Thursday, June 5, 2014

Graduate Interviews: Devin Cecil-Wishing

Devin Cecil-Wishing photographed by Mariana Hernandez-Rivera
Graduate: Devin Cecil-Wishing
Hometown: San Francisco

Years at GCA: 2009-2014

I met Devin two summers ago during my first Hudson River Fellowship. I quickly learned about Devin's positive energy and great sense of humor. We hit it off and today I find myself lucky to call him a friend and to have studied alongside him for two years.  Devin is the first of a few 2014 graduates who will share a few reflections on their experience here at GCA.
~ Leeanna Chipana

    Leeanna Chipana: What was the most difficult aspect of studying at the Grand Central Academy?

    Devin Cecil-Wishing: I would have to say that the most difficult part of my experience at GCA really was all of the things outside of school that need to take place in order to survive in New York.  I've basically worked full time the entire time that I've been at GCA, in addition to studying full time. There's definitely a toll that the stress of never having a free moment or a full nights sleep takes on you. I've also had to move apartments an insane number of times since I've been here, fleeing from one disaster to another, which has taken a lot of energy as well, both mental and physical.  It can definitely be a challenge at times to sit and focus on a painting when you're underslept, broke and wondering where you're going to live but you have to just remind yourself that this is the thing that you're doing all the other stuff for, and hope that it will make a good story someday.

    "Head Study" by Devin Cecil-Wishing
    Leeanna: Devin, tell me your most remarkable moment or lesson obtained from the academy?

    Devin: It's hard to pick just one lesson that I've learned here because there have been so, so many. Every single teacher here has taught me so many things.  If I had to pick just one though, I would have to go back to my very first year in the sculpture studio.  I had never sculpted before coming to GCA so it was all very new to me.  Our teacher Chris Waddell made a big point out of thinking about the subject in terms of volumes or fullnesses; not just getting the basic points and planes correct but really building out the form so that it felt full.   In clay, you can physically build it into a form that feels full, but in drawing and painting we have to do the same thing, only on a two dimensional surface.  I was totally blown away when I saw how powerful a tool thinking in terms of volumes was and it's had a huge impact on the way I approach my drawings and paintings.

    "Trompe L'oeil" by Devin Cecil-Wishing
    Leeanna: What path are you following after graduation?

    Devin: As far as my plans for the future go, I feel like I have more ideas than I can even keep track of right now. Still life has always been a particular interest of mine and I plan on doing a lot of it when I'm done at GCA.  I have so many ideas for still life paintings bouncing around in my head that I can't wait to sit down and start making them happen for real.  I've spent this last year primarily focusing on portraits and would like to do more of that as well.  I also really enjoy teaching and have been one of the instructors in the evening cast drawing classes here at GCA for the past two years.  I have been busy setting up and planning a handful of workshops for this summer and fall that I'll be teaching in cast drawing, figure drawing, still life painting and color theory.  The workshops will be held at various locations and will have me travelling to Los Angeles, South Africa, Long Island and I'll also be doing one right here at GCA in August.  I love to travel so I get really excited about any chance to go somewhere new to do a workshop.

    "Still Life with Crystal Ball" by Devin Cecil-Wishing
    Leeanna: After these four years, if you had the opportunity, what would you advise yourself on your first day at GCA?

    Devin: It sounds cheesy but if I could go back and give myself one piece of advice on my first day as a student at GCA it would be to remember that every day here is so precious.  There is so much to learn here and in a lot of ways you can't do it all in four years.  I stayed five and still feel like there are more things I'd like to do here.  It's so easy to get distracted by life, or to skip school and sleep in (especially if you're one of us who works nights) and to not give your work your full attention because it feels at first like the time is limitless. It isn't of course though, and at the end of your time here it feels like the years have just flown by and it's hard to believe that it's over already.  There's so much that you can get from this place if you throw yourself in 100% and my advice to my past self, or any incoming student, would be to take full advantage of it every single day that you're here.

    This Summer Devin will be teaching "Still Life and the Anatomy of Light: Modeling Form in Color Using a Prepared Palette"

    August 4 - 15, 2014 (10 days)  $1200 ($600 deposit) /10am - 5pm (lunch: 1-2pm) • Monday - Friday

    Click here to learn more about Devin's Workshop.

    To learn about Devin Cecil-Wishing click here.

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