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.
“Maurice Sendak’s books were shaped by his own childhood: one marked by the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the concentration camp deaths of most of his extended family, and parents consumed by depression and anger. When Sendak started illustrating and writing for children, he vowed that he wouldn’t write stories of sunshine and rainbows, because that’s not real life” says Stacy Conradt
Maurice believed that it is unnatural to think that there is such a thing as a blue-sky, happy-clouded childhood for anybody. “I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass, but I know that that’s the very essence of what makes my work good. And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that’s fine. I don’t do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can’t not do it.”
His book MOMMY? is a riot. Take a look at the video and also enjoy the playfulness of his illustrations.
More on Sendak in the next post
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 culmination of the seven-month long art workshops undertaken as an Art1st initiative saw its high-point here at IGNCA on May 1, 2
and 3. Partner a Master, as it is called, is a line-up where contemporary artists and children of various private and public schools in Delhi converge to work on art projects. Meticulously planned workshops incorporated diverse means and mechanisms that dabble exclusively in the arena of art. The method employed was having a group of 7 artists/mentor work with the same set of children over seven months; one artist/mentor a month. These workshops were conducted between August 2013 and March 2014 making budding and consolidated artists of India.
The exhibition was thrown open for public viewership after the student presentations in the function organized on May 1. This formed a considerable part of the event. Students chose to present on one of the artist under whose mentorship they grew and evolved over the month-long workshop. The students spoke about the artist’s philosophy, the projects, the creative enhancing mechanisms and their overall experiences.
The presentations were a revealing experience in terms of the fine details that the students acquired over the artist’s work. They captured everything from philosophical ideation to subtle execution. In addition to understanding and discussing the artists, the presentations also brought students’ own journeys across the seven-month long undertaking. They spoke at length about their experiences, evolution and forays in the field of arts with their mentors. Students highlighted their appreciation and reception towards the very many art forms as reflected upon by the respective artists.
Shambhavi Thakur of The Shriram School, Vasant Vihar spoke at length about her learning process by working under artist Sharmila Samant and how it opened the whole world of brand culture and consumerism that engulfs us all the time and yet remains invisible. Toeing the same line, Sanyaa Mehrotra of DPS, R.K.Puram enthralled the audience by narrating how working with artist DaKU unleashed her creative potentials on the walls in form of Graffiti. Similarly, Aadya Agarwal of Sanskriti School, spoke at length about how working with clay under Anita Dube made her confront serious philosophical questions like journey of a seed into its final blossoming as a sapling and asserted that it reflects in her understanding of the medium. In similar tones, the other students spoke at length about artists’ Manisha Parekh, Shambhavi Singh, Tushar Joag, Asim Waqif.
This engaging journey of artistic explorations undertaken through the workshops ended up on a high note with many parents and
guardians in attendance to celebrate their children’s creative accomplishments. The event also saw the encouraging participation of many noted educationists and teachers and heads of institutions. The best, however, was the fact that the event did not mark an end to the journey but of a new beginning with the children from Shiv Nadar School thronging the exhibition space with their art teachers in following days.
Some of the exhibits: