Costumes and Prints Bring “CandyCoated Wonderland” to Life

September 10, 2013

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“CandyCoated Wonderland” is a whimsical installation of costumes and prints straight from the imagination of Philadelphia-based artist Candy Coated (’97 MFA Ceramics), formerly Candy Depew.

Candy was invited by the Philadelphia Museum of Art two and a half years ago to begin a project reinterpreting children’s dress costumes from the Museum’s collection.

“I was honored to be asked because I just couldn’t believe that they would let me do whatever I wanted to highlight the costumes and integrate them in, and I was able to make a contemporary, yet historical period style room which is a wonderland,” Candy said.

The colorful installation blends Candy Coated’s silk-screened fabrics and wall decals with costumes that range from a Peter Pan costume flying from the ceiling to nurse costumes on children’s figures surrounded in a room of cats printed on pillows

“The most awesome part was being able to do the huge ink drawing on the wall because the walls are fresh and beautiful and new, and to be able to do a large drawing like that, directly on the wall, was pretty awesome,” Candy said. “Also, being able to have it in the parkway in one of the museum’s buildings is an honor, too, because I actually starting out working there in installation. So for me to actually have my own installation about ten years later is quite a nice thing.”

As a student at Tyler, Candy valued the people that she got to work with, both the classmates that would later become her colleagues and her professors.

“My teacher, Nick Kripal, brought me to Philadelphia. I’d like to thank him because the interview I had with him for grad school went so nicely and he was such a cool, intelligent person. A true teacher personality is what attracted me the most coming to [Tyler], so I thank him for bringing me to Philly,” Candy said.

Staying in Philadelphia after graduating and having the reputation from attending Tyler really helped Candy become the artist and cultural entrepreneur that she is today.

In addition to having her work displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Candy hosts exhibitions and films screenings from internationally based artists and designers at her studio, CandyCoated Center.

“I just love having my own studio, I just always have made that a priority and sometimes I wouldn’t necessarily have a place to live, but I would have a studio. So I’d house sit or go to residencies and things like that, and part of your residency deal is that they always give you a studio and a place to stay. So I am never without a studio,” Candy said.

Coming up, Candy will be working with the Spirit Tour for Design Philadelphia, designing wallpaper, doing silk-screen demos at the Art Market at Tyler, and working with Little Baby’s Ice Cream to develop an ice cream flavor.

“CandyCoated Wonderland” can be viewed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building in the Joan Spain Studio until November 17.

For more information about “CandyCoated Wonderland,” visit

To learn more about Candy and her upcoming projects, visit

Jordan Baseman’s Work in Sculpture Leads to Appointment at the Royal College of Art

September 6, 2013


Jordan Baseman (BFA ’83) decided to attended Tyler because of its welcoming atmosphere and great reputation. As a student, he was very interested in working with jewelry and metals to make sculptures.

“When I went to Tyler, I really felt like an artist,” Baseman said. “My mind was opened to many ways of thinking and working and I experienced many ideas that I would never have otherwise encountered. This helped me to ask questions and to become critical and more conceptual as an artist. I made some great friends, too.”

After graduating from Tyler, Baseman traveled to London to pursue his Master’s Degree at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time, and Goldsmiths is a very challenging environment – I learned a lot. And London is a fantastic city, an amazing place to live,” Baseman said.

Since then, Baseman has held multiple residencies and has been commissioned for many projects in collaboration with public institutions. His work in both sculpture and film have also been exhibited and screened in galleries and at film festivals in Australia, the United States, Austria, Germany, Japan, Portugal, France, and Italy.

“I have been fortunate to be invited [to display work in so many countries] and I have also been lucky to travel to many places,” Baseman said. “It seems natural to me as an artist to want to present my work in many different places and situations.”

This passion for sculpture and art eventually lead Baseman to be appointed as Head of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. After being approached by a recruiter, Baseman applied for the position.

“I wrote an application and a statement outlining my beliefs and ideas. I then went on a series of interviews. Three in all. And then they appointed me. It took a while,” Baseman said.

As Head of Sculpture, Baseman looks forward to what he can do to challenge the students.

“I am a filmmaker and [I] also make installations, so I am looking forward to challenging the idea of what sculpture can be while still retaining appreciation for the history of the subject,” Baseman said.

Baseman will officially fill his new position in late November.

