One of the things I love most about my profession is the ability to give back and share by educating others about 3d street painting. My schedule is often very hectic yet when good opportunities come up to work with children, I usually find a way to accommodate them. My latest such foray happened to be in the Central Asian capital of Almaty, Kazakhstan. Invited to participate by UNESCO Club Kazakhstan, my Team 3d colleague Sharyn Namnath and I traveled half way around the world to show students aged 12 – 17 just what 3d street painting is all about.
We’d never been to Kazakhstan so this was a new adventure we were both excited to experience. Honored with their exceptional hospitality, the UNESCO Club director Khanzada Yessenova and her team really went above and beyond with their incredibly diverse arts camp for young people from Kazakhstan. The camp was structured to extend for one week, with interactions being offered in performance arts, music, visual arts, design and traditional cultural arts, along with guest appearances from a wide range of regional artists. Guest artists from South Korea (designer Yeon Sung ‘Andy’ Lee), Austria (pianist Robert Pobitchka), Russia, Kazakhstan (Mukhit Akanayev, Bakhit Seysekhanuly, Larisa Starodubceva & Yelena Starozhilova) and the US were on hand to provide excellent guidance and instruction in each program. Over 200 students attended and we demonstrated 3d street painting to every single one of them!
The students took to 3d street painting immediately, many having seen it on line – they really wanted to not only understand how it worked but also to make their own drawings and play, which is exactly what my class intentions were. By the end of the week we had paintings all over the campus, with the classes proving to be a resounding success. These kids had never drawn a chalk drawing before, let alone one in 3d. We taught them about design, layout, tools, methods and viewing. Many picked it up rather quickly and most jumped in to display extraordinary talent in translating images into chalk renderings. It was so much fun that they worked up until the very end of their sessions, unable to remove themselves from the work at hand.
While there Sharyn and I were treated to outstanding Kazakh hospitality. Our relaxation / dining hall was actually a large traditional yurta, which was incredibly comfortable. The food was out of this world – Sharyn and I always partake of local cuisine whenever traveling so enjoyed sampling local specialities like whey balls, plov (a traditional rice dish), shubat (camels milk) and Kumis (fermented horse milk)! We even received Kazakh names – mine is Tamasha, which means ‘wonderful’:-) Our Unesco Club liaisons, Anel and Gulnur provided fantastic support and translation as needed – thank you ladies! We were able to experience Almaty from a local point of view and enjoyed some cultural experiences while there including a falconry show & ethno-folk music by Kazakh group, Turan.
I have to send my deepest thanks to everyone in Almaty: Khanzada Yessenova and the entire Unesco Club camp team: Anel, Gulnur, Sandugash, Bibigul, Beibut, Anash…. everyone! We left a little piece of our hearts in Kazakhstan and hope to return again soon.
For the entire photo album of this Master Class experience check out my Flickr photo stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tlsart/sets/72157638819408174/