I just thought I’d share a little update on the fun time Myla and I had at Jerry’s Artarama in Austin this past weekend!
If you’re in the Austin area and you love artsy art supplies, you probably know Jerry’s. I sometimes take the hour-and-twenty-minute drive to Jerry’s JUST because they know their stuff. It’s such a fantastic thing to be able to talk to people who are familiar with the art supplies they’re selling, have actually used them, know what they can do, and if they’ll work for your project. Maybe you’ve always had an awesome art store like Jerry’s nearby, but I haven’t been so lucky…
So when we spoke to Jerry’s about doing an art demo there, I was so jazzed! This would be unique in that I have often kept Myla away from events, but now that she’s a little older, I asked if she’d like to help me with the demo, and she was super excited. It would also be unique in that I have given little online talks on our collaborations, I have interviewed about them via video and in emails, and I have done a TED talk telling our story…but I have never done a demo. So this would totally be a learning experience for me.
Myla and I got there pretty early to set up, and I started to worry (as I tend to do) that no one would show up because:
- the SXSW festival madness was in going on,
- it was spring break, and
- it was pouring down rain.
But thankfully, all the seats filled. Yaaaayyy! I started off by telling the story of how Myla and I collaborate. This was weird because Myla was right there, and also because I wasn’t sure how much anyone already knew, and I didn’t want to talk too much, or bore anyone to tears–especially after trekking through traffic and rain…
And then I started to worry because I wasn’t quite sure what people were expecting…. Did they want ME to draw? Did they want Myla to draw? Did they want me to shut up and let THEM draw?
People have messaged me over the years these wonderful stories of how they’ve done collaborative projects based on our doodles with their classrooms and families and friends, and I’m always so blown away by how much goes into it, and how beautiful the results are, and what a great time they had all around. I wanted people to have a good time and still get the experience of collaborations.
So I thought it’d be fun to sort of replicate that same idea by having printouts of some of the heads I had drawn, and having them add an outlined body to the head, and then if they were very brave, they could switch with other people and let them finish their work.
People had a lot of fun switching back and forth with other people in the room–Myla would pass the papers around to whoever needed a rotation. Some just switched with the person next to them (which ultimately gave them more say in what the outcome was….which was TOTALLY cheating! Hahah). For the full experience of enjoying the process instead of focusing on the final piece, one attendee suggested I should have set a timer and made people keep passing it to the person next to them. That might’ve been pretty fun!
One woman even brought some of her kids’ drawings with her to have people add onto. Myla joined in on a little of that, as did a couple of the other attendees.
I’ve had fairly decent success teaching a class on something specific. I have also given speeches. This being my first demo, it was a little awkward to have a project going, still share with them the ideas and thoughts behind it, and not have everything be so unstructured it falls apart. In any case, it at least gave me an idea of how to better do it next time!
I’d love to do demos more often! I thought it’d be fun to do weekend demos at children’s hospitals or elderly care centers. I need to look into that, because even if I was awkward, and wasn’t exactly sure how to interact, it was a lot of fun seeing people having fun and mixing their ideas up with other peoples’, not holding on so tight to their own work, and really breaking out and trying new things. I hope people at least had a good time–I know Myla and I did!
So, thank you SO much to everyone at Jerry’s Artarama in Austin for letting us come play and doodle with you! We had so much fun!
What a cool event! It could work well at a children’s museum too!
Hahahaha I take offense to the trading with your neighbor comment, (just kidding we totally cheated lol)
Your Demo was great! we had a lot of fun! And I thought your set up was great too, I do like the idea of the timer though!
Hahah! Totally BUSTED! 🙂 Ah, that’s okay. It felt odd to MAKE people trade, but it really would be fun that way! I’m so glad you came, and glad you had fun! 🙂
Hahaha! It really was great!
Hi – To add to your list of places that might want/need/love a demo – art museums that offer classes or art camp. Or even just art camps. Art camps often have days to fill in and a guest artist with a project… I’m thinking that would sound pretty good to whoever is looking down the barrel of figuring out what to do with the art students this summer! And some art museums have classrooms attached and would probably let you do a workshop in the space.
I enjoy reading your posts about collaborating with your daughter. I teach art classes for children and have done many collaborative pieces over the years. I also do intergenerational art with people ages 4 months to 100! And I give trainings to early childhood educators. If you would like some tips for your next demo, let me know.
My site is artwithjennie.com and I have current projects at Facebook.com/artwithjennie.
Totally fascinating to hear about your demo and talk about collaborating with your daughter. Inspired by some of your past posts and this one, I’m presently putting together a blog post about how I collaborated with our then-eight-year-old great-granddaughter who did most of the drawings for our latest book, Jake, Little Jimmy & Big Louie. Thanks for the encouragement your posts have given me. I look forward to reading more of your posts. Keep up the good work.
I bet there are some grants available to help you out with expenses to do the work in hospitals. ❤