Guest Post by Vicky Ojerio, owner of Inspyr Arts Creative Arts Studio.
Vicky has been an art educator for the past 16 years and an “artrepreneur” since the 7th grade, when she started selling her drawings to classmates. She is a mother of two, Lily (2) and Ben (7). She is also an avid anime and comic book fan.
My earliest memory of doing art was 4 years old. I remember, on a hot day in the Philippines, realizing that a triangle shape can be a dress and all I had to do was add circles and lines then I’d have a picture of a girl (Barbie to be exact)! This was the day that I realized art was awesome!
This made the absence of my parents more bearable. You see, I would not see them for 3 more years as they tried to establish their life in America. Art made me feel powerful in sometimes very powerless circumstances. Throughout my life, I would have many more of these moments. I learned that if I added this color or made this brush stroke something amazing would happen. This led to more things that I can create and achieve. I didn’t know it then, but this was inspiration. These moments are what we try to capture at my studio, Inspyr Arts.
Inspyr Arts was created with the vision of using art to be a catalyst of positive personal growth for kids. We believe if an artist in our art classes, experiences an “AHA” moment then they can be inspired to keep going, to keep learning, to keep believing that they are capable of so much more. So, this our formula to creating an inspirational “AHA” moment.
1. Every artist is wonderfully unique
We believe that each artist has their own style, even at a young age. At our studio, each artist works with our instructors to let us know their artistic goals and we create a curriculum designed for them. We want to let them know that their individual artistic voice matters and we want to help develop it.
2. From Apprentice to Master
Our studio works off a “Renaissance” Style learning model. Though the student gets to choose their subject matter (i.e. Horses in a landscape), we have the students pick medias that they can work with for a series of classes. We found that by staying in one media at a time, learning various techniques vs. jumping from one material to another, it enabled students to feel more confident in their art as well improve in their artistic execution. Of course, we need to celebrate their mastery of a medium with a Masters Certificate!
3. Artist Mentors
All of our instructors are artists and have their own specialty. They are trained to come alongside a young artist and act as a mentor as well as their instructor. When the students get their “AHA” moments and want to learn or are curious about an art industry, our instructors love sharing helpful information.
4. One Step at a Time
Art can be intimidating and can rob a student of their “aha” moments. That’s why we take it one step at a time with all of our students. We use “inspiration images” (these are images that they would like to try drawing or painting) as a way for instructors to visualize what the artist has in mind. Then our instructors deconstructing the “inspiration image” and give them small steps and small demos throughout the class to achieve their desired outcome.
5. Encouragement is Key
As my instructors look back in our artistic journeys, we all came to the conclusion that we felt most inspired when we were being encouraged. The art industry is filled with critiques which are necessary for us to grow as artists. However, we make sure we balance our feedback with overwhelming genuine encouragement of our students' progress. We carry these principles in all that we do. We teach all visual arts medias for ages 3-18, from graphite to oil painting, fashion design and illustration, anime (oh how we love anime!), character design, digital arts and animation.
Though this is great and we love seeing our students, I was driven by the idea of families and schools that would benefit from this type of service, but they either can’t afford it or they don’t have anything like it in their area. Last year we launched our online arts program called Inspyr Arts ED. We took the ease of YouTube and Netflix, made it safe for a kindergartener to search and the encouragement and knowledge we offer at our studio and put in an easily accessible website. We also partnered with credentialed teachers to make sure that our lessons are in alignment with the Visual and Performing Arts Educational Standards, as well as downloadable art history resources and activity sheets. Plus, the support of our studio instructors ready to take a call from parents if they need help with buying the right supplies for their kids or want to incorporate art into their science lesson. All this for $14.95 a month.
Recently, I received a picture of a little girl jumping in the hallway pointing at some artwork. The following is the message is from the little girls mother:
“Hi, this is my daughter (I am taking out her name for privacy purposes). She is in the 3rd grade. She just finished an Inspyr Arts Ed lesson from Diego Rivera in her classroom and she was so excited she wanted me to take a picture of it. I wanted to let you know school is not easy for her. She is adopted and unfortunately some of her classmates have taken this and used it as a tool to bully her. She said that the days she does Inspyr Arts Ed in her class, it makes going to school easier. Today, this lesson about Diego Rivera, was very special to her. In your video lesson, you mentioned that he used his art to stand up for people that didn’t have a voice. This resonated with her. She was so excited because now she wants to stand up for kids like her. Kids that are adopted. Kids that are bullied. She was able to find hope and a purpose. So, I want to say “thank you” for making my daughter a little happier and braver.”
This is the power of inspiration.
We are not in the business of selling art classes we are in the business of creating “inspired communities” one artist at a time, one home at a time, one school at a time.” If you’d like to visit our studio to take a free class or try our online service contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to provide your artist with an inspirational “AHA” moment.