SchoolArts Magazine

October 2018

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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32 OCTOBER 2018 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A SchoolArts: When did you realize that art was what you were born to do? Oscar Oiwa: From an early age, I liked to draw and I was good at crafts. As a child I made comics, and in adoles - cence I drew with Rotring pens and other old-fashioned ink pens. I was also good at watercolor and in middle school, entered many youth design competitions pro - moted by neighborhood newspapers, companies, and cultural entities. This encouraged me to do more and to improve my technique. During the time I attended the School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo, I continued to submit works to competitions. At the age of twenty-five, I had the honor of participating as a Brazilian artist in the twenty-first São Paulo Inter - national Biennale. I [then] moved to Tokyo, where by day I worked in an architectural firm, and by night and on weekends, devoted time to my art. I was young and eager, and worked sixty- to seventy-hour weeks. Thus began my career as an artist. SA: What is a typical workday like for you? OO: I have kids and because of it, I have a habit to wake up early. To go to my studio, I need to take a few subway stations. On weekdays, I arrive at my studio around 8:00 a.m., prepare coffee, check my email, read the news, and usually start to work after 9:00 a.m. Work in the studio is always intense—so many things to do all the time and problems to solve worldwide. In the evening, I return home for dinner and later, on average, I work for two more hours in front of the computer. SA: What is the role of your support community? Assistants, art dealers, collectors, art critics/journalists? How do you develop this network of support? OO: We definitely can't do anything alone. We need to create a support community around us. I work alone for the most part, and to those who visit my studio, my job appears to be a lonely one, but my work requires me to be connected with associates across continents. I suppose you could say my business is a small-scale international com- pany. I have worked with so many people from different countries and cultural backgrounds. SA: When you create a large-scale drawing such as Oscar Oiwa in Paradise – Drawing the Ephemeral, do you have a design created ahead of time? What is the process like? OO: To create a large-scale drawing like Ephemeral, first I need to prepare myself physically, so I go to the gym for two or three months, a few times per week. Many people ask me if I prepare a small sketch before starting the big drawing. I do nothing before—the drawing is in my head and I just start to draw. I have good visual memory and inside of my brain I have an extensive archive of patterns to build the installation. SA: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as an emerging artist? OO: My advice for young people in general (not only for emerging artists) is [that] anything you want to do well in this world will not be easy to do. Easy success is usu - ally synonymous with ephemerality. To be a professional artist is to work hard to hone one's ideas and technique. Do not believe too strongly in what teachers have to say—they may serve as reference, but it is crucial that creativity is born within you. It's also important to keep up a habit of studying (foreign languages, computing, business management, etc.) and to keep yourself updated in other fields. Being an artist is like being part of any other profession. It's unrealistic to expect divine inspira - tion to hit at regular intervals and make your career for you. Ultimately, it is the amount of work you put in that will see you through. DISCUSSION Begin by showing students Paradise. Discuss the work based on students' initial reactions and ideas about content, technique, and style. Ask, "What historical artwork might have inspired this piece?" After some discussion, tell stu- dents about Oiwa's cultural background and history. Then show an Edõ Period (1615–1868) KanoōSchool landscape. Compare and contrast it with Paradise. STUDIO EXPLORATIONS • Analyze one of Oscar Oiwa's cityscapes. What techniques did he use to create the painting? What elements, prin - ciples, and artistic strategies support his ideas? Choose one of them and use it to create a new work of art. • In a group (three to five members or the whole class), create a large-scale collaborative drawing of the subject of your choice. Use as much detail and varieties of line as possible. • Think about your own historical background, includ - ing ethnicity, hometown, and personal interests. What visual elements—patterns, iconic imagery, colors, archi- tecture, clothing, hairstyles, etc.—can you use in a work of art? Create an artwork using some of these visual ele- ments to celebrate yourself and your ancestors. • Choose a style of historical artwork from before 1900 that interests you. What aspects of the work are most interesting? Create an artwork that clearly references your inspiration in a contemporary style. Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Curriculum Director and Editor at Davis Publications. RESOURCES Video: Official Website:

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