B L A C K B O A R D S
The blackboard to me has a rustic charm that nothing else quite matches. As a teaching medium it is old and simple, the only modern aspect might be that I use children's colored chalks.
Every place that I teach either has to have a blackboard (Not a GREEN board, what's that about?) or they have to get one for me. It’s not a demand as much as an understanding between the learning institution and myself that hires me that this is the medium through which I teach. Passing on this knowledge of the human machine, that is both beautiful and magical in so many ways is my life’s mission. Teaching human anatomy fills a great need in me to connect with the old masters of the past and the young new art students of our collective today. It is the supreme subject of choice for many artists past, present and forever.
I have taught at a few places in my life but my favorite blackboard (BB) is the one that I have used at my Alma Mater since I started teaching there in January 1998, the Art Center College of Design, in beautiful Pasadena California. The BB’s there are a whopping 5 by 10 feet and I often use every square foot. The other school that I love and teach at is the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, LAAFA. They are like family to me. They provide me with two 4 by 5 BB’s butted up side by side for me to have fun with. Like my blackboards, I too am old fashioned and simple. I am the only person that I know that has never had, nor will ever have, a cell phone!
Perhaps my affinity for the blackboard started long ago, watching TV and movies. The old slate boards that little children used in schools long ago. I love the simplicity of the black field, the feel of the chalk on my fingertips and the caressing nature of the activity as I sweep my arm in long arcs making my anatomical drawings for my beloved students. The dust, the sound and the look, it is all a part of an orchestrated dance I do while I talk endlessly about bones, muscles, tendons and fatty folds, ah, the whole of it all. Little tidbits of trivia and quotes sprinkled here and there like good herbs and spices.
I purposely did not include any text or captions in this little book, just chapter headings. I wanted to let the boards lie there, quiet and soft like poems. There is no need for anything else they speak for themselves.
I do want to thank Careen Friedland, owner of San Marino Gallery, for convincing me to have an entire art show with only blackboards. I decided to include them. Hundreds came and loved the work as the blackboards made from flexible plywood serpentined throughout the 2000 sq foot space in Old Town Pasadena in 2010. We did not sell a single piece.... It was a great show.
Rey Bustos 2013