This summer was the first year for a new program I helped to develop and teach: the Studio Process Advancement (SPA) graduate certificate at Haliburton School of the Arts, a 14-week intensive combination of academic content and studio work.
We were lucky to have an amazing group of 12 committed, passionate and hard-working students for our first cohort. Along with the faculty team of Lisa Binnie (our coordinator), Elinor Whidden, Darlene Bolahood, Kal Honey, me and our fearless leader (and dean) Sandra Dupret, we had a number of visiting artists, a gallerist and a curator (I would thank them all by name, but I don't have them all at hand; a special thank you though to Andy Fabo) who made presentations, conducted hands-on demonstrations and consulted with students on an individual basis. Diversity of vantage points is hugely important in art, so these invited guests enriched the program tremendously by their contributions.
I found teaching for this a really interesting challenge. My favourite experience was having in-depth conversations one-on-one with the students, asking and answering questions, offering responses and suggestions, riffing on ideas. Those conversations are something you can really miss in a solitary studio practice, along with the support of a tight-knit group. Solitude is important for creativity, but so is connection, which makes all kinds of programs, classes, critique groups and so on, essential for most artists, at least on a periodic basis.
I'm very excited about the progress everyone made this summer and am so proud of them all!
The Haliburton Echo wrote an article about 'SPA' that you can check out here:
Fear of putting ourselves out there, of risking criticism (and worse), holds a lot of people back from doing what they know they should – I say “should” because that whatever-it-is would be using their gifts more fully, and thereby contributing them to the world.
The first President Roosevelt had some useful things to say on that score. Also useful for those with overbearing inner critics, who struggle with perfectionism, or are living too small. Please share this with anyone who might find it useful.
Making art is engaging in a conversation; a conversation with the world around me, with myself, with other artists (past and present), and ultimately with viewers and collectors of the work.
Working in the studio is quite solitary unless you happen to be part of a collaborative partnership or team, so artists are often hungry for conversation: about art in general, about being an artist and of course about their own work. That hunger often motivates artists to attend open studio sessions, take workshops and form communities. It may even motivate them to start a blog!
Welcome to my new blog. I invite you to join me in this conversation whether you are an artist, student, work in the arts, or are just generally interested in things art-related. What would you like to talk about?
As a visual artist I like nothing more than getting up to my elbows in paint or little plastic toys, or wading in at the deep end in pursuit of an idea. When I am not teaching others in a similar vein, you can find me researching, writing and noodling around in my studio, seeing where my latest lines of inquiry lead me.
All images and content on this website © Kim-Lee Kho 2005–2018 except as indicated. All rights reserved. No reproduction without express, written permission.