top of page

10 Questions for Alumni with Alaina Plowdrey, Elena Rodz, Garrett Cook

Published in the Academy's bulletin (first appearing August 3, 2022) , the Academy asks ten questions about what's going on in the minds and studios of their alumni.








In which city do you currently reside?

Pensacola, FL

Corpus Christi, TX

Philadelphia, PA

Who is your favorite

artist at the moment?

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

All the Wyeths

T. Allen Lawson

What was the last

exhibition you saw?

"By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500-800" at the Detroit Institute of Art

"The Poetry of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes from The New York Historical Society"

NYAA Summer Exhibition

What are you currently reading?

Visual Phenomenology by Michael Madary

Empire of Silence, the Murderbot Diaries, Dungeon Crawler Carl

Freakonomics - Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

What's happening in your studio right now?

Drawing and painting portraits overlapping subtle yet sublime elements of nature

Making twenty eight 5x7 paintings for a solo show in Houston in December. Outside my studio the hibiscus are blooming and its finally swimming pool season!

Lots of small/mid-size paintings. Mostly landscape, some portraiture.

What other alumni are you in closest contact with?

Meredith Lachin, Cara DeAngelis, Lauren Woods, Lauren Redding and Brett Harvey

Elizabeth Misitano, Andrea Williams, Michael Meadors, Chrissie O'Heron (she was my model)

Elliot Purse and Krista Smith

What Academy class had the biggest impact on you?

Each class I took during my time at the academy had ways of imprinting upon my young artist soul. I had just turned 23 when I started the Academy. Every experience was monumental in some way and taught me something.

2011 was pretty cool. 2010 wasn't so bad either.

Painting 1 with JP Roy

If you could give one piece of advice to a current student, what would it be?

Many people will offer you their opinion of what and/or how you "should" create. Be kind to them in your response, but create what you want to create. There will always be critics (some very close to you and some you will never meet). You will burn out and lose interest if you create solely to please others. Try out new things, get uncomfortable, but please yourself first. You will nurture yourself and your true supporters will follow seeing your authenticity. Double win.

Don't feel compelled to paint a certain subject or adhere to a certain style. Sell everything you make at school cheap; you will be making much better work that you love so much more after you graduate. (And if you miss the artwork, you can always make it again). Finally, you can have a lucrative art career even if you leave New York City.

Make the most of your time surrounded by peers and teachers. It can be difficult to maintain close connections and receive critical feedback on your work once school is over. Don't be afraid to pivot or explore different modes of working. Life can get in the way all the time, but the worst thing you can do is to stop producing. Even if it's just a little bit, keep painting/drawing/sculpting as much as you can.

Website or Instagram handle you would like to share?


bottom of page