Without doubt or exaggeration, my year in Florence changed the direction of my art practice. For me, the 5 best things about studying art in Florence were:
Art History class
Art History class in Florence was, frankly, a privilege. While most people learn about Michelangelo and da Vinci from books or PowerPoint presentations, our professor, taught us about Italian art history while we stood inches away from masterpieces. She led us to a variety of venues throughout Italy and we gained entry to spaces not always available to the general public. The visits to contemporary art sites were a great change of pace.
Simply put, you’ll return to Canada with more friends than you had before you left. I befriended a number of Italians and of course, I developed some solid friendships with other OCAD U students. Lots of great memories were made in the studio and navigating our way through Florentine streets and Italian culture.
Being in a foreign place always stimulates my eyes and curiosity. In Italy, I was as inspired by the culture and cultural history as I was by the art and art history.
My art practice
Before I lived in Florence, my art practice was comfortable. The year in Florence motivated and allowed me to explore new technical and process-based ideas. Preconceptions of who I was as an artist fell away and I now feel more directed in my practice. I’m also more open to taking chances, exploring new technical ideas and rediscovering my subjects.
As an emerging artist, the opportunity to exhibit your work and share it with a new audience and a different culture is invaluable. In addition to participating in a couple of OCAD U group shows, I also was successful in finding a reputable gallery and had my first solo exhibition before returning to Canada.