Richard Ozanne

  1959 -
  City of Birth:
St Louis
 
 

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Richard 's Story > Categories > Journal-Day to Day Accounts

"Italy Scholarship-Rapallo/Chiaveri/ Rome" 

 

Date Range: 07/30/1990 To 09/30/1990   Comments: 0   Views: 4,083
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Richard Ozanne Scholarship to Study for a Summer in Italy-1990
When one receives a scholarship to study abroad, even for a time, there should be given some respect to it...at least from the effort of intent
    Education is a progressive issue, not one thing that suddenly jumps upon a table and instant information is given. Popular media sometimes quirks this as a spell of sudden knowledge and talents given to one, excluding gifts which are another issue entirely, and earned respect, if in ones lifetime on can achieve a little to suffice. These are the struggles of an artist.
During the years 1988/1990 I was undergoing a very steep turn in my career as an artist as well as being a part of an intensive MFA Graduate program at Arizona State University. The work was constant with classes in these areas as well as commissions for work made and were coming in, or ending at this time. My life as an artist was filled with the focus and structure inside and otherwise involved in the creation of arts as media, more specifically painting.
The 1980’s had been good for the artist, at least for me. I had numerous shows and comissions as well as advanced my education and career, receiving my BFA from the University of Arizona (Tucson) in 1982, continuing on towards graduate school, and assuming a great revival in my work by moving out of Arizona, relocating to New York and continuing my formal study at the Art Students League and Columbia University. That portion had ended and new way had begun with showings in New York City as well as in New Zealand.
I had already traveled the world with my work, submitted it to competitions ten and hundreds fold in marked work for breakthroughs. The MFA was another degree in the process of hopeful gains of teaching the craft I had already spent thousands of graduate hours in production. An MFA was the credible document for teaching at a University or art college, although later finding myself in Prague Czech Republic (in the mid-late 1990’s) completing the end degree of a Phd (Arts and Humanities) for the purposes of teaching in Europe.
I had a split in my career in 1990. One part of my life was a professional artist, and another an eager graduate student in search for new ideas wherever they were to come.

