Recently I was asked to share some personal knowledge with year 12 students at the school of creative arts UniSQ. The brief was teach them something from your practice. Love that.
With 1.5 hour up my sleeve, acrylic paint, brushes and paper I knew exactly what I wanted to share.
When we started the session, I offered this. Today we will play with paint, I will show you my personal technique for creating layers or a double exposure technique but ultimately we want to have fun. There is no assessment, no theme, no outcome at the end other than playing with our medium.
I am a firm believer that in order to develop we need to be able to play, explore, challenge concepts, let go and not always be outcome focused. Sometimes we need to sit down and create and not make a design. Just let the art happen.
This idea can be really challenging, for most people. It often depends on how much you have stretched your art muscles. Nothing can be scarier than a blank piece of paper.
But after about 10mins there was a visible and audiable difference in the space. The shoulders relaxed, the sounds moved from nervous groans to delightful and sometimes surprising hmmms.
Students stopped the rush through, waiting for the next instruction and started having conceptual conversations amongst themselves. Offering ideas of brush movements, colour theory and compositions.
I then moved through the space with them, painting alongside them and offering conversations and individual creative input throughout the space.
The students asked some fascinating questions about my practice as an artist, as well as their potential within the industry. Most wanted to know what actually is the creative industry and what careers options were actually available. The shift is slowly happening, there is still the constant humm in the background of 'well I need a job that pays and if I am an artist I will be broke'. But the conversation is happening, the arts is moving towards a space of career options not career doom.
Everyone say it with me - you can have a career as an artist!
Once the pages filled with colour we then switched it up a gear, and this is where the technical side came into place. I demonstrated how I created the layers and suggested other ways to interpret the technique. Students then adapted the technique to their own work and off they went on their own journey.
It was a great day.