Geisha & Samurai
Josephine, one of our portfolio students that graduated from OAMSAA one year ago, took on a gigantic sized mural project that now adorns the walls of our Pleasanton Studio.
After graduating from high school, Josephine was quickly swooped up by the University of Southern California (USC), where she is currently studying via online classes. Her major of choice being screenwriting paired with a visual narrative art minor.
The pandemic struck Josephine and her college peers hard. Still though, life always teaches us that there will always be opportunities that arise from tragedy; this is especially true when each of us actively go about making the conditions possible for opportunities to arise for the students we hold close to our hearts.
In keeping with those ideals and taking advantage of Josephine's stay at home, Oam Studios Art Academy offered Josephine pay and walls to complete a Geisha & Samurai mural. Part of her achievement in completing the mural is the gift of sharing her mastered skills with all of our current and future students.
After the competition of the mural, Josephine and I sat in different locations and had a texting interview:
Master Omar: What was your experience like working on what became a glorious Japanese inspired mural? Was that your largest project to date?
Josephine: The mural was my largest project to date. I really enjoyed the process, though doing all the outlining was difficult specially because it got really cold in the studio and my hands would shake.
Master Omar: Oh my god! You should have told me about the temperature! Well, so it's been awhile since you studied at OAMSAA and graduated high school... How do you see your artwork changing since high school?
Josephine: Since high school, I think my art has changed since I know myself better. I stopped obsessing over trying to find a "style" and just started creating what ever I wanted. I've started focusing more on feminist art and horror. I use brighter colors. I also do more comic art since I've developed an interest in webtoons.
Master Omar: What are webtoons, for those that don't know, and do you have any recommendations for our students?
Josephine: Webtoons are self-published comics/cartoons posted online. some of my favorites are spirit fingers and sweet home (I would rank them PG13)
Master Omar: I'll have to look into those. Now that you have been attending college, what do you especially love about your college experience:
Josephine: Something I love about college is the community. You get to workshop intimately with other writers and artists - I often feel I learn the most from the classmates, their mistakes and their wisdom.
Master Omar: Well, before you go back to mastering your skills, I was wondering if you have any any advice for our current students at Oam Studios Art Academy?
Josephine: Don’t baby your pieces, especially when you’re first starting out. It’s easy to get attached to a piece and want to make it perfect, and the fear of messing it up can freeze you. Always know that you will make more pieces, better ones, and don't be afraid to mess up.
Master Omar: Well Joey... we really truly appreciate you taking the time to return to OAMSAA during your college career to help beautify and complete our studio walls. I am so proud of you and honored to have your art abilities displayed on our walls hopefully for many many years ahead.
I will never forget when I first started working with you and was so pleased to see that not only were your skills already being nurtured and developed out of your own pure love for art, but also because creativity was already well developed in your heart and mind.
Thank you all for taking the time to read about Josephine's accomplishments. Once we are able to pull ourselves financially out of the pandemic, OAMSAA intends to invite Josephine to create a very large canvas painting for our Tracy Art Studio. Having Josephine as a student, hired as a teacher assistant and now as a muralist has completed the circle. Thank you so much Josey!
Our Children's Mental Health is Our Mental Health
It's been a brutal year for human society across the board. Adults have had to work harder, worry more, and some how cope with the mountain of stress that has been piling up in our minds and wearing at our bodies.
Looking back before all this, I recall how my heart and mind were working in unison. The art studios, the students, and the families would all light me up. Positivity was infusing every aspect of my life.
Eventually though, as news of the outbreak spread, I decided that the art studio in Pleasanton would have to immediately shutdown. The date in which that occurred is etched into my mind, because who could forget that terrifying day... Friday the 13th of March 2020.
A year later and through a foggy smooth-plastic mind you realize how much you have changed. Noticing the changes as they happened would have been impossible much like watching a single weed grow in a muddy field. But looking back, in hindsight, you easily see that the field no longer has a single weed but instead has been overtaken by weeds.
As adults and as we begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel, its important to reflect on ourselves and clear the fields of weeds so we can really get back to the hard work of healing the ones we love, the ones that depend on us, and especially healing the ones that we ourselves rely on.
All of this happening to us from our adult perception and now having the hindsight to see how this has affected our children. Are they strong enough to cope with a tragedy as easily as a full grown adult. Of course not. They need our help. They need out guidance.
New reports are coming out weekly about the toll that COVID 19 has had on our children and their worlds. The isolation, the lack of physical socializing, the numbing 2 dimensional screens that increasingly hinder a child's ability to remain focused. Learning in a flat digital world.
Thank goodness we have the technology at this time as a stopgap, but those same reports are indicating that online classes can't be an equivalent alternative to in-person learning.
Still we have to remain safe and cautious. We need to continue to take this virus seriously and approach our handling of it as intelligently and carefully as possible.
In doing so we also need to start talking about the kids, our roles in safe guarding their mental health, healing the damage that has already taken place and the damage that will continue to fracture their minds post pandemic.
