Fernández offers graduates ten practical tips on being an artist that have been helpful on her own creative journey — but they double as an ennobling moral compass for being a decent human being in any walk of life:
- Art requires time — there’s a reason it’s called a studio practice. Contrary to popular belief, moving to Bushwick, Brooklyn, this summer does not make you an artist. If in order to do this you have to share a space with five roommates and wait on tables, you will probably not make much art. What worked for me was spending five years building a body of work in a city where it was cheapest for me to live, and that allowed me the precious time and space I needed after grad school.
- Learn to write well and get into the habit of systematically applying for every grant you can find. If you don’t get it, keep applying. I lived from grant money for four years when I first graduated.
- Nobody reads artist’s statements. Learn to tell an interesting story about your work that people can relate to on a personal level.
- Not every project will survive. Purge regularly, destroying is intimately connected to creating. This will save you time.
- Edit privately. As much as I believe in stumbling, I also think nobody else needs to watch you do it.
- When people say your work is good do two things. First, don’t believe them. Second, ask them, “Why”? If they can convince you of why they think your work is good, accept the compliment. If they can’t convince you (and most people can’t) dismiss it as superficial and recognize that most bad consensus is made by people simply repeating that they “like” something.
- Don’t ever feel like you have to give anything up in order to be an artist. I had babies and made art and traveled and still have a million things I’d like to do.
- You don’t need a lot of friends or curators or patrons or a huge following, just a few that really believe in you.
- Remind yourself to be gracious to everyone, whether they can help you or not. It will draw people to you over and over again and help build trust in professional relationships.
- And lastly, when other things in life get tough, when you’re going through family troubles, when you’re heartbroken, when you’re frustrated with money problems, focus on your work. It has saved me through every single difficult thing I have ever had to do, like a scaffolding that goes far beyond any traditional notions of a career.
Day 3 was held at Gallery 7 where all the children went to see the exhibition of Ram Kumar, a Bombay Progressives artist.
The show started with Mr. Prayag Shukla, art critic & poet, introducing the artist and his life. He also led the discussion about the interpretations of art and its meaning(s).“Apni masti mein chalta hai artist, it doesn’t matter whether we paint or not, but we become an artist when we see a work of art. We become an artist because we start adding and subtracting from the work; we see what is there but we also see what is not there.” The kids learnt that every piece of art always has more than one meaning and should always be open to interpretation.
The children then went on to create spontaneous works where they explored the beauty of lines and color, inspired by the creations of Ram Kumar.
This piece is written by Rehaan Kaul, a student intern for Art1st.
Day 2 kicked off to a start by a small exercise to calm everybody down. This was followed by a short exercise where everyone went around the gallery and filled in the timeline they were provided
After this concluded, the children moved on to describing their favorite artwork and what it meant to them. Per artwork discussions were initiated and the children dwelled into the deeper meaning of the piece and what it made them feel.
“I love this painting because it has many of my favourite things in it. Like a season ball”
“I really love the way it is so small yet has brilliant detail. The way the colours convey different moods appeal to me and the warmth of the 4th painting comforted me.”
“The realism of the painting is what I really like.The way the artist adds subtleties like the clock and medals helps us understand the character of the person shown.”
After the conclusion of this exercise the children sat down to create an artwork with the elements from Day 1’s sketches which they incorporated into a piece that had a story/meaning.
This ART1ST workshop revolved around making the children and young adults aware about Indian Art and its various styles and schools.
The workshop began with the children being asked an important question: Who is an artist?
“An Artist is an explorer” “An Artist is a dreamer”
” An Artist is a creator”
This was followed by the ‘Eye Spy’ game where each participant was given an eye which belonged to a painting among the various present at the gallery. Their job was to navigate through the labyrinth of paintings and find the one which matched the eye they were provided. On finding the right painting, they wrote the name of the artist, the year of conception, name of painting and the school of art it belonged to.
The children then reconvened back at the meeting point and shared their discoveries and hence the different types of schools were introduced. From all the eyes, a timeline was created that showed the span of different art forms through the years in the country.
After this the children chose a few favorite artworks and sketched in their notebooks any element from them.
The day ended with everyone sharing the objects/elements they had picked from the paintings they had liked. It was interesting to hear their reasons for picking it- “It had a cricket ball”, “”I loved the lamps”, “I liked the wings”
Wings…that’s what they gave to their ideas, their thoughts.
