The prestigious Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design, located in the “city of artists”–Altos de Chavón, Casa de Campo– since 1983 and has educated many recognized international and Dominican artists, such as Grimaldy Polanco, Jenny Polanco, Fernando Tamburini and many others. Thanks to the impressive works undertaken by its graduates and the excellent curriculum of the Chavón School, this academy is known throughout the world.
So to continue our series “Chavoneros Stories” (Click here to read part 1), we introduce you to the young artist and musician Alanna Leschhorn, who on May 18 graduated in Fine Arts and Illustration from Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design.
Alanna Leschhorn with her parents and brother at the graduation
@cdcliving: How was your experience at the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design?
The Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design made a big difference in my life because apart from having studied there, now I am an artist and I can say that there I grew as a person, I understood aspects of life that helped me develop as an individual. I am now independent enough to face life alone, in all aspects.
Alanna with her class from the Altos de Chavón School of Art & Design
@cdcliving: What is the most important lesson you learnt at the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design?
Criticism. Criticism helped me to understand that there will always be people in the world that will try to lower your self esteem and tell you that you are not enough, but you learn to “take it or leave it”. Also, I learnt: “Do not look for excuses because you will find them, look for solutions, which you can found it also”, as Raul Miyar my teacher always told us.
@cdcliving: What are your plans for the future?
I will continue studying illustration, and I will illustrate books for children and make animations. I also want to integrate my art in my music.
@cdcliving: How do you see yourself in 10 years?
As a successful illustrator, and making music.
@cdcliving: What artist do you admire and why?
Joel-Peter Witkin, because of the way he sees art… I feel that I understand him perfectly. Each time I made sketches for my paintings, I could see the next day the similarities between his photographs and my sketches… just fascinating.
A piece of art by the photographer Joel-Peter Witkin
@cdcliving: What do you like to paint more and why?
Animal heads on human bodies, because I like to emphasize that animals are people, and people are animals, because animals act on instinct, they act according to their nature and environment, while humans we think more, we do not have the intelligence to act by instinct, we just act on what surrounds us.
@cdcliving: What inspires your paintings?
The music and the people around me. You will see that in each of my pieces always will be different, and is because what I express will depends on the situation I have in my life and with whom.
@cdcliving: What is your specialism or in what would you like to specialize?
Illustration and music.
@cdcliving: What do you think about Dominican Fine Arts and Dominican artists?
Contemporary art focuses on expression, not capture a static scene or photograph, it is something more conceptual. Dominican artists are reluctant to jump to the conceptual because they feel very safe in their comfort zone, where you simply have to paint what you see. Altos de Chavón graduate artists understand what a concept is and they apply it in a non-literal way, and rightly so, because the works should transport you to the feeling of the artist, or your own feelings. Each painting is a universe of endless options.
@cdcliving: Do you think you have a chance in the world of art ,why?
Yes, because I feel prepared enough to achieve.
@cdcliving: Would you recommend the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design to others, why?
Yes, absolutely. As I mentioned before, you graduate not only academically, but as a person ready to jump into life, as a person who knows how to get up after every fall.
Do not miss the third and the last part of this series of “Chavoneros Stories” – an interview with a family who all studied at Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design!
Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design
The Altos de Chavón Cultural Center Foundation is a U.S. not-for- profit public charity that has a cultural and educational mission here in the Dominican Republic. The school is on a university level and offers an associate degree, with many students continuing on to Parsons School of Design (now called The Parsons New School For Design) in NY. Founded in 1983 to meet the growing commercial demands of the Dominican Republic, the School of Design offers an intensive two-year program leading to the degree of Associate in Applied Science.