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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Artist of the Month- December- Arthur Siegel

This month we are going to touch on the beginnings of Darryll's career and the man who sparked his interest in photography, Arthur Siegel. Arthur is our December choice, not necessarily for his excellent work, but for his influential teaching style and the lasting impact it has had on Darryll and many more of his students at the Institute of Design. Since there's a lot of ground to cover here, I decided to sit down with Darryll and ask him some questions about his experience with Siegel.

Arthur Siegel

Chelsea: Can you give us some background on the Institute of Design and how you met Arthur Siegel?

Darryll: Even though I was a graphic design student, I was required to study photography, and the head of that department was Arthur Siegel. The school's curriculum was based on the teachings of Bauhaus, which called for a strong classical foundation in photography and an equivalent emphasis on experimentation.

An image created by Darryll while under the guidance of Arthur.

C: What can you say about him as a teacher?

D: Arthur was an irascible person but at the same time, very concerned with the quality of his students' work. He didn't hesitate to let you know if there was something wrong with your pictures and was extremely blunt with his delivery. Consequently, he could and did rub many students the wrong way, but I believe this was a misinterpretation of his goals for his students. I'm not sure why, but I never had a problem getting along with Arthur, and vice versa. Maybe he recognized the extent of my seriousness about photography and my recognition of how right he could be the vast majority of the time. It was just his nature and if you accepted it, it really was to your benefit.

"Arthur" by Darryll Schiff
C: Was it his teaching style that continues to inspire you today, or are you more influenced by his photographic work?

D: Before I started at the Institute of Design, I hadn't heard of Arthur Siegel, even though he'd had a long and successful career. It was his passion and his demand for excellence that has had the biggest impact on my work.

C: So he was kind of like your mentor.

D: He was definitely my mentor.

"Lesley Moon"- an early work by Darryll

After discussing Arthur, we decided to scroll through some of his photographic work to include on the blog. As we came across Arthur's more motion-heavy studies, I could sense Darryll's intrigue and amusement. He had never seen these pieces before.

A piece from Darryll's "Evanescence" series. 

An untitled motion study from Arthur.
We both immediately understood that the similarities between these specific studies and some of Darryll's recent pieces was no coincidence. It seemed to me that Arthur must have instilled in Darryll the same experimental approach he took in his own career. To this day, when Darryll works, he draws from that place in his brain where Arthur's voice and reason still exists.


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