New paths

leaving the castle...

Posted by Bia Watanabe | 20 de June de 2016 | Creating!, Thoughts
little green character and science house watercolor gouache

Today, I will write about the question that’s on my mind…  when I decided to move from academia to arts (and perhaps teach children now). It may be a surprise to have a doctorate in Production Engineering and then have the idea of changing my way.

But here are the facts: I am an artist … Since I was born I’ve always liked to draw, write, create little things. But I believed what everyone said: “Art is going to be a hobby.” Always heard that art would not give me money and it’s hard. That I would have to find another thing to do for a living. Much of this comes from a very traditional family (and society). I do not want to blame others, but it is difficult to be yourself in such an environment.

It is true that it is not easy to live with art. No one was lying to me, but I wonder if art is so hard exactly because people think that way about it. Many people believe in art as something superfluous… and easy to do (so easy that you can copy and don’t pay the artist). Anyway, I am not going to write about it now.

I was always in doubt about the artistic part of my life. At the same time, I wanted to read and study about many current issues outside arts domain. So in this process I  got my master’s degree and then a doctorate degree at Production Engineering (in a second time, I hope to write more about what was to be a graduate student at a very nice public university in Brazil). I needed those years of reading and developing concepts. It was the time to understand about certain choices and their meanings (at least for that period of time). I devoured books and more books, almost every subject interested me. I wanted to open my eyes to other things.

citação de poema invictus

Citação do poema Invictus de William Ernest Henley.

Studying so hard can have side effects. That’s when I started wearing glasses and my thoughts began to shake (in a good way). Many ideas were going through my mind. But despite the moments of solitude, it was a positive time. It is about a path to be an Author of your own life.

I sealed the art inside of me in the early years of my Master’s. I thought it was time to do something about market and businesses, less subjectivity and colors (maybe I was trying too hard to not be myself). But life always shows you a way and it showed me opportunities: finally I could buy a good  watercolor set and get a good watercolor travel notebook at the end of 2012. Then, a friend of mine invited me to draw a landscape in Rio de Janeiro. He encouraged me to try to draw again. I did not like so much the results of this first attempt, but I did not give up.

At the beginning it was not easy to have much time for drawing. I had a lot to do in academic life. After a few months, I was able to have more time for drawing. Then even more time. When I finished my doctorate last year I was free to put art in the first place. First time in my life!

But what can I say about my doctorate? During this period I asked me a lot what I could do with images (critical thinking, ethics, context). Also it was a time that allowed me to give some classes about drawing, design, shapes and colors. Whether for a project for Youth and Adult literacy, for Production Engineering graduation or teenagers in a preparatory course I had a chance to better understand what the creative and manual side could do in a classroom. And I began to think that a very interesting place to sow for the future is a classroom full of students. And it starts at the school – not at the university! There are many possibilities. Perhaps, this is a way to democratize art, to valorize the expression of each one and promote the respect for creation. Brazil needs a lot to promote art education at the earlier years of each student (many have very poor access to it).

Being in a privileged position to study hard and with so many diverse opportunities in classroom made me think a lot about the strategies that one can take.  The research world is fascinating and it organizes innovations for us and for others. But now is a good time to get out of the knowledge castle (or candy house – I still have to finish that drawing) and their isolated fiefdoms to have the experience with others.

It is not “Oh, my God, why did you study so much to be only a teacher? Or an artist?”

I don’t think I have to answer this now.

Art for me and art for others too! Cheers!



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