D.C.’s artistically inclined flock to the Corcoran Museum of Art for a blank canvas, paint, wine, food, music and a whole lot of creativity.
By Katherine Delmonico
On my way to ArtJamz, I was sweating. Sure, the 99-degrees-in-the-shade kind of day wasn’t helping, but there was something else knawing at me.
I was a little nervous.
I love art. I like looking at it, buying it, admiring it, critiquing it, studying it, and, my newest favorite, drinking near it. I do not, however, create it. The thought made me nervous, and conjured up a traumatic flashback of a failed 3rd grade diorama on harp seals that my artist mother eventually had to resuscitate.
So walking into Gallery 31 at the Corcoran Museum of Art on a steamy Wednesday night, I was not exactly confident in my abilities. I kept imagining that there would be a token French man in a beret with a palette, maniacally laughing at my painting of a harp seal while simultaneously twirling his mustache. However, what greeted me was quite the opposite.
I arrived at the New York side entrance of the Corcoran and wandered into a fairly small studio with 25 easels set up with blank white canvases. DJ’s Fabiana and Cassidy were playing music, some tapas from Lima Lounge and Restaurant and wine were set out very informally and the first ArtJammers were filtering in. We were simply instructed to choose a canvas and utilize any of the umpteenth brushes and paint colors, and … create! The event, launched by Genki Media founder Michael M. Clements, was inspired by events he attended while living in Hong Kong.
I stared tentatively at my canvas for a few minutes. I was foreign to this process and had no idea what to do. Inspired, however, I simply put my brush to the canvas and started…swirling.
Okay so admittedly I had no idea what I was doing. But the best part was; it didn’t matter! Suddenly, I was mixing colors I liked, making patterns I liked, and just, for lack of a better term, going with it.
Everyone was extremely encouraging. Some there were obviously more advanced in their art skills than others, but there were also many beginners (like myself) taking a shot in the dark. By the end of the evening, for all the people exclaiming that they were “not artistic”, there were 25 pretty incredible canvases sitting in the studio.
My boyfriend, who, like me is no art aficionado, accompanied me and attempted to draw our dog, which resulted in a sort of homicidal looking pig-wolf type animal. But all of the ArtJammers were good-natured and supportive, and by the end of the night everyone was chatting, collaborating, and observing.
Sometimes I find that certain things I do that are meant to be relaxing, never really are. When I sit down to “relax and watch TV” after a long day at work, it’s often some horrible Bravo-reality show where women screech at each other in couture gowns. I will also be on my laptop, simultaneously trying to GChat with my college friends and shop for a dress for a cousin’s upcoming nuptials. Our lives are barraged constantly with text messages, emails and news bites. I cannot remember the last time I simply lost myself in something, without worrying what time it was, wondering if there was something else I should be doing, or going over notes for an upcoming meeting in my head. I found this event to be so therapeutic. It felt like a moment of quasi-meditation, without having to listen to my roommate bitch about her boss or who said what about what other person on the softball team. It was amazingly relaxing, and genuinely just fun. 25 canvases resulted in 25 totally different pieces of work. Additionally, the intimate and creative environment allowed for meeting and mingling with other fellow ArtJammers. So while many of us went into ArtJamz saying we “were not artistic at all”, I think, like D.C. itself, we discovered we all had a little creativity buried underneath even the most hard-nosed exterior.