To view Jordan Baseman’s films, visit and

To learn more about Baseman’s career and his new position, visit

Tyler Alum Showcased in Crossing the Line Exhibition

August 21, 2013

CrossingLineMixed Greens Gallery in New York City hosted “Crossing the Line: Contemporary Drawing and Artistic Process,” a show curated by Dexter Wimberly and Larry Ossei-Mensah that showcased the importance of drawing as a foundation to making art.

Ruby Amanze (Fibers/Photography BFA ’04) is one of the artists featured in this show.

“‘Crossing the Line’ is a small survey of five women who have very different drawing practices. It’s also exciting because none of the artists have  Western cultural background. We’re from Iran, Korea, Nigeria, Haiti/Dominican Republic and Mexico. Drawing has, and always will be universal and I think this exhibition touches on the idea,” Amanze said.

Although Amanze had a British upbringing, she was born in Nigeria. Recently, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Nigeria and create a new body of work. Four drawings she created while in Nigeria are featured in the show.

“For me, drawing is very much about process. Sometimes my drawings are very detail-oriented and even obsessive compulsive. I enjoy that way of working, but at the same time I enjoy the freedom of making quicker, smaller drawings that I never intend to show,” Amanze said. “It’s a new, and slightly scary, idea for me to give these drawings their respect, so to speak. They are as much a part of my practice as the more polished ones, and I think the conversation they have alongside each other is an interesting one.”

Amanze admits that drawing is something that truly consumes and fascinates her.

“If I think back I remember that drawing was always my first love as an artist, as perhaps it is for many people. I think along the way, someone decides for us whether or not we ‘can draw,’ and unfortunately that deters some from continuing the practice. Everyone can draw and there are so many different ways to approach it,” Amanze said.

“When I sit down to draw, there are so many components that play a part in what happens on the page. I am open to that and look forward to how my ideas will evolve the more I allow things to happen. I think there is a certain vulnerability to drawing that I appreciate. It often doesn’t have this grand polished veneer…it just is,” Amanze said.

For inspiration, Amanze draws from architecture and remembered spaces, migration, cultural hybridity, textiles, and patterning.

“I’ve also spent time researching various nomadic groups, bridges as a physical and metaphorical symbol of connection, ethnic markings/tattoos or gender politics as they relate to culture. These are just a few things that have inspired me over the years. But I can’t neglect the ever changing influence of time and location as they relate to the above. Just being somewhere, anywhere can play a direct role on one’s vision of the world. The lens through which we process our bodies in space an in relation to others in constantly changing,” Amanze said.

Amanze appreciates that Tyler gave her a formal art education while also encouraging her to experiment and challenge the “rules.”

“Tyler was a nice balance of that. I remember drawing with silver point on gesso, learning Vandyke printing in Photography and weaving on a floor loom…but I also remember having freedom later to disregard all of those things and really begin to discover my own visual language,” Amanze said.

Coming up, Amanze is curating and exhibiting in an exhibition called “Six Draughtsmen” that will open at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn in October. She is also preparing for a two person exhibition in Lagos, Nigeria with Wura-Natasha Ogunji. Outside of studio practice, Amanze is also teaching.

“Crossing the Line: Contemporary Drawing and Artistic Process” will be at Mixed Greens until August 16.

To learn more about Ruby Amanze and her work, visit

Coffee and Art Come Together at Tyler

July 17, 2013

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When Kristin Mills and Matthew Craig graduated from Tyler with MFA’s in painting, they were looking for the perfect job. They wanted to work for themselves and still have enough time and energy to work on their creative projects.

“During our final semester, Matthew and I often took coffee breaks together. It was nice to get out of the studio/building that way,” Mills said. “Not to bad-mouth any other businesses, but we were honestly frustrated with the lack of good coffee on campus. Matthew would sometimes make the trek over to Mug Shots, but they were situated in an awkward area, and they eventually closed that location.”

With the frustration of trying to find good coffee close to campus and the abundance of food trucks around them, Mills and Craig began to joke about opening up their own coffee truck.

“We were both impressed with the amount of food trucks on campus, let alone the notion of the food truck industry growing nation-wide. Individually, we became fond of Yumtown and though they had something really going on…nearing the end of our semester we joked about starting a coffee truck,” Mills said. “At first it seemed absurd, but the more we thought/talked about it, along with the difficulty in finding a job post graduation, we thought that this could be a smart way to employ ourselves.”

