The GUERRILLA Project

It was the end of April; we had all set­tled into the grim re­al­ity of the pan­demic, and the fact that we were likely to have a whole new way of liv­ing for the fore­see­able fu­ture. I was los­ing track of the days, and we had very lit­tle com­mu­ni­ca­tion from our de­part­ment: had the term even started? What does this online de­liv­ery” of our ed­u­ca­tion even look like? So far, it looked like a whole lot of noth­ing. I was sleep­ing a lot: I’d been iso­lat­ing alone and the lack of rou­tine and hu­man in­ter­ac­tion was get­ting to me. My body would shut down in the mid­dle of the day like clock­work, and my class­mates and I were get­ting de­pressed about the sit­u­a­tion we found our­selves in. Our ed­u­ca­tion, one which we had saved for and moved our whole lives for, had just im­ploded be­fore our eyes. People we know and love were get­ting sick or los­ing fam­ily mem­bers. It was be­com­ing too much, and I needed to do some­thing be­fore my peers and I sunk deeper into the hole of un­cer­tainty and fear that pre­sented it­self to us.

I reached out to my friend Louis Fratino, a suc­cess­ful fig­u­ra­tive painter based in New York, and asked if he would do a stu­dio visit with us on Zoom. He gra­ciously agreed, we set a date, and this con­ver­sa­tion set in mo­tion what would be known as the GUERRILLA Project, a se­ries of talks and stu­dio vis­its that acted as an al­ter­na­tive for Masters stu­dents whose ed­u­ca­tion had suf­fered due to COVID-19 and in­sti­tu­tional in­com­pe­tence. I reached out to many of the con­tacts I made when I ran Platform Gallery in Baltimore, folks I met along the way, artists I showed who went on to have amaz­ing ca­reers. It soon spread to other schools like Goldsmiths, Slade, Wimbledon and Glasgow School of Art.

The fog started to clear a bit for me as I started these talks — I had some­thing to look for­ward to, some­thing con­firmed on the sched­ule to get me out of bed, and con­stant mes­sages to send to peo­ple who I thought would pro­vide valu­able in­sight to us. So far I’ve got­ten to speak to some bril­liant artists and or­gan­is­ers like Lenz Geerk, Julie Tuyet Curtiss, Katy Hessel of The Great Women Artists, Maria Zemtsova of ArtMaze Mag, and Jordan Kasey about their ca­reers and prac­tices. It’s all very ca­sual; can­did con­ver­sa­tion about ad­vice and method­ol­ogy in their work. It’s be­come a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence to talk­ing to a friend in the stu­dio, some­thing we have all missed des­per­ately since this be­gan. I have hosted eleven talks, and we are sched­uled through June with a group of fan­tas­tic cre­atives pooled from the re­sources of my­self and my class­mates who are get­ting the guts to reach out to artists they love, ask­ing them to help us build our own ed­u­ca­tion.