Ask your average millenial (Boy I hate that word) if they would like to visit a gallery filled with old paintings and chances are they'll give you a hard pass and opt for a more interactive digital experience.
When the HEART VTDI asked me to plan a field trip for the students I thought, "Let's take them to an art gallery and a creative design studio that does animation.". The choices were the National Gallery and Listen Mi Caribbean. I will not be talking about the studio in this blog post though. I am saving that for another day. Today I will be talking about their experience at the art gallery.
The National Gallery of Jamaica is situated in Downtown Kingston. Established in 1974 it was originally located at the Devon House. It eventually out grew that location and made its way down to the waterfront. The gallery carries a comprehensive collection of early modern and contemporary art.
To be a good artist, animator, creative, I believe you must appreciate the past, appreciate the masters of art forms. The gallery offers two types of tours. A historical tour and a forms of art tour. While both are useful to appreciate I felt it more pertinent to expose them to the forms of art because it would teach students how to analyze art, demonstrate that art can be achieved with a variety of materials, techniques and styles as well as to discuss the approach and psychology behind the art.
I know some of you are asking, "couldn't they just get this from reading a book or watching a youtube video?" Maybe, but I find nothing compares to physically experiencing art. This is why we have been chasing Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Holograms, AI and Robotics as a society. We are trying to create worlds that don't exist but we want to interact with them as physically as possible.
To be honest, I really was afraid these students would be bored out of their wits, but surprisingly they were into it. So much so I had to bad them up to leave :)
Not only was I surprised at how into the art they were but they participated in the analysis of the art and quite intelligently too. I could see for some, they were getting ideas of how to achieve certain things you might not be able to find a tutorial on. This was the exact effect I wanted this experience to have. Connecting dots, expanding horizons and showing them traditional art is still very relevant, in fact maybe even more so now in a digitally disruptive world. I strongly think they got that message.
The other thing I wanted them to walk away with was how much thought goes into a piece of art. The psychology behind the use of a particular applicator, material or surface. Whether brush, paint, charcoal, wood, putty or metal. Every emotion you feel when you look at a piece of art is important and deliberate.
I am not sure what effect this experience will have on their art, story telling or animation, only time will tell but for now, I was just happy to get them out of the classroom from behind the computers and into the real world.
I am a Filmmaker, Animator and Writer. I love telling stories and making them come true. You will see me on the big screen soon enough.