News & Blog: Judy Simonian
Judy Simonian, who teaches drawing and painting in Cooper’s Continuing Education program, finds that her students come from all walks of life: “teachers, psychiatrists, graphic designers, lawyers, scientists,—fields where they've relied on a different kind of language. They’re expanding their worlds by learning an entirely new language. I live in a world with mostly other artists, so to relive this excitement of discovering for the first time that you can do something creative is wonderful.”
Simonian, whose own work has been awarded with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014, emphasizes that drawing and painting is not about innate talent. Instead, she says, what is needed is an acceptance of the discipline needed for the challenge. Besides creating art, students sharpen their observation skills. “Particularly in the portrait class and in color, they’re reporting to me that they’re noticing more than they had – people’s faces, color combinations, and they have more confidence about their color choices,” she says.
Her paintings are extraordinary collisions of different images: for instance, a picture of swimming fish is placed over a landscape of the French Riviera in Fish in Nice (2012). She finds that in juxtaposing two wholly separate images that one illuminates the other. By painting, she finds that she can make sense of each of the separate scenes.
After years of teaching, she has learned that her students’ enthusiasm deeply informs her own art making. She says, “I cherish seeing that excitement. It’s totally contagious.”