The money was good and so was the rare notice or little acknowledgment. I had already exhibited in New York in a solo exhibit in Soho the previous year and received good reviews. It was not quite a debut but an eager test at my facitlities.
Tempe were I was currently living was on the dry portion of the spectrum when it came to culture. I did exhibits and shows that year and was blessed by some good sales, magnificent work produced and warm enduring thank yous for commissions presented. It was a swift turn of events to learn of a scholarship to study art for a summer in Italy. The grant was in excess of 5000 dollars and inclusive of travel, simple housing and food.
When I received the grant I was surprised. Literally 300 applications had been sent out on behalf of my needs at that point, and then the letter. It was an open professional development scholarship with a big name behind it--excluded here, and was open to my needs after speaking to the sponsors.
Some might have taken the money as cash to pay bills, buy a car, new clothes or endevor to make a company based on principles of new paper, more documents and incentives which might have been out of bounds of the specific educational purposes. The prize so to speak was open (I had talked to one of the sponsors and the grant could have been tailored to other needs..) except for the ‘grant specifications’ for which I applied were very focused of ‘Professional Educational Development in Europe’ and in this case Italy.
In the course of ones career as an artist one has to expect travel, and opportunities for travel for specific educational development are rare.
Some might say and others might react as tooting my own horn to this, but it was a rare proposal put in front of me, just as those many applications for the Rome Prize over the years...one could have said ‘no’ and passed it on.
Travel to Europe is one of those issues that an artist cannot just say no to...especially if needs are granted for  housing (Studio), monies and travel are made to afford this.
The Rome Prize is one of the most coveted prizes in the history of art. But then any concession of a scholarship to study is from the premise of an artist, expecially to study and exhibit in Italy.
This is one fact.
It was one of my last years at Arizona State University working towards an MFA in Fine Arts. The program was difficult and often times somewhat weakening because of the difficulties of keeping an inspired focus. Now I had a blessing provided to me, and one which I would work for.
Now it would be great to say that an MFA was a simple proceedure. No one know better than an artist going through such a program.
The investment itself is time and energy. Anyone saying the contrary would be fooling themselves as to what it takes in this time and energy as well as great expense. My parents knew well how much a good education might cost and they spent their lives in making these possibilities accessable, although there were other who assisted along the way.
Already I had my BFA and 4 and one half years of graduate-post graduate training as a visual artist in New York and Europe.
I was so enthusiastic about this grant I told everyone, but there was little acknowledgment among my peers who just pushed it away as some kind of vacation.
Sometimes the beligerance of the artists world is filled with contempt as well as foil. I learned quite quickly which friends I had who were supportive of my venture, as well as those who were truely friends when I told them of the grant.
It was a great day. At the end of the week telling others of my grant, it seemed an undeserved vacation, jealousy hungered, and I was even to receive phone calls from friends who were trying to dispose of my possibility in every way possible, being pu-pooed as the case may be. It is called the Jealousy Business. In Tempe at that time it made me feel ill, as well as eager to leave for a summer to get a new breath under me. To this day I still hold the parchment I received in Italy as a part of this adventure and grant, a most beautiful time in memory that could be received by an artist at that time.
As any artist knows..if in fact they have proceeded through a traditional program offered by a University, an MFA is a difficult process. Anyone who said that a terminal degree in art is easy should instantly try to enroll themselves in such a program and see it through. They might find themself challenged and frustrated sometimes beyond the kind of tension that one might find in a 'pit' on wall street. There are many disagreements here. Our culture does not necessarily agree that art is or can be difficult, or the range of studies that one has to go through difficult...but I kid you not dear preceiver of this message, please produce your equipment and produce 1200 works of art, attend more than 3200 hours of study (life study at a traditional art school) attend 1000's of hours of critiques and motivation in study and try.
I had done just this...although I was worn out I still kept up motivation to split my time via commercial efforts and study. I had sent out for other Masters degree programs in restoration and conservation at several Universities in Europe and was accepted into their programs. I had my own personal allegiance to Arizona State University, for too many units (hours) were already taken, and work already done, for any variation to be made..especially towards a terminal degree- MFA (Master of Fine Arts in short a Phd, juggling few semantics where they frey the balance of power that is)
The scholarship to Italy was a good thing. I appreciate the sponsorship very much looking back. That I was able to study and work in Italy during this time was somewhat a rare occasion, even though it seemed to many people that I crossed paths with in Arizona, that residencies and art related scholarships were "rather common". But I found it rather contrary, especially after living in Europe (later) and finding so few visual artist, writers or musicians that I can remember from the US.
I travelled to Italy and was placed for three and one half months in the city of Chiaveri Italy. (One can find this city on Google Earth)
My departure was soon after the university ended, credits in hand for my backers in this program. I departed to New York, then Paris with a train (TGV) to Cannes, Nice and then the Italian Riviera (Chiaveri).
My father came with me on this leg of the tour later setting off for East Germany on a research tour and then to Russia (former USSR) where he had business in Moscow and St Petersburg on a part of a Kabalevsky Museum  project he was involved with.
Upon arrival in Chiaveri I was to live, as arrange in a large single room pension, reporting into a Senora Rossi which was to oversee the scholarship (grant), period of the grant and introduce me to some serious galleries in the Genoa-Rappalo vicinity which would exhibit my work. The setting was quaint and within a day I was up and ready with my easle doing pleinair work.
In the rather short time I had in Chiaveri I did literally a hundred or so works in oil-watercolor as well as filled many sketchbooks. In the interim of my stay I was driven. I think I was blessed by this experience. In the time I was in Italy I received many offers to exhibit, and did when the occasion did occur.
The first offers were prepared in group shows, laid on posters with many other artists, rather included in these exhibits. Some might call them invitationals, there were quite a few. As soon as the work was finished it was ready to hang and interested in gathering perspective, interest and a possibility of sales.
At this point the artist was working out his ideals on canvas, preparing and dicerning a venture of light, shadow and traditional technique. The values among an artist was to be active as a producer of canvas and visions but not necessarily to sell his work unless offered at the price given.
I always, and rather personally had traditional values in art. They were more European than American. I did not create art that sold, rather knew the artists unbroken promise to himself in creating personal work, not mass market work as a level on a high value of person that was specifically created by the artist as an original, not a copy, nor assembly of art-for-all. Some people loved my work in Italy and other found it simply conventional, conservative and with the ‘masters’ palette behind it. Experiments at this time did provide other ideas in art, abstraction was alway just a step away, modernism almost held as a horse from getting away from the easel.
Corot, Courbet, Puvis De Chavannes, Goya, and Rembrant were still under hand as interesting light and shadow inquiries during this time. The expressionists, Gustave Klimpt, Egon Schiele and Roualt were gaining favor. I would play with the palette of augmented line, disturbed and nervous textures as well as the playful expression and simplicity of both landscape and figure in my sketchbooks though not alway exhibiting these in shows.
My exhibits were in the towns of:
Chiaveri Italy Turin
Sestri Levante
Cinqua Terra
Rappalo
Genoa
Torino
I was offered solo exhibitions in Genoa and Siena as well as a gallery in Florence and Rome. My time was limited however as well as funds. (Later in the 90's some of my contacts invited me back for exhibits and other professional projects, regathering people who met me on my first trip in Torino, contacts whom I am forever grateful)
During this time it was continued "graduate" study though. This was my firm, my interest in research to finish the degree as to be an apt contender and fulfill the terminal parchment (MFA) as well as become a teacher. For the long term, I really didnt realize how my exercise in sheer patience would be extended.
In addition to my painting/drawing and exhibitions I had the opportunity to visit Florence, Torino, Bologna and south to Rome to see one-on -one some of the greatest achievements and marvels of humankind through art in exhibitions of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and other masterpieces which I copied by hand in the various sketchbooks that I carried daily under hand.
Surely, at least an artist can be inspired by these, and these inspirations certainly last a lifetime especially viewing lesser known masterpieces from Masters artist.
I did  some private research in libraries finding some astounding work by known and lesser known masters. I was luck in some respects to be able to purchase some slides of these from my own pocket, naturally thinking these could be an added resource to the slide library at my University which was extensive but had great gaps still in their collection. Naturally I brought back to America (from Italy). These 35 MM slides were pre-digital age and in glass*
*(I was somewhat astounded that some works of art which I had collected in slide form were excluded from naturally selected collections of the slide library at the university. My private research brought back several small boxes of slides of little known work. Offered to the slide library I was somewhat astounded that they didnt feel the collection of the work was necessary, after briefly viewing them upon my return.)
It is in many ways as though an engineer or electrician may be inspired by the first hand view of Thomas Edisons work- to try to explain this feeling to others- as if one views these achievements, studies them, and comes away with the feeling of marvel, enrichment, and history...as well as having one response..."that one may have been touched by this genius", if not the efforts of commercialization, industry and monatary kingdoms associated with it (at least in history) ...a sense of art that goes somehow beyond this...where one might feel Gods enrichment of cultures of the past as an artist.
In my work I reached furthur still, gathering and being resourceful in material.
I was grateful for funds to travel to central northern Europe for my research.

