‘Vision,’ by Vicky-Forsythe-Smith, class of 2012. Graphite on Paper, 48” x 96”.
A ‘Purchase Award’ piece, newly displayed in the Gill Library.
Elizabeth Wilson recently got in touch with the artist to let her know that her drawing has been installed in a more prominent place on campus, where it can be appreciated by more students and adults alike. She asked her a few questions about herself and the work, what inspired her to create the drawing, the process, and inspiration for working large scale, how long it took to draw and to tell us a bit about what she’s doing now! The following is what Vicky had to say…
I love to see that a little (well, pretty large) piece of me is still around ESD. Currently, my career has shifted to the digital space. I am an art director at an ad agency, Digitas, in New York with my focus in digital marketing. Basically, I Photoshop in my sleep. After starting my college experience as a fine arts major at the School of Visual Arts I quickly realized design was going to be my lane.
Drawing will always be the fundamental form that any artist must learn before excelling in any other medium. I don’t think that means you need to be great at it, but you do have to learn it. There are so many rules to learn and while they don’t all have to be followed… they are vital in understanding form. SO, drawing is where I started in high school. I always had a knack for realism and Kathleen Raymond, the art teacher at ESD at the time, encouraged me to push further than just leaning on that skill. Every week I could bang out a hyper-realistic drawing, but she was right. Those works started to lose their power when produced in a constant stream. Scale seemed like the obvious way to push these to a new and more exciting form.
Chuck Close was always one of my drawing heroes. This drawing, as well as another full-face one, are my attempts at directly copying what he was doing. The full-face portrait was done first. It is 4ft x 6ft and took about three weeks and 36 4B pencils to complete. Vision (which I don’t remember naming Vision, but I guess that checks out) was done because of a blank wall ESD had at ISAS that was in prime viewing space. Ms. Raymond asked me to make something big, fast. Thus, Vision was conceived and born in about three days. I took a photo of my eyes with my staple high school glasses, created a grid (à la Chuck Close), and drew through most of my classes, every lunch, and stayed late with Ms. Raymond making me tea as I went. I wish I could remember the body count of pencils on Vision… had to be close to 50? Also, I have new staple glasses now.
I cherish that time so much. One quickly learns that there simply is never as much time in the day as in your teens. Art is such a healthy manner of escapism, and I owe so much life-balance in my teens to the sheer amount of hours I spent thinking only about a piece of paper in front of me. Art for the sake of art feels so rare at the current stage of my life. However, I have found that art can just be art when I work with musicians. Working in music is the next step in my journey. I have done a variety of work for musicians including: Dolly Parton, Florence and the Machine, Flume, Pretty Lights, Cashmere Cat, Maggie Rogers, Mattiel, TMWRK, and for the past two years, the creative director for the artist Tanners (we also happen to be dating!) These projects have been album covers, websites, posters, t-shirts, bags, Instagram stories, simply whatever. And it’s all for the sake of art.
Samples of my current work can be found at my website www.vickyfs.com
Next time you visit the library please take a close look at Vicky’s drawing, which is placed near the fireplace. The quality of the work is exceptional.