From Otis Street: A Basket of Tchotchkes

Artist Gloria Chapa of the Otis Street Arts Project reflects on the hands-on workshop she led: A Basket of Tchotchkes: Art Treasure Trove of Inspiration.

The best part of teaching art is getting the surprise presents (art pieces) at the end of a class. The creativity of any group of participants rarely disappoints me. I had enjoyed my “time alone” during this quarantine. However, after a full year of isolation, teaching the final Otis Street Arts Project (OSAP) Phillips Workshop was a good opportunity to ease back into the mix.

There is more to art work than just the making of the piece. The process is so imbued with all of the spirit of the person creating it. There is no avoiding it. The way the workshop participants worked their materials was varied. It was obvious that they all had a vision; unique, strong and particular to each of them. I could sense a timidness amongst some of them. I knew it because  during my isolation period, there were times I also questioned my own intentions. Sharing our creative thoughts during the workshop helped dissolve any doubts that had crept into my art lexicon. It helped recover some of the energy lost to the quarantine. Perhaps the best thing about the pandemic is that there will be pervasive sincere appreciation for all that we do have. My favorite Robert Louis Stevenson quotes sums it up very well:

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

Artwork by Gloria Chapa: (left) CASCARAS, Onion peels, recycled aluminum, tree branches; (right) POTATO CHIP BLANKIE, Foam mattress, potato chips, fiberglass resin

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