At ARTE, artisans come together not only to sell their handcrafts to the public, but also to support each other in one’s journey. Jan D’Sa, artist-designer-sculptor-writer and owner of both Janys De and the Cultural Arts Travelogue, has such a story to share.
“I was a repressed creative for nearly 20 years, allowing my sketches and paintings to be viewed by my own two eyes and no one else’s. I also threw my performing artist and musician garb into the metaphorical dark alley and retreated into my shell. I became a very shy and reserved person.” Those who know Jan since she joined ARTE in its early days may probably remember that shy girl.
Jan, instead, chose to showcase her creativity through secondary artforms, i.e. through writing, through salt dough mini-sculptures (below) and wire crochet jewelry making.
Then one day in 2011, a Philipino artist by the name of Alvin Apolonio, showed up at ARTE with paintings that awoke a dormant artistic volcano within Jan. Like many repressed creatives, she was felt a lot of fear in painting again. “I decided to attend an art workshop that Alvin Apolonio held, in conjunction with Carrie Wareham, Black Sheep Art Studio (an ARTE member). It was just so that I could work past this block that I had.”
“I will never forget what Alvin told me as I started to use the paintbrush after 2 decades and struggled to hold it with confidence.” Alvin said, “I look forward to seeing your art. You have it in you. Just a bit of practice.””
Eight months later, this April 2012, Jan finally showed her art to the public for the first time at ARTE. Sadly, Alvin was not around to see it. He had passed away in the Philippines after a brief illness early this year.
“I was devastated as were many other artisans who regarded Alvin not only as a versatile painter and artist, but a friend. I had also experienced another artisan pass away a day after Alvin passed away (she was a jewelry designer), so the devastation of 2 creatives passing away was quite a strong experience.”
These days Jan has allowed her music and theatrical expression to show itself, though in small, monitored doses. She has also mustered courage to step out and give workshops in creative writing where the art of spontaneity and reconnection with one’s creative self are key. She has dared to create mixed media work where she combines various art and handcraft techniques such as wire work, crochet, acrylics, decoupage and clay. “All because Alvin reminded me that the secret to living more is by creating more.” Whenever Jan gets stuck as a creative, she remembers Alvin’s words and pushes beyond borders into the realm that only other former repressed creatives know of.
Has an artisan changed your life beyond what you expected? Let us know how and you could be featured.