October 04, 2016
Q + A with Drawing major Davon Brantley
What brought you to CIA?
When I came to CIA, I had visited before the open house. This one guy who was a drawing or painting professor, he saw me once, and then the next time I came he remembered my face. We started talking again, and built a closer relationship. That’s really why I came to CIA. If I built a relationship before I even attended school, then I knew I’d be able to build even more when I attended.
What have you liked about the small-college atmosphere?
The advantage of being at a smaller school is that you get that one-on-one time. You get to actually communicate with your professors. You get to contact them whenever you need help. I feel like that’s what colleges are supposed to do.
What is the faculty like?
With certain faculty, they are a lot like us. They’re still keeping that energy, they have that ambition, and they’re still working in their studios. They’re basically working artists like we are, except they’re in their profession now. They’re very helpful. They get you going, they don’t bring you down.
What’s been your biggest surprise?
Even in our art history classes, I am learning things that are completely new to me, because in high school, I didn’t really have art classes, so I didn’t know a lot about art at all. So when I came here, it was like a bunch of knowledge just hitting me back and forth. I’m able to incorporate these new modes and themes in my artwork now.
What do you like about the neighborhood around CIA?
For some of the classes, you’ll go through the recreation of a painting or a drawing, and you just go to the Cleveland Museum of Art, or the Botanical Gardens, and you’re studying from life, to where you’re looking at a certain flower or a vegetable, or anything that they have in there. You’re studying how that form flows and how to draw the contours and whatever you need to get fulfilled with your drawing. I feel like they provide that experience for you to expand the class outside the classroom and actually use the areas around you to advance in your artwork.
As a drawing major, you’re not just stuck and sitting, “Oh I have to do a charcoal piece.“ You actually get to expand in electives. You can create a drawing on ceramics – we have a lithographic printer where you can draw onto that ceramic piece. You experience things you’d never thought go hand in hand.
Have you taken any electives that you found especially interesting?
The type of elective I’m in now is called “Drawn to Care,” and it’s where you go to the Cleveland Clinic dialysis center and you get to draw patients who are hooked up to the machines. You sit there for two, three hours and you get to know who these people are, and their lives before this. They’re telling you about themselves and you’re telling them about you. You get to know a person who has to sit there six hours a day. It’s really loving and caring. You get to feel how happy this person is after you’re done with their portraits.
Were you nervous the first time?
It takes you out of your introverted state and makes you extroverted. You get to work on your communication skills, and make sure you make eye contact. It’s nerve-wracking and at the same time fulfilling.
Now it’s making me feel like I want to draw people for a purpose, I want to make them happy; I want to build that connection. I want to put a shiny light in a dark place.
What do you like about the CIA campus environment?
The campus is great. Even though I lived in Cleveland Heights, I’d never been in University Circle. I’m so surprised everything is so easy to get to. You don’t really have to travel a distance to get where you’re going.
This is a great welcoming community. You’re able to make friends very fast, and that’s not the stopping point. You can go over to Case [Western Reserve University] and make friends there, too. A lot of the students are welcoming to accepting new friends.
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