Artist Interviews

Colleen O’SullivanColleen O’Sullivan

Potter 

What is your experience as an artist?
I have been a potter for 40 years. I taught all levels of pottery at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY for 30 years and have conducted numerous workshops for schools and arts organizations. I make functional pottery and one-of-a-kind primitive fired vessels.

What do you teach the New Visions students?
I conduct a tour of a working pottery studio and explain the equipment and various techniques used in making pottery. I then demonstrate the process of making pots on the potter’s wheel, from start to finish. The students create work on the wheel which is fired in the kiln. They return the following week to glaze their pieces which are then fired a second and final time.

What do you enjoy about teaching the NV students?
My experience with the New Visions students has been nothing but positive. The students I have worked with have always been an extremely gifted and motivated group of young men and women. They are creative, talented, polite, interested and enthusiastic. New Visions provides the tools and develops the confidence needed for these young artists to embark on career paths that will enable them to follow their hearts and enjoy fulfilling lives.

What would you like the NV students to know about a career in the arts?
A career in the arts can be extremely rewarding and financially frustrating. You must be disciplined and willing to work hard but when you love what you do you will always be happy.

 

Graham TichyGraham Tichy

Musician

What is your experience as an artist?
I like to think of myself as an extremely versatile guitarist – if it were 1965! My specialization has always been in the “dead” music styles of the mid-twentieth century; Rock and Roll, Swing and Traditional Jazz, Jump Blues, Honky Tonk, Country, British Invasion, Surf, Hawaiian, and Rockabilly. In different phases of my career, I have had the opportunity to tour throughout the US and Europe, back many artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame, play on dozens of album releases as both a leader and a sideman, as well as find myself deeply woven into the fabric of the vast local music scene. Over recent years, instrumental instruction has become my focus. I currently have a roster of over 50 private guitar students and I have the co-owner of the Troy Music Academy. Through teaching I have (sometimes begrudgingly) become adept at many contemporary guitar styles as well of several other stringed instruments.

What do you teach the New Visions students?
In broad terms, musicianship. Specifically, I teach guitar, ukulele, banjo, performance, songwriting, arranging, recording, theory, and live sound. All of this is often augmented with tales of the woes of showbiz.

What do you enjoy about teaching the NV students?
It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of being around young, motivated, creative people. But on a deeper level, what I love the most (and what my private teaching career is missing) is that a synergy occurs when placing a variety of creative individuals in an immersive environment. The students often learn more from themselves than they do from me. Seeing a whole become greater than the sum of its parts is magical and deeply satisfying as a teacher.

What would you like the NV students to know about a career in the arts?
Anything is possible. Career paths aren’t clear, and you may not exactly wind up where you thought you would when you started. But with hard work, any amount of talent, and an entrepreneurial spirit you can carve out a career path that is uniquely yours. Failure is an essential ingredient in the recipe for success, and it takes as much bravery as it does talent to make it as an artist.

Contact Information

Peg Danner-Frank
Program Instructor
518-271-7705
mdanner@questar.org

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