is entitled “In Search of America.”
Instructors Misztal, Michaels, and Ohanesian Added to the CHouinard Faculty Roster Featured new teachers for Chouinard’s Fall session (September 13 January 13) are sculptor Tomasz Misztal. painter Serge Michaels, and documentary filmmaker Bill Ohancsian. Misztal. born and educated in Poland, will be teaching introductory figure sculpture; Serge Michaels, figure painting: and Ohanesian. a beginner’s documentary film class. The Fall schedule also introduces a flexible weekday schedule for children and teens, with “after school” studio workshops that meet from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, led by artist Vivian Flynn (see above). The Annex Program will also be featuring studio classes taught by Larry Bell. Nob Hadeishi, and Guy Dill (see page 15). Fall classes begin September 13.
Phone: 626-799-0826 for registration details.
The Black and White World of Roy Schroeder
When an artist is born color blind, there’s a vital piece missing from his art palette access to accurate color. The effect must be somewhat like a musician who is tone deaf. This didn’t seem to bother Roy Schroeder. however, for he decided that drawing, being difficult enough, still had plenty of challenges for him. His focus on that skill, in fact, was complete, unwavering. Schroeder (Chouinard. 1950) was a G.I. Bill student who, during the war. became an expert on Nazi lore the uniforms, weapons, and vehicles of Hitler’s military. Those of us who remember him can say that he was totally dedicated to. and focused on. the research necessary to achieve 100’r accuracy in his drawings. I remember looking over his shoulder in Pratt’s illustration class and being astonished by his attention to detail. After he left Chouinard he worked for several advertising agencies and then maintained a freelance career doing illustrations for agencies throughout Los Angeles.
This gift of Schroeder’s work, which includes 65 pieces, came through the generosity of graphic designer Terry Huntoon of Shadow Hills.
GEORGE HALL George Hall (above) already had a B.A. from Yale when he came to Chouinard in 1949. His older sister. Kay. was Mrs. Chouinard’s attorney for several years and the Hall family lived nearby in South Pasadena. George favored Bill Moore and Harry Diamond as teachers while at the school; upon graduation. Hall taught grade school in Hermosa Beach, then decided to put his energies into becoming a sculptor. He established two studios, the first in Newport Beach, a second in Costa Mesa complete with a furnace, a huge I-beam chain hoist, and plenty of room to work. He became a close friend of artist Tony DcLap who was working close by and teaching at UC Irvine. Being an enthusiastic skier, George eventually moved to Aspen. Colorado and built a home/studio on the Roaring Fork River next door to comedian Buddy Hackett.
His Ambassador Auditorium fountain/sculpture (above left) in Pasadena, still glittering under sun and water, was created in 1959 while Hall was living in Newport Beach.
TAKING A STAND FOR ABSTRACT ART Left: When Daniel Johnson, right, took in the opening of Nathan Joseph’s show at the Sundaram-Togore Gallery in Soho last November, the opportunity arose to pose with two of his Chouinard buddies, Ron Miyashiro and Tom Ryan. He calls this group “Chouinard East.” He is l(x>king forward to teaching sculpture at the New Chouinard in the Fall. The Soho gallery, he says, has taken a stand for abstract art and is thereby the best gallery in the neighborhood.
WIGHT AND WONG Chouinardians Karen Wight and Gary Wong posed for this photo for one simple reason: to satisfy Bob Perine’s appetite for puns. Wight, an L.A. artist now living in Santa Fe. NM. was here for the “Chouinard Now!” Auction/Exhibition. Wong, our exhibitions guru, hung the show. That’s the basic- Wight and Wong of it.
DINNER PARTY Place: Harry and Fran Diamond’s home in the artists’ enclave in Mount Washington. Time: Winter, 1949 Cuisine: Japanese/Hawaiian food by Neil and Aiko Fujita Guest instructors: Richard and Nona Haines, Bill Moore. Sueo Serisawa and his wife. Guest students: Bob Adams. Wally Barnes, Bob Watkins. Pete Peterson, Rich and Lois Grey, Ron and Sadie Gilbert, Mel Owen. Bob and LaDoma Perine, and Janet Rich. Dinner was followed by a slide show of student work.
MARSHALL FAMILY DONATION When artist Doris Marshall, mother to Friend of Chouinard Joan Marshall, passed away on May 13th, Joan and her sisters Linda. Shelley, and Carole requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Chouinard Foundation as an artistic tribute to their mother. Recently the family also donated to the school Doris’s many treasured personal sculpture tools from her art studio. These supplies and modeling stands are a timely gift for Tomasz Misztal’s new figure sculpture class coming up this Fall.