Rehaan Kaul (Correspondent for Art1st)
Thank you for your support and for being a part of our fraternity!
As a treat to all art lovers I am sharing the works of a very special Artist/illustrator, Shaun Tan. I will also share with you his book The Arrival and the outstanding adaptation in a musical and also stage performance. Such is the power of his visual imagery, his wordless books!
Enjoy you Saturday!
The Open Minds session on Nov 30 on Visual Thinking Strategies was conducted by Ellie Cross and Louise Conway at Ascend International School. 20 participants among them teachers who teach various subjects at different schools, some parents and some students attended the session.
What do you see in this painting?
The session began with an interactive exercise where all participants shared individual thoughts on a painting in front of them. Take a minute to look at this picture. What do you think is going on in this painting? Why do you think so? What do you see that makes you say so? What more can we find?… So on and so forth. This interaction set the tone for the session.
The thrust of the exercise was to emphasise on two things – that children look at and talk about an artwork through their own experiences and that the facilitator has to paraphrase the child’s thoughts with the use of important and correct terminologies and language. Part of the exercise was also to learn to prompt the children to think more while not using explicit praises for anyone in the classroom.
A short video on VTS explained the resulting factors such as sharpened observation skills, flexible thinking, critical thinking and enhanced communication skills in children.
Being the facilitator
After some insights into the history and research of VTS, its application in different subjects in the classrooms, such as mathematics and literature, it application methods in art-related settings, the group of 20 was split into two for hands on experience of becoming facilitators themselves.
Most of the participants became facilitators, asking co-participants to interpret and share thoughts on different artworks.
Most of the participants who tried to facilitate the session, felt and expressed that it was difficult to be a facilitator, to ask the right questions, to not bring in one’s own thoughts and inclination while probing and asking questions. And all of them felt the need to practice a bit before taking it to their classrooms.
During the question and answer session which concluded the session, some engaging questions were raised and discussed. Some of the questions were:
– How guided does a conversation have to be in a classroom?
– What if one wanted to use a three dimensional object for such an exercise and not a painting?
– Has VTS been used for the visually impaired by having 3D impressions and objects?
– How can one apply VTS as a parent at home?
– How does one paraphrase if a child is trying to open up and share something uneasy that the child may be going through?
– Does a teacher him/herself spend enough time in looking at and engaging with the artwork so as to ask the children to do so?
– Does a teacher have to know the historical background and facts about the artwork and should they talk about it in class during VTS?
The purposeful session inspired many a teachers to take VTS-inspired classes in their classrooms! Let’s see what the children have to share?!
The sky is not always blue. The clouds are not always white. The grass certainly is not only one shade of green. Art in its various forms- a photograph, a painting, or even the written word is able to capture these beautiful sights and moments accurately yet imaginatively. Art, thought to be a form of escapism, is actually a window to various shades of reality.
More often than not art courses are considered to be “extra”-curricular activities. We don’t imagine anything serious coming out of them. This thought process can be attributed to a limited knowledge and understanding of what art education means. Our knowledge about art is restricted to a few names- Michelangelo, Picasso and perhaps for the Indian in us-M F Husain. Herein lies the problem. We associate art with something other people do. Truth be told artists can be anybody-poets,singers,actors,thinkers,innovators,you and even I. German artist Joseph Beuys, famously said, “ Everyone is an artist”. This was not to suggest that everybody confine their life to art in the traditional sense of the word, but that we must all be creative in our own areas of specialization whether it be politics,law,medicine or homemaking.
This is where art education can play a crucial role in a person’s life, especially in the formative years. Research suggests that children transition from concrete to abstract thinking from 7 1/2 to 9 years of age. Art education has the capacity to develop intuition,reasoning,and imagination into unique forms expression. It brings various perspectives to the table. Only through exposure to different perspectives can one evolve into a sensitive and respectful individual. Contemporary artist KK Raghava says, “I cannot promise my child a life without bias, we are all biased- but I promise to bias my child with multiple perspectives”.
There are no rights or wrongs here. Art is just a means of exploring the world around you whilst developing your own comprehension and communication skills. This was the principal behind the founding of Art1st.
We at Art1st believe that art is capable of igniting passion and curiosity in children and adults. Art1st’s “Art Education Program” envisions a culture where the arts inspire subtle and sophisticated forms of thinking consequently grooming children to be reflective, creative and articulate individuals.
‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’- Albert Einstein