From the day our studio doors opened, our students have turned the former barber shop into a beehive of activity. Music, laughter, and creative mayhem have ensued. From the get-go these young artists have surprised, inspired, and entertained me endlessly. Smart, curious, and fearless, they are the reason I do what I do. I recently asked some students a few questions about their experience as an Early Masters kid, and what art means to them. Ms. Harper Meyerson (13), a seasoned EM artist, assistant, and now teen student, was first to step up.
When was your first Early Masters class? Do you remember the topic?
I remember my first Early Masters class vividly. This was about eight years ago. My mom picked my brother and I up from school, drove us to the little building with the big sign I had overlooked so many times, and left us in the hands of the perky and completely unknown instructor, Shelley. I think that class was called Let’s Go: MOMA. We made huge piles of construction-paper squiggles, a first-grader’s replication of Matisse, and at the end of the three or four week session, we had painted, laughed, and learned all about The Museum of Modern Art and the paintings in it. Parents clomped upstairs to masterpiece loft, bubbling with praise over our artwork. Year eight and I still love gallery day.
What has been your favorite Early Masters workshop? What makes it your favorite?
I don’t remember which class it was that I first learned about Monet, but I remember what I painted. I painted his waterlilies. The pinnacle of an incredibly talented artist’s career, re-created by an elementary schooler. Never the less, I still love those paintings, and all of Monet’s work. Whenever somebody asks me my favorite artist, the answer has always been Claude Monet. In fourth grade, I did my big research “passion” project entirely on the king of impressionism. In fifth grade, I visited the Getty Museum in southern California, and the pastel poster I bought of his Haystacks, Snow Effect, Morningstill hangs in my room, no matter how battered it’s gotten. The summer before seventh grade, I went to Paris and got the chance to visit his house. The picture of me in Monet’s garden is still my contact photo (even though it’s out-of-date) because that’s how much I love Monet and his work. His quick brushwork, cheery subjects, and ability to capture emotions, color, and movement with impasto paint and huge, elegant strokes drew me in. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t taken that class on Claude Monet. I’d be one of those people who say that their favorite artist is Mona Lisa!
How do you feel when you first arrive at the studio? Why do you feel that way?
I love arriving at the studio because it is so familiar and welcoming. I’ve spent so much time painting, learning, and hanging out in that little building that no matter who is in the class with me, I feel welcomed and as a part of the group.
How do you feel when you leave the studio with a new painting? Why do you feel that way?
When I leave the studio with a new painting, I’ve already planned out where it’s going to go on my already-covered walls, and how to keep it from going to Mom and Dad’s room, where I won’t see it as often. When I first started going to Early Masters, a first-grader with not-so-great motor skills, I wasn’t great at what we would do in class, but I was still very, very proud of whatever I’d done. As I got older, I was harder on my work. I didn’t always think it was perfect, and I began to see the faults in things I’d done earlier. I still like my work, but I no longer have low standards for art.
What keeps you coming back to Early Masters?
I keep coming back to Early Masters because there are still artists and genres and techniques to learn about. I love hanging out with Shelley, and I love being able to relax to her period-correct music to just paint. Whenever I leave, I feel like I’ve been productive, and that I’ve done something that to be proud of.
What or who is your biggest artistic inspiration?
Like I said earlier, Monet is by biggest artistic inspiration. I wish I could capture movement and emotion with a few simple brushstrokes. I really enjoy looking at his work and his style is really appealing to me. I am inspired by him because his works are timeless. A stroll in the garden makes sense to everyone, and no matter who you are, you can appreciate the beauty of the scene he’s created with a few simple daubs of paint.