Doris and Sylvia, her identical twin sister, virtually spent their lives together. As high school students they attended the Graphic Sketch Club and Pennsylvania Commercial Museum School, then attended the Berte Fashion School of Design in Philadelphia. Upon graduation they both moved into fashion illustration for Litt Brothers department store in the same city. During WW2 they moved to California and continued their careers by working in the aircraft industry as production illustrators / draftsmen. Throughout her life, Doris pursued her love of the fine arts, specifically classical to contemporary sculpture, drawing, and painting. Doris leaves her beautiful spirit, exceptional artistic talents, and many works of art as a legacy to her family.
Ken Nishi (Chouinard, 1937) who died in 2001, was given an “In Memoriam” show (with color catalog) last May at the Rockland Center for the Arts in New York. He lived in Tappan and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. After a 1939 show at the San Francisco World’s Fair in San Francisco, Nishi worked with Millard Sheets doing murals. He served in the U.S. Army Special Services during WW2, exhibited in St. Louis and Springfield, and then moved to New York where he became an educator, furniture designer, and Art Director at the Rockland Center for the Arts.
Sam McKim died of heart failure at 79 in Los Angeles. McKim first had a prolific child acting career and then attended Chouinard (like many of Disney’s key men). He joined Disney in the early 50s, creating the first “fun maps” for Disneyland, making him a reputation for fascinating charts. His conceptual drawings also helped officials visualize the Haunted Mansion, the Monorail, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, all at Disneyland Anaheim.
Robert Peluce (Chouinard, 1965) passed away on April 12. A resident of South Pasadena, he is survived by his wife George, sons Anthony and Vincent, and daughter Poppy. His last show was at the Glass Gallery in Los Angeles. He traveled extensively to Europe, studying classical art in the churches and museums. His love was Surrealism, where he combined disparate elements in his own unique style. Occupying a studio in the Brewery, Robert painted every day until his death.
Solve Your Holiday Gift Needs by Giving to the Chouinard Foundation We have a good selection of production proofs of Disney comicbook pages from the 1970s and 1980s. These are black line art printed on slick white stock, used to paint in solid dark areas, white out imperfections, and rough-in dialogue and narration in various languages. They are one-of-a-kind prints of inked originals by various European artists, unsigned, about 13″ x 18″ in size. When framed, they display impressively as historic comic book art Disney abilia, if you will and make unique holiday gifts. We are offering these prints as premiums to contributors to the Chouinard Foundation. A tax deductible donation of $150 entitles the donor to 1 print: $250 entitles donors to 2 prints; $300 entitles donors to 3 prints. Donors may come to the Foundation headquarters (1020 Mission Street, South Pasadena) to select their premium or phone 626- 799-0826 to donate and request that their prints be mailed.
See Your Name Here!
Please contribute material to Grand View. We are looking for stories, photographs, and information related to Chouinard. both then and now. Let us know about your current art endeavors and exhibitions. If you have a story to tell but aren’t a writer, we’ll be happy to interview you and write it up. Just let us know by phoning 626-799-7875 or e-mailing the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to indicate that the material is for Grand View.
Gabrielson’s Basic Art Skills Diet (cont.froni Grand View 15) Sections 6 through 10. (6) Painting First, learn watercolor. papers, brushes, techniques of, all this stuff is in books or American Artist magazine. The beauty of watercolor is that it makes you portable – you can take it on the road and do work or use it for source material. Since they sell for lesser prices than oils you can also move them easier, or they make great presents, too. Won’t see that in any books. Oil painting. The big Kahuna. Acrylic painting is for abstract painters and works wonderfully for anything you want to have dry very fast. But for representational work it dries too fast so forget it. You can do a very thin (with water) acrylic under painting because oil will stick to thin acrylic, but that is it. Conceptually, painting is important because it is such a total medium. It allows one the capacity to fill space with color and shape and line and representation and value and texture, all at the same time. That’s why it is so difficult and so much fun to do. So you learn the basics, thin to thick, under painting, glazing, gessoing, driers, dangers, and uses of oil paint. At the beginning it would not be a bad idea to make a copy of a particular painting you like in various styles, like cubism, social realism, fauve, German expressionism, and so forth. When you spend all that time making a copy you really get into the artist’s head and technique. You also wind up with a good fake that perhaps you can flog to an unsuspecting collector.
