Why does time seem to go by quicker when you are having fun? It sure doesn’t feel like we are starting the second to last week of ArtWorks!
One of my favorite things about working with young people in the art studio is that I get to experience first hand the development of their work. Even though it has been only a month that we’ve been working together, my interns at the visual arts co-op have made noticeable progress in both their thinking and their craft skills.
In just four weeks I saw a student go from drawing a bird’s-eye view of a still life floating in the middle of the page, to completing a fully resolved composition depicting relationships between objects. Another student who came on the first day with tiny little doodles of anime cartoons on scrap paper, has taken his work to the next level, and just finished a beautiful 48”x36” piece depicting multiple characters falling from the sky (nice foreshortening Wilfred!). Most surprising was to see my quietest student find a very loud voice through her sculptures. In a corner by herself, she worked diligently to transform discarded pieces of materials into intricate sculptures. Seeing my interns make this kind of progress in such a short time is very rewarding. I wonder how much more they could accomplish if we had a 9-5 schedule every day?
I remember during the first week of work, my interns needed to be told what to do. Nowadays my students are already working before I even give out directions for the day. I love that everyone seems to have found their niche. Students who excel at drawing are making large and elaborate drawings while trying out other media on top. students with a strong color sensibility, are now making paintings on canvas and whatever other surface they can get their hands on. Students who recognize the value of objects, are making sculptural arrangements with found pieces of material. I must admit that my job is much more interesting now, than in the beginning of the program, because I don’t have to explain as much and we can focus deeper into other kinds of issues. The interns seem to finally have taken charge of their own work. This is also visible in my interactions with the interns. I now find myself more concerned with pushing their ideas forward rather than with the technical aspects of the work.
Though we have developed some positive work habits over the last few weeks, some areas of improvement still remain. For example, while the quality of the work is no quite what I would like it to be, we continue to strive to make it better and better every day. But more importantly, they are holding each other accountable for producing quality work by critiquing and helping each other out.The culminating even is just around the corner, and there is a lot to get done between now and then, but I’m sure that we will achieve our goal.