30 January 2013

Abrakadoodle Art Classes for Children

Kids on Canvas Art Camp - October 2012

Founded in 2002 in the United States by two education and franchise experts, Abrakadoodle to date has been the winner of 7 Nickelodeon First Place Awards for “Best Art Class to Bring Out Your Child’s Inner Picasso”.

A comprehensive art education international franchise with locations in US, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and China, Abrakadoodle’s art classes are for children from 20 months to 12 years. The programs are designed with the process of creating art rather than the outcome of the art, whilst the curriculum was developed by artists and educators with focus on developing right brain competencies. 

The same classes are never repeated, giving the child new and exciting projects to look forward to. My daughter relishes telling me each week that she doesn’t know what she will be doing in art class. It is like a weekly dose of surprises.

Only one hour long, once a week, the projects are designed to be completed in one sitting, keeping the excitement and momentum going, whilst providing the child with satisfaction of going home with a finished product. The last 15 minutes of class is dedicated to gallery time when each child talks about their art work before an audience who are generally the students’ parents.

Along with regular weekly classes, Abrakadoodle runs art camps usually during school holidays.  Trini has successfully and with much pleasure completed 3 art camps.  Each one had its own theme, run over 3 days for 3 hours per day.  At the end of each camp, Trini produced 6 pieces of art which are completely original.  By far my favorites are the work from her Kids on Canvas camps where she learned about painting on canvas using acrylics.  In Abrakadoodle's words: "Children use their imaginations in creating artwork based upon the techniques, style and vocabulary of master or contemporary artists from different parts of the world!" Too true.

Such artists include: Pierre Renoir, Piet Mondrian, Laurel Burch, Amedeo Modigliani, RenĂ© Magritte, Andy Warhol, Mort Solberg, Jane Freilicher, Roy Lichtenstein, Natasha Westcoat, Johannes Vermeer and Yin Lum.  Each accomplished artist imparts an artistic style or technique such as: Renoir is synonymous with Impressionism, Magritte with Surrealism, Lichtenstein with Pop Art and Vermeer was a Provincial painter known for the Girl with a Pearl Earring painting.  Yin Lum is a contemporary abstract artist hailing from Singapore, whilst Mort Solberg is an American artist with an affinity for American Indian history and culture.

Trini has been part of Abrakadoodle for about seven months and I remember her first piece of work which was using sponging and layering techniques to produce Peek-a-Boo.

A few months later Trini experienced her first Kids on Canvas camp and below is my favorite being Trini's interpretation of Rene Magritte's well known Son of Man painting which consists of a faceless man with a bowler hat.

The following week Trini concluded Abrakadoodle's Beach Camp where their art work had a beach theme using various mediums such as paper, sand, clay and screenprinting.

The students' collective work. 
The Sea Shell designs are my favourite.
After a couple of months abroad, Trini kicked off the new year with another Kids on Canvas camp and resumed her regular weekly classes.  More fun ensued and here's her most recent works.

Inspired by Jane Freilicher

Inspired by Mort Solberg

Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein

I don't know how much theory Trini takes in but I know that she is having loads of fun.  I suspect over time, everything she learns and is exposed to will slowly start making sense.  I most certainly notice her work getting more creative, the art more defined (less blobs) to the viewer and her colour combinations (which often reflect pink and purple) are aesthetically pleasing.

My objective as her mum is to delight her with creative opportunities, give her art related outlets to express her imagination and essentially let her dream a beautiful world for as long as possible.  As Pablo Picasso once said:

Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Lego - The Art of the Brick

Kids grow up and leave their childhood playthings behind as they move into the adult world.  Yet even when they enter the workforce as professionals or other, some never lose their inner child nor their childhood passions.

Nathan Sawaya is one such person.  An ex-lawyer residing in New York, he never stopped building, creating and exploring with his Lego bricks.  His collection might have grown a little since his very first encounter with Lego some decades ago but his love for Lego has pushed his personal boundaries from childish play to sculptural art.

With 1.5 million bricks in his art studio, today Nathan transforms a simple pile of bricks into thought-provoking sculptures often drawing on inspiration from the world around him and his personal life, feelings and experiences.

The Art of the Brick is the first major museum exhibition that is focused on Lego bricks as the sole art medium.  The current exhibition in Singapore showcases 52 sculptures of roughly 1 million bricks in total, including the iconic sculpture called Yellow, a six metre T-Rex skeleton and the ArtScience Museum where the exhibition is being held.  A visual treat for both adults and children, the exhibition is highly recommended to anyone who appreciates or has played with Lego bricks.

Yellow [2006] - Representing his own metamorphosis. [11,014]
Swimmer [2009] - Whilst one can only see above the surface,
the viewer's imagination is permitted to fill in the rest of the
sculpture below the surface. [10,980]
Hands [2007] - The artist's nightmare,
as his hands are his most important tool. [15,136]
Torsos [2008] - Celebrating differences. [9,900+ each]
Courtney [2007] - A portrait of his partner. [4,125]
Blue Guy Sitting [2010] - I prefer the grey fella. [21,054]
Step Ladder [2009] - Sometimes when you look for a step up,
you don't have to look any further than yourself.  [4,054]
Parthenon [2008] - Sitting atop the Athenian Acropolis, it's a crumbled skeleton
of a building that still possesses amazing grace and power.  This Lego construction
gives us a glimpse of what it might have looked like in its heyday. [30,210]
Disintegration [2008] - Beware the winds of life that nibble away
at your sense of self.  Stay strong. (In my daughter's words: "He is falling
apart mummy!") [10,124]
Rebirth of New Orleans [2006] - Commissioned to produce a sculpture for the
New Orleans Public Library this structure is a result of selected children's
drawings received from around the country. [200,000+]
Dinosaur Skeleton [2007] - Spent an entire summer putting this together trying to
make it work.  Nathan wanted to design something that kids could enjoy.  [80,020]
ArtScience Musuem [2012] - 'The Welcoming Hand of Singapore'. [15,999]
The Neilsons [2013] - Having fun with Apple's Lego App at the exhibition.