Sculpture professor shows students the ‘broader picture’

Posted on 03 December 2014 by admin

Chesla encourages students to ‘just work’ in the studio, learn new things

Joe Chesla instructs student, Mary Anne Nye, on what steps to take next with her sculpture.

Joe Chesla instructs student, Mary Anne Nye, on what steps to take next with her sculpture.

By: DALILA KAHVEDZIC
Asst. Art & Life Editor

Joe Chesla, a full-time sculpture professor at STLCC-Meramec has been getting his hands dirty for 13 years on campus.

Recently he gave his students the opportunity to go to the annual Sculpture Object Functional Art + Design (SOFA) fair in Chicago on Nov. 7 and 8.

Chesla said the SOFA exhibit included more than 70 galleries from around the world exhibiting on the Navy Pier in Chicago.

Each gallery showed between five and 10 different artists and Chesla said there was quite a bit of artwork to take in within a couple of days.

Chesla said the trip was good for the students to attend because it would advance their understanding of sculpture and understand where they fit into society.

“It was more than just learning about sculpture, it was much more that experience of getting out and seeing the broader picture of things,” Chesla said.

Third year Meramec Fine Art/Art Education Major Amanda Attarian said she has been to SOFA the past two years.

Attarian said it’s nice to relate to and be around people who are in the same field as her.

Although a lot of pieces were based on aesthetic and composition, Attarian said she liked specific glass-ceramic infused pieces that had narratives behind them about afterlife and relationships; pieces with meaning behind them.

Attarian said it was cool to see everyone brought together from the sculpture class. They were able to discuss what they were each doing, art-wise.

“As important as it is to do what you love and do it independently, it’s good to see what everyone else is doing and how it works. It gives you a little bit of encouragement and a lot of hope for my future and as well as others to show their work,” Attarian said.

In the Classroom

Attarian said it is exceedingly important to convey your own messages through art, and said it’s nice that Chesla is one-on-one and involved with his students.

“He has definitely given me a lot of insight on why I make the stuff that I do. He’s helped me have a better understanding of what I want to do and who I am as a person. More of an insight on myself and what messages I want to convey.” Attarian said.

Meramec Fine Art Major Krista Valdez said what appeals to her about SOFA is the students are exposed to a more high-end and commercial environment of art.

They are seeing the front-end of how the art industry works and that exposure is valuable because they are basically seeing what art sells, she said.

Valdez said Professor Chesla tells them to “just work” in the studio.

“If we’re in the studio, we should constantly be doing something. Regardless of what it is. Being able to constantly do something and learning new things as you go along,” Valdez said.

Chesla said most of his students come into his classes with no experience.

His job is to help them develop their ideas, their drawings, develop their models, learn how to work economically and be smart artists.

“If you watch what’s going on, there’s a great assortment of work that tends to happen in this studio. I teach everything from sand sculpting to working in wood and working in plaster,” Chesla said.

Chesla said students learn how much more powerful a piece can be by keeping it simple.

This can be difficult because the students have “amazing imaginations.” Chesla said. “When they start to understand their own abilities, they want to do ‘monstrous things.’”

“You learn a lot in here. There’s a great trust and respect for everybody and the space,” Chesla said.

 

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