In order to fund their new business venture, Mills and Craig ran a Kickstarter campaign where they proposed their idea: “Cloud Project is two-fold: it is a mobile coffee shop and it is also a conceptual piece. It is about the social role of the artist, as we, the artists in Cloud Project, are inviting visitors to interact with contemporary art is a sociable way.”

“We spent a lot of time researching and talking to other food truck owners. Food trucks are often retrofitted step vans and in order to get a truck fitted and plumbed the way we needed, it would have been very costly,” Mills said.

With the help of ebay, Craig found an espresso trailer called “Love-a-Latte” that was perfect for them.

“This was financially a much better deal for us, the only glitch being that it was out in Washington state,” Mills said. “So we had to drive it across the country. This seems like a fun adventure, and at times it was, but there were many bumps along the way. Eventually it made its way to Philly.”

After going through all the paperwork, fees, and finding a roaster, Cloud Coffee finally opened on January 15. When classes are in session, Cloud goes through about 65 pounds of coffee a week. Their Third-Wave brew comes from ReAnimator, a local roaster.

“Our Salty Artist is a huge hit, and our iced coffee is super popular, we typically cold brew. Our roasters, ReAnimator, are wonderful…their espresso blend makes for an amazing Americano!” Mills said.

Even with a new business, both Mills and Craig find time to create their art. For them, Cloud has become a way that they can better connect with their audience.

“We both actively reserve or create time for ourselves, as starting a business can be all-consuming,” Mills said. “We want to reach an audience in ways that are less expected than inside a gallery setting, and as a form of critique, the Cloud provides that. So there is a duality there.”

In addition to creating time for their own projects, both Mills and Craig will be working as adjunct professors this fall.

“So far, Matthew and I have worked well at figuring things out together. It’s continual problem solving…so I’m confident that we’ll figure this out too. One of the main reasons we started this project/business was so that we could do the things we want to do as artists. We cover each other so that we can do individual projects, residencies, teaching gigs, etc. While we will both be adjunct-teaching at Tyler in the fall, we’ll create a schedule that works for us – and we’ll definitely be hiring,” Mills said.

For more information about Cloud Coffee, visit

Artspace Recognizes Kari Scott in radius250 Exhibition

July 16, 2013

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Student Life Coordinator and Tyler alum Kari Scott has been awarded fourth place for her piece Shrine to my Scale in the show “radius250”  hosted by artspace.

“radius250 2013” is the fifth installment of artspace’s signature juried exhibition which represents artists that create their work within 250 miles of Richmond, Virginia. The exhibition is biennial at artspace, a non-profit member-run gallery.

127 artists submitted over 450 individual submissions to be juried for the show. Of these submissions, 48 pieces were selected from 36 artists.

“This is a pretty widely-known exhibition in a town I used to live in, so I knew I would run into people I knew if I got in. It’s always nice to go back to a place you left with a triumph,” Scott said. “And Erin M. Riley, a Tyler alum who graduated from my same department the year before me won Best of Show four years ago at the 2009 ‘radius250.’ I knew if I was in this show, I would be in good company.”

Scott submitted three pieces to be judged for the exhibition. Two of the pieces submitted, Shrine to St. Betty and Shrine to my Scale, had to be installed by Scott herself.

Shrine to my Scale is a piece that I considered too personal to submit for a long time, but I’ve started to have a better appreciation of it as it relates to the themes I’m interested in. I created it when I was really trying to keep weight off, and I lost the struggle not long after I created it, but health issues have crept up and I’m realizing more and more that it’s a life-long struggle for me, and I need to keep at it,” Scott said.

“As I’ve been actively submitting my work to galleries and shows, I’ve become more and more aware that my work is mostly understood by a narrow audience of middle-aged women, my demographic, who have struggled with their own issues of body image/weight issues/struggle to maintain a healthy diet while busy/attempting to resist both subtle and overt attempts by the food industry to subvert our diets because they make money both by having us eat too much junk food and by dieting,” Scott said.

With these issues in mind, Shrine to my Scale was created on a whim with materials that Scott found sitting around in her studio.

“I use muffin tins because chocolate cupcakes are one of my trigger foods, and I need extra help from the weight goddesses to resist those. And originally, the candles were chocolate scented, but in group shows, like this one, I use unscented candles because I want to be a good artist-neighbor. If it was just a show of my work, though, they would be chocolate scented, because I want viewers to experience some of my struggle,” Scott said.

