Andres Jaroslavsky is a self-taught figurative painter, he studied MA Creative Practice, graduating in 2014.  

Andres opened the Corner Gallery in York in 2010 and now also teaches courses in Painting, Life Drawing and Portraiture at the University.  We caught up to see what he enjoyed about the course, where he draws his inspiration and his plans for the future...

What made you select the MA Creative Practice? 

I have worked in education for over 20 years as a music teacher. I obtained my PGCE from the Open University in 2009 and, although I started my career as a music teacher, I am also a figurative painter. A few years ago I decided to turn this life-long passion for painting and drawing into a career as a fine art teacher. 

At that time I was teaching painting and drawing at my studio two days a week and I started two life drawing groups. I was also teaching piano lessons three days a week and I was working part time as project coordinator for York Human Rights City project, University of York. I also have two children… So fitting in a full time Masters seemed complicated, to put it mildly! 

The Masters was mostly based in practice, and that was what I was looking for. I think that the organisation of the MA was perfect because they concentrate on all the theory and lectures on Fridays and then you have the freedom to arrange your own appointments and meetings with your tutor and lectures whenever you need. 

What did you really enjoy about your MA and the University?

I liked the challenge. The Masters helped me to organise my own method of painting. I also liked the independence, I wrote my own project, the areas that I wanted to research that you will later review with your tutor, but I never felt that I was imposed tasks that were not related with my practice. 

The MA helped me to review and analyse my whole approach to my painting, from the very basics (designing the stretchers, the primers and grounds that work better for the sort of paintings that I do), to developing a more personal step-by-step method.  The facilities at the University are extremely generous but the main value was the people working there. They were always willing to help, enthusiastic, proactive. I did my MA full time, whilst working full time and that didn't allow me to make full use of all the facilities, but whenever I needed anything, it was there. 

What area do you specialise in?

The main outcomes of this Masters course were to help me resolve two technical problems concerning my palette and my method of painting.  The project of my MA Creative practice at Leeds Arts University consisted of a number of paintings representing Argentina’s last dictatorship working solely with the four colour of the Zorn palette. Named after Swedish artist Anders Zorn, the Zorn palette is limited to only four colours: Yellow, Red, Black and White.  

I am now embarking in the creation of a series of paintings applying the techniques and methods which I experimented with during the MA, putting into practice the outcomes of my research. These paintings will constitute the basis of my next exhibition. I would like to take part in competitions too. In fact, I have recently won one! Yorkshire Art Journal were running a competition on the theme of 'Solitude' and my painting “Madres” which I did for my MA has won and will feature on the front cover of the journal’s second volume.

Where do you draw your inspiration? 

In the particular case of my paintings for the MA I worked on the subject of memory and conflict. I have a long standing interest in human rights issues. I am the author of The Future of Memory: Children of the Dictatorship in Argentina Speak (published by Latin America Bureau, London, 2004, 250 pp).  I have worked on human rights issues since 1992. Between 2008 and 2012 I was country coordinator for Amnesty International (London). I have written several books and papers on this subject, both in English and Spanish. 

Now I would like to work on a number of drawings and paintings that potentially will be the basis for a new exhibition: seven or more paintings on a medium–large scale on the subject of portraiture and the human figure. For this new series of paintings I would also like to explore the use of heavy textures and new mediums.

You can find out more about Andres Jaroslavsky at his website: http://www.jaroslavsky.com/