September 12, 2015
Senior Anastasia Soboleva spent last semester studying in Florence, Italy, where her work rose to the top of her international class and one painting was acquired by a Greek museum.
Soboleva, who has a double major in Drawing and Painting, was one of four students at Studio Art Centers International (SACI) invited to participate in the 2015 ArtClash group exhibition involving several American and Italian programs in Florence, the Region of Tuscany, and the Contemporary Art Museum of Florina in Greece. The exhibition, which took place in March 2015, was juried, with selected pieces – including Soboleva’s painting, "Incorreggibile" – moving to a second exhibition held at the Consiglio Regionale della Toscana in Florence. From there, "Incorreggibile" was chosen to become part of the permanent art collection of Contemporary Art Museum of Florina.
“It was amazing,” Soboleva said of her time in Italy. “My work really reflects my experience there,” she added.
Soboleva hopes to continue to travel and expose herself to other influences. "I was born in the Republic of Moldova, and moved to US in 2007. After finishing my education at CIA I would like to visit my native country for the first time since I left. In the future I hope to work across the oceans, reflecting the cultures of the US, Eastern and Western Europe, as well as many cultures I come in contact with along this journey."
As for how she combines drawing and painting, Soboleva explained, “My drawing greatly informs the painting. Through drawing, I learned how to work with the figure, how to break down an image into shapes and forms, and translate that into the painting. For some of the paintings I create sketches and detailed drawings of the compositions. Also many figures in the paintings originate in drawings of life models, or sketches of sculptures.“
Back at CIA to complete her senior year, Soboleva can make the short walk to Little Italy any time she misses her Italian adventure. Meanwhile, she answers a few questions here about her CIA education.
1.) What's your earliest memory of making art?
When I was about five, my mom took me to a drawing group. First class we were looking at leaves and trying to draw them, then we were trying to draw human ears; but drawing whatever I wanted by myself felt better, so I never went back.
2.) Did you take a lot of art classes in high school?
My junior and senior year I enrolled into a PSEO program in Visual Communications. It was intense, and I learned many techniques which helped me build a strong portfolio.
3.) Why did you choose to attend an art + design school?
Art was and still is the best way for me to express ideas. I took a leap of faith to follow my talents.
4.) What made you choose CIA?
I lived in Cleveland since 2007, and a few times have attended CIA student exhibitions. It was amazing to walk through the students’ studios, especially in the painting department. I fell in love with the light filling the large open space. The industrial feel of the building inspired experimentation and liberation.
5.) What made you choose your major?
The freshman year was fantastic because the foundation courses allowed me to gain a broad spectrum of experience. My professors that year introduced me to the academic side of fine art. I was intrigued by how much one could say through a painting: it encompasses philosophy, history, theory, social relations, our human condition. I realized that through painting and drawing I could understand myself, explore the world and be able to communicate with no restrictions.
6.) Is having your own studio important to your education?
There are discoveries and revelations made in that space, long hours of despair, hours vanished in deep concentration, indispensable dialogue with visiting artists, professors and peers. The studio space is where I am allowed to say, do, think whatever I want.
Interaction with classmates is key; we have ongoing conversations during frequent class critiques, during walks around University Circle, or while visiting each other in studios. It's important to talk to upper classmates; they have great advice in anything from material use to theoretical insights.
7.) How are your relationships with CIA faculty different than your relationships with your high school teachers?
The faculty at CIA are practicing artists, they are dedicated to the arts and their students. They always challenge and inspire me. I was fortunate to build bonds with them that will last after my education is complete. I am very thankful to my professors for helping me in the studio, in the classroom and especially for the professional connections and opportunities they presented me with.
8.) Tell us about your internship.
At the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (MOCA) I gained experience that I wouldn't be able to acquire anywhere else. CIA definitely prepared me for it, especially with knowledge in contemporary art and theory.
9.) What one thing about the CIA experience surprised you the most?
I was surprised the most by how much my thinking has changed while at CIA. I was given so much access to culture, knowledge and practice that my frame of vision has drastically expanded. Most importantly, I gained courage to innovate, challenge and be an active participant in the arts.
10.) How do you like Cleveland?
With every year I enjoy Cleveland more because of its growing arts and culture scene. My favorite parts of Cleveland are the University Circle and Little Italy area.
11.) What would you say to a high school student considering attending CIA?
It took me a while to understand that a good education is not given, it is earned. At CIA there are all the resources to do great things but it takes dedication, patience, and a stubborn desire to achieve and discover.
Above: Anastasia Soboleva at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, where she had an internship.
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