Both Shrine to my Scale and Shrine to St. Betty were chosen by juror N. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums, to appear in the show.

“It’s always validating to the struggle to be an artist who’s only able to work in the studio part-time to have your work selected for major shows like this one,” Scott said. “I’ve learned that curators/jurors go into something like these shows and develop a theme–even if it wasn’t stated–and your work might just not fit into that theme for that show, so don’t lose faith.”

The exhibition will be in all galleries of artspace until August 18th. For more details, visit

Tyler Alum Takes On Two Year Sculpting Project

July 1, 2013
Photo Credit: Myers Creative Images.

Photo Credit: Myers Creative Images.

Tyler alum Albert Paley (BFA ’66, MFA ’69) has prepared 13 sculptures that will be displayed at New York City’s Park Avenue.

As an undergrad, Paley studied sculpture and then went on to do his Master’s work in the metal department. After graduating, he taught in the university system for 25 years and is now a well-known metal sculptor based in Rochester.

Paley was invited to do this project by the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee almost 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, PBS from New York City has been filming a one hour documentary on the Paley on Park Avenue project which will be broadcast this fall.

“You could either apply or be invited,” Paley said. “I was invited because of the work I do with public sculpture. ”

Paley’s 15 person staff have working on massive sculptures for the show. Several of them are more than 20 feet high and one is 50 feet long.

“Public sculpture, especially large scale sculpture, creates a dialogue between architecture and public display,” Paley said. “Most of the work that I do is large scale.”

The sculptures, installed June 14, will stay up through November 8 between 52nd street and 67th street.

After being a practicing artist for 40 years, Paley no longer worries about how his work will be seen by the audience.

“All the artist can do is deal with the integrity of his or her vision,” Paley said. “People will respond with whatever their own background is.”

Coming up, Paley will be featured in many exhibitions. In September, the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York will be showing Paley’s conceptual drawings and will then publish a major book about the work. Then, in 2014, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. will be hosting a 50 year retrospective of Paley’s work.

To learn more about Albert Paley and his work, visit

In Front of Strangers, I Sing Exhibition at Woodmere

June 17, 2013
"In Front of Strangers, I Sing" exhibition catalogue. Courtesy of Professor Dona Nelson.

“In Front of Strangers, I Sing” exhibition catalogue. Courtesy of Professor Dona Nelson.

The Woodmere Art Museum is hosting the works of 52 artists in the show “In Front of Strangers, I Sing.”

Painters and Tyler School of Art professors Dona Nelson and Rubens Ghenov were among the jurors that helped select the art that would be in the show.

“It’s a juried show rather than a curated show,” Nelson said. “We  received almost 600 applications.”

The contemporary art featured in this show was selected to illustrate the strains of artists in Philadelphia.

“We tried to develop themes like how art appears in photography these days, and also the whole nature of photography because one doesn’t usually question the  actual nature of a photograph,” Nelson said.

Nelson and Ghenov both had their own work included the show, but Nelson believes there are other, more important pieces to see.

“I have one painting and the other artist who juried [Ghenov] has several other paintings, however there is a big wall piece Frank Bramblett did,” Nelson said. “It is really Frank’s piece that dominates the room, not mine or Ruben’s.”

Nelson also points out work like Andre Ponticello’s “Widowmaker Purple #1 (Sal’s ’69 GTO)” which reflects a car paint job that his uncle did in the 60’s and was described to Ponticello by his father, and Jamie Felton’s (MFA ’13) painting “The Towel That We Sank On” that really shows how art flows out of an idea or feeling.

“It is an expressive show,” Nelson said. “It’s a difficult show for some people because of how emotional it is in nature.”

The “In Front of Strangers, I Sing” exhibition can be found at the Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue, through September 1.

Tyler Alumni Connect Through Sculpture

May 14, 2013

In October at a sculpture class for the legally blind and visually impaired, two Tyler School of Art alumni met for the first time.

The class, located at Allens Lane Art Center in Mount Airy, has been offered for 57 years.

Armand Mednick, 80, is the class’s co-instructor. He graduated from Tyler in 1958 with a degree in graphics and ceramics. Carol Saylor, 75, graduated in 1976 with a degree in painting.

Saylor was a watercolorist before she started to lose her sight and hearing in her mid-40’s. She is now a sculptor.

When Saylor showed up to Mednick’s class, they immediately connected over Tyler and their love for art.

