College of Southern Maryland Art Professor Andrew Wodzianski has been awarded an artist fellowship grant for 2017 by the District of Columbia's Commission for the Arts and Humanities. (Photo: CSM)
LA PLATA, Md. (March 15, 2017)—A College of Southern Maryland art professor known for his affinity to superheroes, childhood nostalgia and science fiction has been honored with a fellowship grant.
Professor Andrew Wodzianski has been awarded an artist fellowship grant for 2017 by the District of Columbia's Commission for the Arts and Humanities. "The grant is wildly important in part because it has no funding restriction. With no unallowable costs, I can choose how to best spend this award for my art practice," Wodzianski said. "A portion of the grant will certainly pay for expendable materials, but I'll also use the funds to travel and conduct research."
The honor and the funding that comes along with the artist fellowship grant came at an opportune time for Wodzianski, who will be on sabbatical from CSM from June through January 2018. During that time, he plans to pursue his own art projects and hopes to be selected for a residency. He is also scheduled to curate two fine art shows. "These exhibits are an exciting balancing act between rose-colored nostalgia and newly transcendent images," he said. "The artists I've selected have one foot planted in their childhood, and another dangling over a pool of prophetic slime. That may sound horrifying to some, but I assure you—it's a fun position to find yourself."
Wodzianski has been at CSM as a full-time professor since 2005 and as adjunct faculty for a year and a half before that. "Professor Andrew Wodzianski is one of the more dynamic and active instructors in our Communication, Arts and Humanities Division," said Dr. Stephen Johnson, chair of the division. "His creativity is displayed in a variety of activities ranging from painting works that combine popular culture and traditional art to performance art and his busy schedule as a curator of special exhibits throughout the DC area."
At CSM, Wodzianski is a studio arts professor who teaches Color Theory and Practice as well as all sections of painting at the college. Wodzianski says it is the perfect job. He is a classically trained painter who also always aimed to become an art educator. "I'm always trying to strike this balance," he said, between creating his own work and teaching others. His own work and projects make him a better teacher, he said, and teaching at CSM helps keep him sharp as an artist.
Both Wodzianski and his art are quirky and memorable. The art he creates reflects pop culture, particularly pop culture from his childhood growing up in northwest Pennsylvania. He is a fan of film ephemera, and he incorporates that interest into his art. For instance, this summer he created a series of color theory exercises on blueprints of vehicles that were used in the television show "Star Trek." That series was juried into a group exhibit "Emulsion" that will take place in March at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery in Washington, D.C. His office at CSM reflects his interest in film, science fiction and horror as well. Students who visit his office are met with walls covered with posters from old horror movies, skulls placed amid the books and games on his shelves, and fantasy and superhero collectible figures studding the walls, shelves and ceiling.
In 2011, the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery at CSM hosted an exhibit of Wodzianski's work, "Games We Play," that was inspired by board games and drawing toys from Wodzianski's childhood. In 2010, Wodzianski himself became art when he lived in a storefront window for two weeks on U Street NW in Washington, DC.
"I jokingly note on my website that I work in crocodile tears, puppy dog tails and magpie chatter. That can be seem dismissive, but I find it's subtly accurate," Wodzianski said. "In part, it references the nursery rhyme 'What are Little Boys Made Of?' It also refers to my silly transformations on stage and canvas. For better or worse, I have an incurable Peter Pan complex. I figure it's best to self-diagnose and keep my paint brushes swinging."
For more information about art programs at CSM, visit www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/credit/academic-divisions/cah/ . For more on Wodzianski's work, visit wodzianski.com/.