Furthur Travel-Introspections of an Artist

In the last month of my stay I traveled Innsbruke then to Munich Germany to visit/sketch and see first hand some of the works which had inspired me in former years at the Alte Pineokotec and Neu Pineokotek as well as the Deutch Museum (my interest in engineering)and other historical landmarks in Europe.
I visited Paris again (Le Louvre), Lyon and other cities during my stay which were of primary interests in culture.  I ended up in Firenze (Florence) Venice, Verona, Milan and Bologna with travel to Rome in finality, my second trip. In a several day passage toward the end of summer I took the TGV up to Paris, and then by train to Cherborg (Normandy) gathering myself by boat to the channel islands and the old family places of the Ozanne in Guernsey and Jersey spending three days and returning by small chartered plane.
I heard of legends and tales of the family, visited the castle where ancient legends said our family resided and also heard from a cousin of mine about an antique charter, more legends and materials that I later assymilated into my personal research on art and personal writing.
Travel was at times rather rushed this time to make all the contacts that were wanted. the personal contacts that I made were invaluable.
I thought that this was going to be the last trip to Europe, but little did I know that years later I was going to take up residency in the same places I studied..and have many memories  of that time (1996-2006).
When I returned to Arizona in the next year I preparing for the new session in the Masters of Fine Arts Program which at some times seemed to drag on.
I began to talk about my experiences and travels of where I had been. (A large envelope of references-photographs/some letters of reference-achievement and of course the videos.and a very large block of artwork 3 foot tall-flat that I had produced in the interim )
Unfortunately they were viewed with little interest, but I worked forward nevertheless on projects that included these works--
I hold in my heart of the research-scholarship tour (1990), and possibility to hone my craft during the summer and winter.
Journal Entries from Europe



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