To read more about their story, visit

Top International Street Artist is Tyler Alum

April 10, 2013

Chalk artist Tracy Lee Stum has kept busy since her time at Tyler. She is one of the top 3D interactive street painters, and her work is widely recognized.

She was recently commissioned by 20th Century Fox to create an interactive 3D street painting for the March 12 home entertainment release of Life of Pi.

“I was approached by Fox,” Stum said. “Usually the client first researches street artists. If they find several they like they contact us. Based on proposals, experience and quotes, they then select the artist they wish to work with. After the work is contracted I discuss the project with the client and start designing the project art.”

Her drawing for the promotion of the film featured a key scene where a giant whale appears and jumps over Pi and Richard Parker. For Stum, a lot goes into creating the final 3D design.

“The creative process involves planning an appropriate image for a given location. Anamorphic projection techniques and my grids are used to create the proper perspective needed for any image. I use photography to establish the proper viewing angle and sometimes use animation programs to create viewing grids that help layout the design,” Stum said. “Establishing a believable image in the correct place, from the proper angle, is the biggest challenge. You’ve got to assess your location to understand what sort of image would be optimal.”

Originally from Chambersburg, Stum studied at Tyler School of Art and then continued her education at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy.

“My studies at Tyler provided a very strong foundation in critical thinking and process approaches to art making. While many artists in my genre may be strong in technique, however, strong conceptualization skills may be lacking. Tyler’s program really helped shape my way of approaching how I work, and that has proven to be extremely valuable to my own growth and development as a visual artist,” Stum said.

Stum began street painting in 1998, she uses mostly chalk and sometimes paint in her designs.

“My strongest creative asset is my imagination,” Stum said. “I ‘download’ all sorts of data from the world and my experiences here, which runs through my bran and eventually comes out as intuitive impulses. I listen to those flashes of insight and go with an idea that fits best with my project. It’s a very free organic process that I never question.”

It is also notable that in 2006 Stum set a Guinness World Record for the largest street painting by an individual.

“It’s not something I think about too much! It’s cool to know that work was recognized and I am grateful for that,” Stum said. “Guinness has a specific procedure in recognizing records so it does require applications, verification, etc. I’m working on setting a new record in another category later this year with a larger team of artists. That should be exciting!”

Work Exchange at Clay Studio Helps Recent Graduates

March 27, 2013

dtang - sam fritch (2)

Photo from Duc Tang’s BFA thesis show “My Fair Potter,” Winter 2011. Photo Credit: Sam Fritch.

Duc Tang graduated from Tyler last May. He is currently working with the Clay Studio in Old City as part of a Work Exchange program.

“I met Jennifer Martin, who is the vice president of the Clay Studio, when she visited Tyler to give a lecture and demo,” Tang said. “She talked about the Clay Studio, its missions and different programs. One of the things she talked about was the Work Exchange program, designed for newly college graduates and others who demonstrated a keen interest in ceramics. I applied for the program in my last semester of college and have been with the studio up until now.”

In the Work Exchange Program, Tang is given studio space to work in, as well as materials, firings, critiques, and development opportunities to aid him in his goals as an artist. In exchange for all of this, Work Exchange individuals provide 40 hours a month of support and is responsible for tasks needed to maintain the ceramics studio.

Some of these tasks include studio maintenance, customer service, assisting special events, glaze preparations, kiln operation, teaching, community outreach, gallery experience, and sales.

“We do everything that will keep the studio up and running. Usually there are two of us working together on our work day, if we’re lucky we’ll get an intern or two to help,” Tang said. “It’s pretty much everything we would do if we had our own studio but probably with less cleaning and people running around.”

With the help of the Clay Studio, Tang is able to produce work that he sells locally at the Art Star craft shows.

“I have a place to make work and access to equipment that I would not be able to afford anytime soon,” Tang said. “With so many artists gathered in one place it is really easy to get feedback about your work. Something that I heard was very hard to come by once you’re out of art school.”

Having this opportunity has really helped Tang get started as a ceramic artist.

“I am very much a romantic, ” Tang said. “In a world where many are content with using throw aways and mass-produced tableware, I want to sit down and make them. I hope to someday open my own pottery. People say that it’s not going to be easy and I do believe it to be true. But whenever I hear how much someone enjoys using my pots it fuels my dream and I believe a little more that it is possible. Besides, there is nothing else that I would rather be doing.”

For more about the Work Exchange at the Clay Studio visit