(7) Pictorial composition and advanced drawing You’re now at the state where you are doing all at the same time so things do get interesting. Like a carpenter, composition (advanced design) becomes your pictorial understructure. This goes along with more complex drawing ideas, putting several characters in context, drawn from various points of view. There was a teacher at Chouinard who was a master at teaching this. He taught a great many of the Disney animators. He would make a problem, like “draw five people seated or standing in a bus from three different positions – then, make a composition out of it.” There are some good texts on this skill also. (8) Advanced computer graphics and animation. Taking your new abilities to the computer, work the new programs and let the box do some of the job. Watch your images crash. Get your site started. Whine with other wannabes in chat rooms. Make images move around. This is probably the future of 2-D an. (9) Professional practices Real world experience and survival strategies, submission of portfolios, hustling your own work, gallery practices or non-practices (what to watch out for), legal, insurance, copyright, tax. all the usual stuff to run a small business which is what you will become if you are successful.
When I used to teach this material I could never describe the breadth of the painful professional dilemmas one would face. Ultimately I came up with a hypothetical that got into a lot of it. The premise is that for whatever reason you have to go out into the world and show your work in some context except juried shows, which are a huge rip-off and truly suck. Anyway, you are faced with just three possibilities. Make your choice and come out fighting: a. A furniture store has agreed to put your paintings above the sofas for a one-person show. The surroundings aren’t too wonderful. None of your friends w ill come near the place but all your relatives and your mom and dad will proudly come by and bring their pals, and you will probably sell some work and try out all the Barcaloungers in the place. b. A top-of-the-line gallery is sort of interested in you, but you ain’t gonna ever have a show there. They will put some of your stuff in back, say works on paper. You can say you’re in a BIGTIMEGALLERY to your artist friends who will really get envious, go to the openings, hang out with the stars, see how the real world operates. You will feel like a dolt. Nobody will talk to you at the openings but you might make some contacts for later on. c. A middle of the line gallery is actually interested in your work! They will give you a show! You don’t even have to pay for the announcements! Nobody will pour wine on your head and look through you like you’re invisible! You’ll sell the painting on the announcement! Might even get a review! Now your buds will really gnash their teeth! BUT. the deal is, you will have to have sex with the dealer (your choice of what brand). So, bubba. which way do you go? You see, there are no easy choices. Each one has its hard part and 1 guess that is a lot of what the art career is about. By the way. 1 will let you know which choice about 75% of the students I sprang this on went for. You will be surprised. (10) Advanced painting At this point, materials, drawing, ideas, history should be assimilated. The next plateau is more difficult to describe because it isn’t a list any more. It is more like four dimensional choices they all interrelate. And these choices aren’t without consequences because they begin to describe you (favorite story: man comes into a psychiatrist s office filled with various chairs and couches; shrink says, “Come on in. have a seat – by the way, everything counts!”). So you are faced between choices of style (mother’s milk of 2-D art) and content. Proportions of. emphasis on. Etc. It may well be that the computer will supplant your canvas. Anything can happen. Painting doesn’t ever get better (one big lie out there), it just gets different. Your choices will become your evolution and definition. You will find out just how good you are or not. You might become a part of history. You might choose to stay in a comfort zone along the way. You might want to fly towards the sun and crash into the ocean. It’s all a choice.
Nelbert Chouinard Serigraph Still available for donors of $1,000 or more, to support the Chouinard Foundation, is the special Cirrus Editions serigraph in 50+ colors. This “Eucalyptus Style” painting (circa 1915) was done plein air in the Arroyo Seco northwest of South Pasadena. The edition was limited to 375, and there are still some left. Please phone 626-799-0826 for further information. Register Now for Fall/Winter Classes Course catalogs are now available. Call for your free copy: 626-799-0826 or write Chouinard Foundation. 1020 Mission Street, South Pasadena. CA 91030 or e-mail email@example.com How to Subscribe to Grand View If you haven’t already subscribed to Grand View magazine, you may send your check for $30 (S20 if on a limited income), made out to the Chouinard Foundation, 1020 Mission St.. South Pasadena, CA 91030. You may also subscribe by phone – 626- 799-0826 – giving office manager Rosemary Do your credit card number and address. Copies of CHOUINARD: An Art Vision Betrayed and California Romantics arc also available for $25 and $15, as well as a few back issues of Grand View. Phone 626-799-0826 for further information. Other Support Opportunities Support the Chouinard cause and share our passion by wearing a Chouinard T-shirt or carrying a tote bag. We have a limited supply of each available at $20 each (plus $1.65 sales tax). For T-shirts, please indicate whether you want medium. large, X-large. or XX-large. Note: The Chouinard Foundation operates primarily on pro bono support. The founder/directors and Advisory Board have worked without pay for five years. Supporting an outstanding faculty and staff and maintaining the facilities requires a significant amount of money.
Chouinard Foundation Library
1020 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030