In The Studio
What better way to cruise into a new week than working on projects in the studio. Yesterday was Monday– a studio day, when the EC artists are working on personal visual and performing arts projects.
EC artist Yadira Prado has been with the Enrichment Center for over ten years. She loves music she can dance to, and has been working on this dance project performed to Shakira’s song Ojos Asi for several months. With the help of her backup dancers, EC artists Marlen Hernandez and Jose Salgado, and the EC’s Music History/Performance Teacher Lulu Gamez, Yadira put the dance on video.
Ask ten artists, trained or untrained, for input on a particular medium or technique, and you’ll get ten different suggestions about the right way. The ways may differ slightly or drastically. The artists may be hardcore insistent, defensively indignant, or “whatevs” ambivalent about their way. Get those ten artists together, and they’ll discuss and debate for an hour (which is great).
At the EC, this happened most recently while five of my staff asked me for input as they discussed the right way to apply an acrylic wash. My response was derived from a video I found after a similar conversation about the right way a few years ago.
I was surprised to discover that we each had a different way. Discussion among the six of us revealed that some use water to thin the acrylic. Others use a medium. Some apply the wash very thin. Others apply it rather opaquely. Some use a tone which matches the overall color temperature of the palette being used. Others use a contrasting tone. One prefers a gray. Some cannot abide brush strokes, and others tolerate or even like them. … and… Some don’t use a wash at all.
The truth is that there is no right way. None of these artists is so oblivious that they set themselves up for failure every time they paint. Each of these artists is using a way that works for them. Yes, yes, yes. It is possible that there may be more efficient, productive ways—ways they may not care for or know about. But right now, their way is the right way for them.
As the director, I will eventually be expected to make a decision about the right way for the program. How will the artists on staff mentor the EC artists? Which way will be the right way?
Too lazy to consult the shelves of art books behind me, I turned to the internet. (Send me answers, internet. I need to know the right way to apply an acrylic wash.) But the internet knows that everyone has a different way, and there is no one right way. (Hence, a million results instead of, like, five.) Fortunately, among the million, the internet sent me a video which, in addition to the video above, sort of sums up a few different ways, lending options to the EC artists (and staff) and a sense of legitimacy to my decision.
As usual, the EC’s approach is that art is not about right ways and wrong ways. There is always a way. Be creative. Find the way that works for you, and get to work.
Thank you, internet.
Every artist needs to get out of the studio from time to time. To get out into the fresh air, stretch the legs, take a moment to reflect, or just have a snack.
The EC artists are no exception. We are in the studio 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, 12 months of the year … getting out of the studio a few times a month is a well-deserved break.
Outing days are limited to destinations within walking distance, so being downtown is great, as there are lots of interesting destinations.
One of our monthly outings is called Sweet Treat Tuesday. We venture out in search of a vendor selling sweet treats… on a Tuesday. We have a few other outings, too. Wired Wednesday– one Wednesday a month we go for a walk to get coffee (or cocoa or whatever). The Downtown Lowdown outing is new for 2016. We’ll be visiting cool businesses, learning about what they do, meeting the people who work there, and reporting back in a bi-monthly blog.
The EC artists are good customers and smart consumers. We know that if 12 to 15 of us suddenly descend upon a business, it can be overwhelming… so we’re patient. We stand in line and wait our turn. We are friendly and polite. We’re pretty easy to please, but if someone is not sure what they want, we will let other customers go ahead of us.
We like going to places where we can get good food, good service, and a good price. We like going places where we feel comfortable– where the people are cool, relaxed, and Continue reading
Any artist can have a hard time convincing the public that the prices they set are legitimate. Outsider artists have a more difficult time because of the perception that their art is somehow less valuable, because the artist hasn’t received formal art training. That perception is most dangerous when it’s held, not by the public, but by the artist him/herself. We work hard to squash that perception when we see it in the artists.
(This is where I might normally get up on my soapbox, and vent about the myth of the “real artist” … but I won’t.)
Many of the EC artists have trouble pricing their art, and need some help. When we provide that help, we have simple guidelines.
#1: Numbers have to be real (“Ten hundred million thousand dollars” is… interesting to think about, but pretty unreal). Continue reading
January 2016 may be a new beginning, but it’s business as usual for the EC artists. Our first post for 2016 is the first in a monthly series called IN THE STUDIO. Today’s post is a slideshow of snapshots of EC artists working on new projects.
Robert Garcia is working on a poster for Disney Infinity 3.0. And this is just the sketch!
From snakes to sharks to birds of prey, Oscar Onsurez is drawn to powerful animals. He’s starting 2016 with a new eagle portrait. He doesn’t need a reference photo. He just needs to take off his hat!
Luiz Gomez is starting a new canvas from one of his fantastic sketches. (He’s always sketching!) He’s got his music, Continue reading
The two big resolutions are “I’m going to lose weight,” and “I’m going to quit smoking”. Both of these are really hard to keep, because they rely on you changing habits and combating addictions. Being really hard to keep doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the resolution, but you should keep in mind what you’re dealing with.
One artist suggested that somebody might decide to stop burping. But EC artist Sofia pointed out, “It’s gas. Just gas. Everyone gets gas.” Hilda agreed, “Yeah. That would be like saying you’re never going to fart.” So, rather than trying to fight your natural body functions, it may be more reasonable to say that you will be more polite when you burp—remembering to cover your mouth and say “excuse me”.
Instead of making a resolution really broad, like “I’m going to get healthy,” try to be more specific. Maybe you want to eat healthier. Maybe you want to get stronger, physically. Maybe you want to feel better about yourself, emotionally.
Sometimes, we quit when we have setbacks. Everyone will slide a little bit when they’re climbing up a hill. The steeper it is, the harder it will be, and the more you may slide back. It’s okay. Give yourself permission to forget about your setbacks. Just keep climbing.
Setbacks might be even more difficult to deal with if your resolution wasn’t really your goal. Continue reading
Brooding Hamlet (played by James Brizendine) is informed by his father’s ghost, the late King (played by Luiz Gomez), that his own brother (played by Hilda Cotta) killed him, married the dead king’s wife Gertrude (played by Marlen Hernandez), and made himself the new king… If you think about it, you’d probably be brooding, too. Oh, poor Hamlet! His emotionally delicate girlfriend Ophelia (played by Calixta Perez) Continue reading
The Enrichment Center hosted a community altar as part of the Merced County Arts Council’s Dia De Los Muertos exhibit during October and November. Check out this gallery of photos of the exhibit.
Here are a few photos from the November 1st reception.
And here are just a few of the amazing altars/ofrendas exhibited in the 2nd floor White Box and Skylight Galleries.