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Two Alumni Compete on New Bravo Series

Find out their backgrounds, artistic successes and experiences at MICA -- and read what New York magazine, the Baltimore Sun and Miami Herald have to say

Posted 04.22.10 by mica communications

Bravo's "Work of Art"

The latest incarnation of Bravo reality competitions pits artist against artist, and two MICA alumni are among the contestants. Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, which begins airing June 9, features John Parot '98 (Mount Royal School of Art) and Jaclyn Santos '07 (painting) vying with 12 other rising stars in the art world to compete for a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and a cash prize.

READ: Baltimore Sun A&E article by Chris Kaltenbach interviews Parot and Santos.
Show judge Jerry Saltz' weekly critiques of the artists and show for New York magazine.
READ: The Miami Herald
introduces readers to Jacyln Santos
VIDEO: Watch the season sneak peek trailer.


John Parot '98

"I've always been a trailblazer, treaded where people have thought I was crazy or they were scared to go," Parot said. Using untraditional materials, and often-untraditional colors, he works in several mediums, but focuses on painting and drawing. He has shown his work in more than 40 group exhibitions and in nearly a dozen solo exhibitions, including a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and a show currently on view through June 12 at Western Exhibitions, also in Chicago.

John Parot, Self-Portrait, Infrared, ink and gouache collage on triangle panel, 2010."Being a gay man, I am interested in what it's like being a gay man living in the present," he said about the themes of his artwork. In documenting the "culture of gay," he said the community, symbols and influences change with the times. His bold color palette is even influenced by gay life, which he said often happens at night: the neon glow of signs and discos, red sirens, black leather pants.

Parot has been making art since he was five and began selling it in the '80s, but came to Mount Royal in 1996 to help "make sense of my choices --trying to focus and make a signature style. Baltimore and John Waters helped me define my style" (Parot worked on one of Waters' films).

"I love the artwork that I did in Baltimore. It's such a fascinating city, and there was a lot of inspiration," he said, emphasizing the creative nature of the town that allows artist to have freedom of expression. He cites an example of when he was showing at School 33, he painted the walls hot pink and chocolate brown--with "more than one coat of paint, too"--and they didn't flinch. "There is a lot of high culture to low culture and the work I did was based on those high-low differences."

After graduation, and a fellowship at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, he moved back to Chicago in 2001 and worked at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the sculpture department for five years. Now living in Los Angeles after an "impulsive move," he works as a studio manager for an artist and works on his own portfolio. "I have always been an interdisciplinary artist: sewing, painting, watercolor," he said, saying his background helped him out with the challenges on Work of Art.

"Anytime you embark on a new venture and new journey, you learn more about yourself," which he stated is the main reason he decided to apply to be on Work of Art. "It's always great to get feedback on your work, no matter what they say. I can appreciate that being an instructor for a period in my life, and the judges did an excellent job with constructive criticism."

"John always struck me as a one of a kind," said now-Illustration Chair José Villarrubia. "He had a giddy mixture of irreverence and nostalgia that reflected not just in his work but in just about every conversation. Wise, hilarious and sophisticated beyond his years, I am thrilled by his current success."

Jaclyn Santos '07

Upon graduation from MICA, where Santos received numerous awards for her artistic achievements, she moved to New York City and within a month landed a position as a painting assistant to mixed-media artist Jeff Koons '76, where she worked for two years before leaving to go on Work of Art. Primarily working in oil on canvas, though she is also experienced in video, photography and drawing, Santos' pieces reflect the personal challenges she has had to overcome while addressing larger social issues. When asked about the often-provocative nature of her work, she said it's "almost a compulsion. For me, everything has come back to sexuality and spirituality and how they play off each other. As beings, we act primarily off the basis of either or both in most circumstances."

Growing up in Miami "there was a lot of emphasis on physical appearance, and from a very young age this social pressure was something I was acutely aware of and wanted to address in my art." She first started to paint at age 16 and came to MICA because of its painting reputation. Santos found her place and her style and excelled at MICA, winning several awards, including the C. Louise Mullan Flanigan '34 Scholarship, MICA Achievement Award and Painting Departmental Recognition Award. She credits her senior thesis mentor, faculty member Colleen Asper, with helping her become more self-aware--both personally and through her art. The two are still in touch, as Asper is based in New York as well, and Santos says her mentor made the transition after graduation much easier.

Jaclyn Santos, Super Star, oil on canvas, 2009.Santos' latest work deals with the themes of voyeurism, identity and competition. It looks at fictitious celebrity personas and the way they are sexualized in the media as she questions if they are victims or if they intentionally objectify themselves for notoriety. One of these works, which was her entry as a required self portrait for Work of Art, is a painting evoking a paparazzi photo of Britney Spears in which the artist is exiting a car.

Santos said she learned a lot being on Work of Art, the most from the critiques with the judges, particularly Jerry Saltz. She said that because the challenges were very short--often 13 hours or less of work time--"I couldn't always paint, so I had to use different mediums," where she was able to utilize the foundation courses she had while at MICA.


Photo captions: (top) John Parot, Self-Portrait, Infrared, ink and gouache collage on triangle panel, 2010; (bottom) Jaclyn Santos, Super Star, oil on canvas, 2009.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.


Jaclyn Santos '07 Wins Bravo Show's Weekly Challenge
In episode five, which aired the week of July 7, Jaclyn Santos won the challenge in which she has to represent "Art That Moves You" and trip the contestants had to take across Manhattan. By winning the challenge, in which she captured images of passers-by, she wins immunity and cannot be eliminated in the sixth episode.

John Parot '98 Wins Reality Show Challenge, Getting Artwork on Cover of Penguin Classic
MICA alumnus John Parot won the challenge in episode three, which asked the artists to design a book cover for a Penguin Classic book. Parot's brightly colored abstract painting for The Time Machine beat out all the others and has been published by Penguin, available here.

John Parot '00, The Time Machine cover


Work of Art

In similar fashion to Top Chef or Project Runway, contestants face a new challenge each episode and are whittled down to one winner at the end of the season. The challenges are "conceptual in nature, so they weren't medium challenges necessarily, but about ideas and communicating those ideas effectively," contestant Jaclyn Santos said. Challenges stretch the artists' range, working in a variety of mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, collage and industrial design, and then the pieces were critiqued by a panel including Bill Powers, a New York Gallery owner and literary art contributor; Jerry Saltz, current art critic for New York Magazine; Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, esteemed curator and owner of Salon94 gallery; and art enthusiast China Chow, who serves as host and judge. Art auctioneer Simon de Pury served as a mentor to the contestants.

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist was produced by Pretty Matches and Magical Elves for Bravo, with Sarah Jessica Parker, among others, serving as executive producer and occasional show guest.

For more information, visit www.bravotv.com.