Monday, September 30, 2013


An open call to artists went out: create a portrait of the founder of the School of Visual Arts MFA Fine Arts program and recently retired chair, David L. Shirey. Organized by SVA alums at the studio/art space that they run and named after the man himself, The Shirey will be showing the work in their exhibition simply titled David on October 18th, 2013. 

I sent in my ink on paper version (pictured above) last week. When I was thinking about how I might want to portray the man, the myth, the legend, I knew that his eyes should be most prominent, as they are one of the first things you notice about him. They are a bright, piercing, other-worldly blue. Like, there is no way this blue exists in real human eyeballs on this earth. He is also super broad and muscular because he works out constantly. Like, he knows people at his local gym so they lock him in at night when they're done cleaning up so he can continue his grueling regime well past midnight. Oh yeah, did I mention he's also in his 80s? And while his physical fitness is important to him, and he often wears obscenely tight shirts to show it off, there is always a side of Shirey that remains hidden, buttoned up. He is extremely private and incredibly smart and he has a wonderful way of making you feel like you're the most important and interesting person in the room when he talks to you. I had the privilege of working with him at SVA for two years after I was a student in the program and I am so very grateful for the opportunity he gave me and for the chance I got to know him better. 

Go see this group exhibition at The Shirey located at 47 Thames Street in Brooklyn, NY on Friday, October 18th, 2013 from 7 pm-11 pm. While you're there, take pictures of everyone's work and send them to me. Then hoist a light beer (his favorite) to the man who brought us all together. 

- Cathleen   


  1. I love your drawing. I think we need to talk about a commission. Or a trade.

  2. thanks, alissa! i would LOVE to arrange a trade with you! ANYTIME! whatcha got??


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