31 July 2007

Workshop Study

Works on situ by Matthew and Adie Hernandez, 2007

I conduct art workshops and tutorials on site upon request.
These workshops are actually craft sessions on the different art media. If you check the early blogs you can see the different workshops I conducted on different sites mostly for children ages 5 to teens. I am still checking on the available images I have which I insert and update on early blogs for reference. It is not easy to document while conducting the workshop. And since I do not bring a camera all the time, I have to use my mobile phone (with low resolution and memory).

Workshops are excellent venues to promote the appreciation and understanding of the different art media while exploring creativity through hands-on sessions. But since these sessions last only from 1 to 2 hours, the effectivity of the workshop in matters of craftsmanship (skills in handling a craft) and artistry (creative spirit) may vary depending on the number of participants, their age level, resources, etc.

Here are some of my personal insights and observations:

1. Children as young as three years old can already do workshop projects. I started drawing and reciting poems as early as age 3 simply by watching my older siblings. However, children ages 5 and below may require specialized tutorials (ratio of 1:1 facilitator per kid or at most 1 tutor for two kids). With adults it may be easy especially if the participants are eager and interested to learn.

2. Anybody can learn a craft (draw, paint, sing, dance, act, etc.) but students and parents must have to understand that it takes more than learning a craft for it to be called art. They may be referred to as an art workshop but again, these are actually crafts-making sessions. There are great discoveries and explorations but students must be able to replicate a great work to validate skills and concepts. This is what differentiates an artist from a craftsman. The artist is not just a good craftsman, but also an intellectual and creative genius. Sadly, a lot of works by supposed artists are mere crafts. Some are good crafts but it requires artistic maturity for it to be called a work of art. Workshops must be able to educate and impart this important element for students to create a healthy regard for true works of art.

3. And this is why it is important to expose children to artworks and art venues to encourage critical thinking and art appreciation. Children should be encouraged to ask Curators or Gallery Assistants the "what & whys" of a particular collection. Is the work excellent from the way it was executed? Was the concept (what the artist/creator wanted to do) expressed CLEARLY and WELL? Was it presented WELL? (Curators must be able to bridge the gap between the artist and audience)

4. Because of the competition from fast-paced technology, disciplined crafts like painting, playing a musical instruments, etc. may encounter resistance from restless kids and craftsmanship application is not always guaranteed. Parents are often frustrated when their children can not or would not apply skills they learned in the workshops. Kids prefer to do things fast and unless they are encouraged or have the creative discipline to execute tedious skills, they will be content with whatever they produce. It might be worth your while to study images and characters (toys, gadgets, tv shows, etc.) that they love. Most of these items are governed by marketing, rather than creative genius.

4. Learning a craft is a whole-brain activity. And so is playing hide and seek and sports like ballgames where the intellect guides the physical moves. Just like in art. And like most whole-brain activities, it provides fulfillment and empowerment.
Clay work by Matthew Hernandez, age 8 (2007)