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.
Everyone being introduced to Mr. Prayag Shukla
“Art can never have only one meaning”
Mr. Prayag Shukla reciting “Dhamak Dhamak”, his poem for children.
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.
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.
Street art is a form of expression. It is a direct reflection of an individual, community or the state of a country. It is a statement, but more often than not a question. In some sense it is an artist’s cry for help amid the chaos of the streets.
Street art can make people smile. It can make people think. It’s a tool that can reach out to a million by just sitting there on a wall.
The mentor of the month for August in Mumbai was Anpu Varkey, a street artist based in Delhi. She opened up an entirely new world for our latest batch of young thinkers; the world of walls. Her concept revolved around discovery and portraiture.
The aim was to ultimately have the student’s self-portraits made with the aid of stencils adorn the wall given to them. She wanted each student to plan out their part of the wall after which using chalk they sketched out their background. Soon with the help of paint and spray cans one side of the wall took the shape of a giant, psychedelic eye, as the other side was transformed into a magical forest with vines and a river.
Then using a photo manipulation program and a picture of themselves’ the students were taught the fundamentals of editing a picture to create a stencil on a computer. Armed with a printout of their manipulated image and blades they proceeded to cut their stencils out of mount board. Anpu then showed them how to make a second layer for their stencils, which would mean they could use two colours (something like the famous Obama poster). Once that was done came the moment everyone was waiting for; spray painting their portraits on the wall.
Madness ensued as ladders were propped up, spray can caps were changed and then in full guerrilla style the children quickly taped their stencils to the wall, whipped up their combination of sprays and voila! The wall was in full splendour as the children stood back to appreciate their colourful handiwork. Each one stared into the eyes and of their duotone twin on the wall and a magical moment was born. Though that was shattered almost immediately as the children clambered to have another go, and so the fun continued.
The workshop not only exposed the children to a form of art that is just awakening in our country, it also showed them how to make stencils which is an integral part of street art.