I'm certain that this pandemic has changed me physically and mentally, and I see that I need to evolve and adjust the goals of our art studio much the way I have had to adjust my hopes and dreams. Our mission statement needs to be amended to focus on the healing of our children's minds through art, creativity, structure, discipline and mentorship.
I want to make it clear that this is of great importance to us at Oam Studios Art Academy. Our new motivations will have at its center, the well being and development of our students mental health.
I'd like this to hopefully open some discussion on the matter. What suggestions do you have that can help us to help our student's mental health post-pandemic?
Master Omar Morineau
March 21st- April 19th
You’re in the middle of a deeply transformative process right now, Aries. The emotional exploration you’ve found yourself in will propel you to the next level this month, as mental Mercury takes the deep dive into visionary Pisces. Elsewhere, the moon’s presence in your sign highlights your most pressing needs and ramps up your self-expression which is why it is so important to get your artistic ideas quickly sketched out.
July 23rd - August 22nd
Leos are planetarily guided by the movements of the brilliant, life-giving sun. The skies see the sun lock into a supportive aspect with transformative Pluto, allowing in fresh artistic opportunities for you to welcome change- specifically around your identity. Elsewhere, the moon slides into slow and steady Taurus, focusing your attention on your artistic concerns.
November 22nd - December 21st
You’re ready to get right down to making art, Sagittarius. The moon slides into slow and steady Taurus today, helping you send your energy towards your current art project or looming art list. Elsewhere, the direction-giving sun forms a productive alliance with transformative Pluto, prompting you to make subtle but powerful changes that affect your art budget.
April 20th - May 20th
Don’t expect yourself to leap right into action today, Taurus. You’re in need of more rest than the weekends may be able to offer. The moon glides through solitary Aries, locking into a tense aspect with powerful Pluto later on. This is likely to stir up mental storm clouds that need sorting out in private. Aim for solitude, rest, and drawing over productive action.
August 23rd - September
This time of year focuses all of your energy on relationship matters, Virgo. The skies help implement important but subtle changes in this arena, as the direction-giving sun supportively aligns with truth-seeking Pluto. Expect new perspectives or plan changes to emerge around any collaberative art projects you have. Elsewhere, the grounded Taurus moon pushes you to get out of your comfort zone with certain art materials.
December 22nd - January
As a Capricorn, you can easily forget to give yourself slack and let loose. The skies encourage you to get connected with the art mediums that bring you joy again, as the moon slides into sensual Taurus. Save the heavy labor for another day. Elsewhere, important transformations are at work between your artistic communication style, as the direction-guiding sun and change-bringer Pluto unite forces.
May 21st - June 20th
As a Gemini, you’re guided by the cosmic movements of the messenger planet, Mercury. Monday’s skies see Mercury on the move, as it transitions from logical Aquarius into feelingful Pisces. This switch heightens your emotional reactions and helps you to create more abstract artwork. The days will be socially active, with relationships tension emerging later, but your nights are meant for colors and shapes you have yet to explore.
September 23rd - October 22nd
You need time away from the noise of the superficial world today, Libra. Let yourself carve out some peace and reconnect with art projects that you can be raw and real with, as the restful Taurus moon encourages you to ground down and keep things low-key. Elsewhere, the illuminating sun positively aligns with wound-healing Pluto, helping you integrate subtle but emotionally impactful changes where you practice your art.
January 20th - February 18th
You may feel yourself slowing to a halt today, Aquarius. You’re in need of recuperative action and some solid alone time to create your art without hinderance, as the moon transitions from war-torn Aries into peace-seeking Taurus. Let yourself reconnect with your art studio environment and spruce things up to feel your best. Elsewhere, the illuminating sun aligns with transformative Pluto, bringing fresh revelations around your art abilities.
June 21st - July 22nd
You’re ready to hit the ground running, Cancer! Take advantage of your desire to be productive and tackle whatever waits on your art to-do list, as the eager Aries moon helps you devote energy towards your artistic concerns. Later, the moon’s squabble with potent Pluto is liable to stir up powerful emotional responses concerning friendships and it may be too difficult to focus on the accuracy of your artwork.
October 23rd - November 21st
As a Scorpio, part of your art work often explores the daunting depths of intimacy and facing them fearlessly head on. This narrative is highlighted tremendously, as the moon cruises into your opposite sign of Taurus. Elsewhere, it’s easy to implement important changes to your artistic style and creative approach, as the illuminating sun harmoniously aligns with transformative Pluto.
February 19th - March 20th
A busy day lies ahead, Pisces. You’re craving movement and stimulating exchanges rather than another day of the same old art project. The moon cruises into stable Taurus this morning, helping you focus on sharing your voice. Meanwhile, the life-giving sun harmoniously aligns with truth-seeking Pluto, bringing promising artistic concepts and refreshed energy to implement major changes to your goals surrounding fine art.