Sculptor Valentine talks on primacy of artist vision

Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs
A&E Reporter

From Andy Warhol to Lou Reed to Kanye West, the cyclical nature esthetic need pushes artists to mentor, collaborate and recycle visual identity.

Sculptor Harley Valentine said she thinks Kanye West is one of the most skillful art directors practicing now.

“The verisimilitude of the artist should reflect the world built up around the artist,” she said.

Last week Valentine hosted a workshop referencing contemporaries such as West, exploring visual identity, art direction and exposure, the foundation of art portfolios.

The workshop conceptualized the portfolio as a passport, a platform used to attract and direct audiences to an artist’ visionary mantra.

Valentine began by passing around his personal portfolio inviting students to look inwardly.

Valentine said the visual aesthetic formalism must be consistent to a visual identity. Valentine’s presentation illustrated his visual identity, consisting personality, wardrobe and work location. It is controlled through art direction, which is where Kanye comes in.

“With Yeezus, Kanye created an aesthetic sound language,” he said. She said he was celebrated by titans of the art like Lou Reed.

“Reed pointedly praised Kanye’s ability to incorporate modern culture, urban culture fine art, architecture and design into his visual identity,” said Valentine. “Imitation is flattery and Lou Reed himself was an artistic icon groomed.”

Over seven years Valentine has cultivated his portfolio, fostering fluidity and capturing the changing world through an artistic focus on portals. Imagining the artistic voice as a tile Valentine challenged students to format those tiles.

Many professions use multimedia such as blogs to advertise their vision and services. While online presence is essential, Valentine said that artists keep their sharing specific.

Sharing too much or sharing a lot of older content can be harmful to the credibility of an artist. Valentine described refining a portfolio as “aesthetic Darwinism,” something to be worked on every day.

Tailoring portfolio content to individual clients is strongly encouraged.

“Up until now I would include art work from years ago in my portfolio,” said Jay Bhooshan, a first-year Digital Art student.

In the workshop Valentine Googled himself and pointed out all of his artwork he asked others to photograph.

It is important for artists to document their work on display at galleries as a way to gain further exposure and increase the pedigree of their work through collaborating with larger vision.

“No matter what you can say about your work it is never as important as what others can say about your work,” Valentine said.

Low attendance did not take away from all of the advice shared throughout the workshop.

“I was surprised by the turnout but we are continuously adapting our model, integrated workshops more with course curriculum so full classes can attend as a part of a course project,” said Tara Mazurk, the curator for L Space Gallery.

Next month the gallery will host events such as international development, a week of workshops and panels and 100 years of fashion art exhibition.