Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"I Am...You" at HUBweek: Behind the Scenes

By Moon Hye Yu, Education Intern

From October 12-15th, "I Am...You" was open to the public at HUBweek Boston, a festival celebrating innovation in art and technology. Hundreds of visitors came to our installation at City Hall Plaza over the weekend and were invited to add to three fiber and whiteboard murals exploring empathy, identity, and community.

You might have already seen the time-lapse video of "I Am...You" when it was on view at HUBweek. Read on to find out the process behind the creation of the whiteboard murals, which started with ARCK's seventh-grade students at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School (LGF) in Dorchester and Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA) in Allston!

The students created their own logos in relation to their identity, community, and society.

First, they chose what to draw:

Left: Marcio, an LGF 7th grader, drawing his logo. Right: Ruthson, in 7th grade at GPA, creating a collage of his logo in combination with drawing. They were allowed to draw and collage with black colored paper to have more room to express themselves. 

After this process, students scaled up their logo using mathematics, up to three times the original size. In this process, they calculated using rulers, and measured and divided multiple numbers and measurements to scale up the drawing.

We also had sharing time at the end of each class. Yasmine from LGF explained the message behind her logo (an eye): "I want people to know that even though us kids don't look like we are paying attention to what's going on around the world, we are paying attention."

Students were also involved in the rest of the panel prep by painting on the boards and sanding. Then, using a projector, they traced their logos on the painted board with marker.

Before they painted on the actual mural, students practiced clean and crisp line painting.

During this process, they learned how to control paint, brush, and brush strokes. They became more focused and calm.

Dariel from GPA painting carefully on the mural

On each of the eight mural panels, students' passion and enthusiasm came alive. 

Thank you to all who helped with this project, especially classroom teachers Katharine Atkins-Pattenson at GPA and Alice Laramore at the Frederick School, Carl Solander of Reverse Architecture and Paul DeStefano for aiding in design and construction, Seema Krish Textiles for donating fabric swatches, and our friends at HUBweek Boston. Art takes a village, and we couldn't have done it without you!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Artist Interview: Anna Starkova

Anna Starkova is a wife, mother, and fine artist from Russia who came to the U.S. in 2009. She loves working in varied techniques such as oils, acrylics, watercolors, and graphite. Anna does not limit herself when it comes to different subject matters and enjoys painting nature, still life, and figures equally. Her paintings are in private collections all around the world: USA, Russia, UK, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, UAE, India, and Japan. She now lives and works in Needham, MA. She has graciously donated her painting, Look Up For The Flowers, to our 6th Annual Auction Benefit Gala, Paint The Town Rouge. You can see more of her work and her journey on her website and blog.

As a child, were you interested in art? What was your favorite type of art to make?
Absolutely! I was a true aficionado of art. I had a set of watercolors and I painted with them all the time: flowers, still life, horses, and landscapes. I liked to explore the transparency of the watercolor paints, as well as its vibrancy painting thin and thick.

What inspired you to start focusing on painting nature and developing an abstract expressionist style?
My biggest muse is Mother Nature – it is different every time: it can be delicate, or rough; bright and lush; or neutral and quiet. Just like a woman; just like me. I find an endless inspiration in all the states of Nature; they mirror my states of mind. I try to portray Nature’s character in every landscape I paint. Sometimes a loose, more abstract style is the best way to depict that character. A few times I painted dreamy landscapes, which lead to developing an abstract expressionist style. An expressive manner also suits better for painting on glass, which I started practicing recently, however, I continue painting in a realistic style as well.

Our curriculum focus this year is “Social Entrepreneurship through Sustainable Design.” How does your use of nature as a subject matter correspond with the ever-growing importance of using sustainable materials and being eco-conscious when creating artwork?
When I create an artwork, I try to show nature’s beauty so the painting reminds everyone how it’s important to keep nature clean to preserve its beauty. We are connected to nature, we are surrounded by it, and by choosing sustainable materials and being eco-conscious we make our lives, and ourselves healthier. Nature is our home, a clean home has good healthy energy that supports those who live in this house, and that’s us. I choose to use eco-friendly materials for my art because I want my paintings to bring good energy to people’s homes.

Many of the children we work within our programs come from different countries and are learning English as a second language. What advice would you give them?
English is not my native language as well. I have been learning it since my childhood, and I didn’t really like it at first but then I realized that it can connect me to children from other countries and that I could make friends from around the world. My advice is, think of it as an adventure that can open a whole new world to you and bring you new great friends. Play with the language, try to find words that sound similar in both languages: the native language and English.

Why did you choose to donate “Look Up For the Flowers” to our auction?
Look Up For The Flowers depicts pot flowers hanging on the street lights in an urban setting. They remind us of the beauty of nature, they connect us to nature. Imagine living in a city without flowers…that would be an unhappy place to live for me. Flowers are part of the sustainable design of cities and towns.

Artwork Details:
Look Up For The Flowers
Anna Starkova
Acrylic on canvas, 2017
16 x 12"

Make sure to see Look Up For The Flowers and work from other talented artists by purchasing your ticket to "Paint The Town Rouge" here!