AC+D Summer Spotlight: Molly Ryan

August 06, 2019

Recent MFA AC+D Graduate, Molly Ryan, was awarded a scholarship to go to Anderson Ranch this summer! She will be attending a workshop called Automatic Drawing taught by William Downs. Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village, CO., is an internationally renowned hub and educational resource for artists working in all mediums!

Molly Ryan

In the AC+D program I explored my family histories as a means to better understand myself. I engaged in that exploration as a form of self-help, but also because I learn by doing. I believe that if I can learn from my struggles and successes, and as importantly, my reflections on those experiences, it will ultimately make me better able to work with youth. Particularly for those like me, who see the world and process information visually and may be having trouble navigating their life situations. I chose the Automatic/Expressive Drawing course to learn methods for teaching beginning art student through experiential learning, earlier in their practice, to tap into the purpose and passion behind their work.

Automatic drawing in its many forms can be a great method for separating the hand and the mind and a helpful start for anyone needing to get over the fear to connect with the joy and spontaneity of making. It can also provide a good starting point for one not ready to commit, or who don’t yet understand the content of their work. After that first step is cleared, the door to exploring personal narrative can open. As I’ve experienced, translating the personal narrative into visual art-making can be difficult for so many reasons. If the content is difficult for the artists, or the artists is still coming to understand the content, they may feel direct conflict with expressing it, displaying it, and inviting dialog about it. For the artists who are at terms with the content, finding a manner to express it that feels relevant to an audience and not self-indulgent may be the stumbling block. It’s through experience that I wholistically learn and that's why I am so excited to bring the new tools I'll receive at Anderson Ranch into my applied practice. In my pre AC+D life, I was successful as a boss and team leader because I had worked my way up, having personally experienced what I was asking those I was training to do. I know I learn best by doing and I believe that the Anderson Ranch experience will be a great benefit for me.