Sol Studios 2015

A kind of magic manifests in studio spaces, especially one like Mana Contemporary. Art students, mentors, and creative professionals form a synergy through creative exchange. Jessica Ward and Carolyn Frazier are teachers at the Jersey City Arts Program and founders of Sol Studios, a student and mentor residency that works in support of the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation. Sol Studios is an intensive studio structure that provides art students and mentors the opportunity for independent study and to explore the boundaries between traditional and conceptual techniques.


Young artists exercise their creative dialogue with their assigned mentors; in return the mentors provide guidance, implement a structure, and share their knowledge while executing their own work. The Richard Meier Model Museum, Gary Lichtenstein Editions, and the Book Dummy Press also provided tours that enriched the residency experience. Concluding the three week intensive was a closing reception and Sol Studios work exhibited in Mana Contemporary's fourth floor during the Jersey City Art and Studio Tour 2015.

According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a skill. I wonder if I'll ever reach it. Since 2004, I remember practicing every day for three hours, five days a week, for four years at the VPA - Jersey City Arts program in the New Jersey City University. I don't regret a second of it.

Each freshman starts learning traditional drawing techniques. I was paired with a wonderful group of five freshman students. I found their creative curiosity exciting. As a young artist, I remembered not having any expectations of the program and of myself. I remember feeling surprised with what I've learned and accomplished every year. I wanted to provoke and share that feeling of excitement and surprise with this group. In three weeks we worked on gesture drawings, proportion, portraits while applying principals: contrast, line weight, and composition. This talented, inspired, and creative bunch all branched off to different styles of experimentation after finishing their full body self portraits.

Tomas Redondo continued practicing his self-portrait in different styles and watercolors. He is also the son of artist Fernando Redondo currently working in Mana Contemporary studio 348. Mageto moved forward to experimental drawing with india inks. Tenzin experimented painting with acrylic on wood. All students and mentors paired off to discuss their project goals. The pairing is based on an artists experience and expertise. Juan Ortiz guided JunSean Fung on a clean architectural concept for his senior college portfolio.

Creatives working in different mediums exhibited work all over the city during the JCAST tour. Special thanks to Crystal Davis who also wrote a press release for Sol Studios residency during the tour on ChicpeaJC. Among the list of artists during the residency are:

Mentors: Tyler D. Ballon, Ali Jafri, Kirti Bansal, Crystal Davis, Jessica Zuniga, Kelsey Reilly, Evelyn Mora, Tinhinane Khelifi, Juan Carlos Ortiz, Kristianne Molina

Students: Savanah Rodriguez, Antony Edge, Mageto Angwenyi, Tenzin Lhamo, Tranel Nelson, Carmen Navarro, Abegail Col-Ing, Haifa Hubroman,  JunSean Liew, Vanessa Hondoy, Marinelle Manansala, Franyelly Rodriguez, Jorelle Rea, Ebiani Alfonso, Rosa Miranda, Jina Alhena

Kristianne Molina