Painting her way to New York City

Skills: Michelle Prezioso has been accepted into a summer residency program at the New York Academy of Art. Photograph supplied



CHURCHILL Federation University student Michelle Prezioso will be flying to New York this month to partake in a prestigious summer residency program at the New York Academy of Art.

The New York Academy of Art is a private art school in Tribeca, New York City.

The academy offers a Master of Fine Arts degree with a focus on technical training and critical discourse as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate of Fine Art.

Ms Prezioso is a third-year Bachelor of Arts student of Fine Arts at Churchill. Wanting to expand her skills and career, Ms Prezioso applied for a selective scholarship in New York.

“I did a colour mixing workshop just online with the National Portrait Gallery and the person delivering the workshop was talking about an experience and they mentioned they attended this program, and because I want to pursue a career in art I thought it would be a good idea to apply,” Ms Prezioso said.

So that she did, Ms Prezioso filled out an application, got a reference from Federation University and sent over examples of her artwork to be accepted into the renowned art school with a scholarship as well.

Jetting off last week, Ms Prezioso says she is, “really excited but a bit nervous too, because I’ll be going on my own, but it’s amazing to get the opportunity to go overseas for something that’s going to help develop my career, something I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do”.

The summer program will be an intensive training in all different art forms from painting, drawing, and sculpting.

Students will also get to travel around to major studios in The Big Apple and major galleries, with an end-of-season exhibition at the end of the process at one of the prestigious galleries, with opportunities to showcase personal work.

Ms Prezioso has many artists from which she draws inspiration from.

“I love a lot of portrait painters and figurative painters. So I love Australian like Natasha Bieniek, she’s been in the Archibald a few times and I love her hyper-realistic work,” she said while adding she takes inspiration from Atong Atem and Cindy Sherman too.

“I have a sort of surreal element to my work, so I gravitate my work to those artists too.

“I would say it’s realistic portraiture, but it’s not hyper-realistic, I guess it’s more an expressive version.

Having aspirations of becoming a professional artist, Ms Prezioso is excited to fine-tune her skills, meet new people and make global connections.

“I hope it’s really going to boost my technical ability and give me that extra confidence to pursue what I have been doing.

“I am from a regional area in Traralgon, it is exciting to be able to connect with people internationally,” she said.

With a passion for the community, Ms Prezioso would want to bring her skills back for community-run workshops and help people through art.

“I used to work at Latrobe Youth Space, working with young people in the area to give them the opportunity in the region to enjoy their time here and give them reasons to stay, so I am very passionate (about the local community),” she said.

“Art is amazing, especially after COVID the benefits to mental health, creating community and having pride in where you live and what you do, I think art is really important for all those things.”

Federation University lecturer, Dr Julie Reed-Henderson couldn’t be prouder of Ms Prezioso.

“It is inspiring to see one of our dedicated and talented Federation University Arts Academy visual art students forging opportunities and insights in the art world beyond our shores from regional Victoria. Michelle is a very worthy recipient of this New York selection and scholarship, and we congratulate her on her creative achievement,” she said.