May 16, 2012

I Get To See Grandson Colin Graduate from MICA!

My grandson Colin graduated on Monday from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. The ceremony was an occasion for joy and pride, but it took on a special symbolic aura for me. Colin is the youngest of the adult members of the family which includes my son Todd, my daughter Ann, and Todd's three children -- Jessie, Emily and Colin.

Each of them -- children and grandchildren -- had to work through some extraordinary traumas and challenges in their formative years. But today -- though they are all different and unique individuals -- each one of these well-adjusted adults shares a desire to help other people who are suffering or struggling.  

For me, Colin's graduation was the capstone to this success story... with much of the credit going to son Todd for his exemplary dedication to his kids, and for his superb parenting skills.

The MICA Graduation Ceremony
MICA is one of the nation's oldest and best art schools. It usually appears in the top two or three of U.S. News and World Report's ranking of art schools. The ceremony was held in Baltimore's Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Here's the faculty assembled on stage. Look closely... you can tell it's an art school faculty. Not everyone is decked out in cap and gown:

I tried to take a shot of Colin's accepting his diploma on stage, but I demonstrated yet again my complete lack of photography skills. So we'll have to settle on this post-event photo:

When we got together after the ceremony, Todd asked Colin if he thought MICA had been worth the mega bucks to get his degree. I don't remember Colin's exact words, but it was something like, "Totally. MICA completely helped me define who I am and where I’m going.”

Where he's going in the near term is to Japan to spend a month living with the Japanese relatives of one of his roommates. Then he plans to take at least a year off before considering whether to pursue an MFA. I think that's a great idea. Since one of his options involves completing graduate work and then teaching at the college level, a break from academia now makes a lot of sense.

The Copycat Building
Colin was fortunate for the past few years to share an apartment with seven or eight other students in Baltimore's "Copycat Building." In 1983, the owners of the building decided to rent out part of it as art studios because of its proximity to MICA. But soon the artists began living, as well as working, in their studios. Today, the Copycat is still home to many young artists, musicians, filmmakers, and professionals looking for a large space to live, create, and study in the city. Many of the residents use their living spaces to host art and music events.

The Seniors' Art Show -- held in conjunction with the MICA graduation -- included a section devoted to the Copycat Building. An early release of a book about the landmark structure was on display, and the inscription below provides additional background:

The book includes this shot of Colin at work:

Colin's Senior Art Exhibit
On Sunday, Colin took us (Todd, Todd's girlfriend Jill, Ann, and me) on a tour of his exhibit space in the Senior Art Show. He titled his space "Earthly Delights."

His exhibit is named after The Garden of Earthly Delights, the triptych by Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch (not that I could see many similarities between Bosch's and Colin's work):

I found it easier to see the connection between Colin's Endless Column 

and Brancusi's:

I don't think earlier artists (or today's) could match Colin's originality in this work (my photography doesn't do it justice). Can you guess what this creation made of?

Bet you didn't guess Selsun Blue shampoo!

Here, Colin explains two of his other works to Ann, Jill and Todd:

And what major retailer is represented here?

An Early Colin Schappi Masterpiece
I'm the lucky owner of an earlier work by Colin. I got this collage self-portrait as a Christmas present in 2010. It gets more raves from visitors than any other art in my house... and deservedly so:


Jason Dowler said...

Wonderful to read that, John - as interesting, informative and inspiring as I have long come to expect from your splendid blogs and articles.  Lovely to read about the Copycat Building and to see Colin's artwork.  Here is a young man whose path and career will definitely be exciting and rewarding to follow, I am sure. You and yours must be very proud and deservedly so. Love and all best wishes from Old London Town.  Jason  

Labovitz said...

Mazel tov, John.  You and your family must inspire one another as well as the rest of us.  And what a gracious, loving, articulate and generous grandfather.  

Purushrestha said...


Zahed said...


Zahed said...

Colin, You r very lucky. You got your grandpa at the Graduation Ceremony. Go ahead, This Globe is looking for you. You have a lots of things to do for this Global People.