Making Time to Make Art

Take a peek into CapitaLand’s art jamming sessions for staff and see how making art can be fun, relaxing and rewarding

Issue: Nov 2015

Down Memory Lane: each painting travels back in time and has a story to tell
Down Memory Lane: each painting travels back in time and has a story to tell

Everyone can make art if they make time for it. At CapitaLand, some of us gather one evening in a month to make art as a group. We call this art jamming.

Time to Gather and Make Art

Art jamming in CapitaLand started as a suggestion from a colleague three years ago. We decided to make it happen and this is how it works: on the first Thursday of each month, interested colleagues come together to make art. There is a theme to each evening’s creativity and a short demonstration of an art technique at the beginning.

Participants can choose to use this technique or any other techniques they prefer. The highlight of the evening is when everyone puts their finished artworks on a big table and takes turns to introduce their work. What ensues is plenty of laughter, story-telling, as well as expressions of amazement and admiration.

A relaxing experience: CapitaLand staff making art in a tranquil setting
A relaxing experience: CapitaLand staff making art in a tranquil setting

Art jamming is available commercially. One pays a fee and gets to paint in a studio for a limited period of time. All materials are provided and sometimes you may get a complimentary drink. Art jamming at CapitaLand is different. It is entirely free and promoted as one of the company’s wellness programmes. The Pitstop, the staff lounge at CapitaHub, serves as the venue. As it is not a studio, we opt for the “cleaner” types of materials such as pencils, water-soluble colour pencils, and water colour. We set up shop for each session and tidy up afterwards. The regulars bring along their own materials, while newcomers can pick from a small central pool of supplies gladly contributed by some of us. Drinks and snacks are aplenty and free of charge, for Pitstop is our pantry par excellence!

Times Have Changed

Many think that when one draws or paints something, it has to closely resemble the real thing. This could have been a very important goal of art in the past, but since the advent of photography, it has become increasingly less so. Instead of restricting ourselves to depicting “realism”, at art jamming we can paint our emotions, our unique way of seeing things, our personal story, and even images that exist only in our minds.

The whole idea behind art jamming is to provide a platform for participants’ imagination to run free.

Our themes range from subject focused ones such as “Paint a Flower” or “Draw a Teddy Bear”, to stylistic ones such as “Still Life Matisse Style“ or “Expressionist Landscape”, to narrative ones such as “ Down Memory Lane” or “ My Favourite Scenery”. Drawing techniques include shading and hatching; painting techniques include colour wash, wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and body colour; and combination techniques include water colour with pencil and water colour with ink.

What thrills me most as a facilitator is not so much how well the participants respond to the themes or pick up the techniques, but how within such broad frameworks, they produce such an array of artworks – some incredibly skillfully, some wonderfully surreal and some charmingly “naive” (as in Naive Kunst). Altogether, most impressive!

Time Well Spent

“I had a very enjoyable time last evening,” wrote Yuanchen Xueyan, a Management Executive, after her first art jamming session. “It has been quite a while since I took some time off to make art – from choosing the subject to enjoying the quiet moments of sketching and colouring.”

Highlight of the evening: participants take turns to talk about their works
Highlight of the evening: participants take turns to talk about their works

“The art jamming experience made me realise that there is more to art than just drawing and painting,” shares Catherine Yao, Deputy Director Project (Commercial), who is a regular. “I would describe these sessions as a means to explore, experiment, discover, learn, and share. Each session has been therapeutic and the wonderful part is that there is no such thing as a failed piece. What looks horrible to you may find appreciation by others. The process of working on the artwork also encourages you to look into the details, approach things from different perspectives, discover how being realistic is sometimes unappealing, and have the courage to challenge norms. ”

Catherine is now treating art jamming as part of her learning journey. She describes it as “opportunities to dabble in some fun and meet colleagues outside the course of my work.”

Certainly time well spent!

Roses for My Valentine: each rose has a different expression of love
Roses for My Valentine: each rose has a different expression of love

This article is contributed by CapitaLand Chief of Art Management, Francis Wong Hooe Wai

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