Debora Faccion Grodzki is an artist and a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the State University of New York in Binghamton. Born and raised in Brazil, she got her BA and MA in Social Communication before moving to the US. With more than 10 years of experience teaching at the university level, Debora has taught courses on semiotics, art history, and art theory for artists. She has presented her research internationally and has published her texts both in English and Portuguese, including publications such as Hyperallergic, ArtPulse, and Media-N.
Living upstate New York, her art practice is embedded in nature and spaciousness. She accesses the joy and enchantment of life while sustaining a deep appreciation for theory. Through the creation of portals in her artworks, Debora seeks to integrate all aspects of her life’s daily reality, nurturing the connections between her roles as a mother, an art historian, a lover, and a friend.
Debora has received many distinctions for her research on art, including a scholar award from the Arts in Society Network in Budapest (2013), a year-long graduate fellowship at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2016), and a Material and Visual Worlds Area of Excellence fellowship from SUNY-Binghamton (2018).
I have been teaching art theory to adult learners for more than ten years in Brazil and the United States. In 2018, I created a course titled From Critical Theory to Creativity, which I continue to teach regularly and has 100% student approval. In my dual role as both artist and art historian, I see that we often separate between that which is "intellectual" (the meaning, theory, thinking) and that which is "active" (the making, touching, transforming materials). This new mentorship model is the opportunity to work one-on-one with other artists who feel the need to investigate their reasons for making art.
As a mentor of artists, I use theoretical thinking as a creative perspective, working to overcome the division between thinking and doing. It is not about "putting theory to practice," nor is it about learning "how to" use theory. It is about integrating the making and the meaning, recognizing the theoretical substrate that permeates the creative act. It is also about cultivating a fruitful theoretical experience, realizing the roots of our thoughts, making conscious choices about which kind of knowledge we grow with our artmaking.
The mentorship is a 5 meetings package to be used in 4 months. We meet twice in the first month of mentorship to establish your basic theoretical paradigms, and then we work in the following months on specific creative goals according to your own needs. With the mentorship, we intend to help you identify, evaluate and integrate your own theoretical perspective into your artmaking. This work elevates and nurtures the creative process, and overall, provides a container for intentional transformations.
“I feel comfortable attempting to relate my artworks to theory now that I have an understanding of what theory is to me.”
“Debora’s model has been extremely helpful towards achieving autonomy in my work.”
“The critical theory that Debora introduced to us is insightful and offers different perspectives in which I can approach my art.”
*These quotes come from anonymous student evaluations from the course I mention above.
Where artists make meaning of their art-making! Every week, we hear from one artist's creative process, learning all about their most recent finished project. We discuss everything artists work with, from materials to thoughts, from dreams to gestures, from feelings to tools. At Artist Praxis, we stand for inclusivity and curiosity, connectivity, and human warmth.
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