Monday, December 16, 2013

Everything Artzy

How Artzy Partzy Came into Being

by Anne van Alkemade

Everything arty weaves through my daily life. It’s the way my brain works, I’ve come to realize, and I’m sure I’ve written before about how odd I feel in general company and embracing this odd thing as that which makes me sort of ‘ME’. 

Finding my niche

This self knowledge hasn’t always been a part of my life and for a long time it lived in a dusty cupboard in my brain while I tried to fit in. For many years I worked in corporate life, unquestioning the drive for promotion and more money and yes, I admit it, status. But I was always the one who could not turn off the personality and often I was accused of being unprofessional because I was too emotional. This failure always hurt. Now I know it is not a failing but part of who I am.

So, how did I ‘come out of the closet?’ What has made it all okay to be me and to start accepting the title of ‘artist’? And what the devil is “Artzy Partzy”?

First thing’s first, I guess.

A kid’s approach is relevant universally

It is often spoken off in artzy social media about how wonderful children’s art is because it is uncompromising, free spirited, and unhindered by criticism. For many years, in my creative writing tutorials, I have urged students to believe that ‘everyone can write’. 


Set your inner artist free with the simplicity of finger painting.
Everyone can be creative. But as adults too often we aren’t. The reason I believe is because as we grow up, we have unrealistic expectations that whatever we will do will succeed. If we don’t achieve perfection immediately we stop trying. Yes, everyone can create, but some are “better” than others. The critic steps in and tells us we will never be good enough; it puts a dollar value on our creativity and tells us to get a ‘proper’ job.

A consequence is we forget how much fun it can be just to try, to enjoy the process and the discovery of technique.

Reconnecting with Arty Me

I was reunited with all of this after my daughter was born and when she first started to express herself artistically.  One of the most unexpected surprises to me when becoming a parent was how dramatically my perspective of the world changed. I looked at my immediate environment in new ways because I had to try to see it through her eyes.

When Robyn picked up pencils and chalks to draw, I would sit with her and draw too. It was (and is) a most bonding and enjoyable experience. As the years rolled by we became more creative together; drawing what we saw and what we imagined, doing huge canvases together, painting on the old shed wall, and covering the driveway in chalk stories.


Vincent van ScareCrogh
My daughter’s hunger for paper and highlighters/permanent markers is insatiable, but that’s 
another story.

My realization through all of this is that we were able to form a special connection by working together and it made me start to think about the wider landscape. Although not together, Robyn’s dad and I get along quite well. He indulges the light of his life (sometimes ... well … again another story) but one of the things I love is that he will help her build houses out of cardboard boxes (thank you Aldi for the many times I have walked out of the store with 3-5 grocery items and a trolley full of empty boxes).

Cardboard boxes have many uses - they're not just for packing!
He will work with her to build a garden, and take her shopping for items in a recipe. Perhaps he feels that creative connection too although he would deny vehemently that he has a single creative bone in his body. I wondered who else feels that way about themselves.

One of the regular art projects my daughter and I have done for years now is making plaster shapes with silicon cake moulds and then painting them. I think I stumbled across this idea because as a kid I had a plaster moulding kit – a rooster and a lion, I seem to recall – which I loved, and I thought she would love doing this too. She did and does!

Uppermost in my mind throughout has been that feeling of ‘connection’.

New people

Robyn and I accumulated a fair few moulds over the next couple of years and of course my garden and house is littered with art projects, reams of drawings, painted and half painted bits of plaster everywhere.

Then in April I met my new neighbours. I was invited to sit around a fire brazier in their backyard one cold Friday night for a drink or two and friendly chat. Don’t you just know that’s when you relax enough to talk about those old ideas floating around in your head? I talked with Stacey about my idea to start a business that connects people through art and we chatted about the plasters Robyn and I made from time to time.

It’s times like those you know it’s never enough just to have an idea, but that you also need the belief and enthusiasm to make them happen. Artists often wrestle with self-doubt. I am no exception. It can be crippling. Stacey has heaps of enthusiasm and belief. Together we became a team and we established Artzy Partzy earlier this year.

What is Artzy Partzy?

Initially, our little partnership is focused on founding the business. Our prime aim is to market plaster painting parties. To this end we have been selling moulded plaster shapes to get establishment funds. There has been a list of things like registering a business name, partnership, getting public liability insurance, purchasing equipment, tables, paints, chairs, smocks and all sorts of consumables – all of the equipment we need to achieve our aims.

Just one of the many kits available.
Perfect gifts for all ages - Christmas or birthdays!
At the moment our Mission is to market the business. But our Vision is to connect people, all people of all ages, by getting them inspired to try. Plaster is our starter, but we have plans on the books to introduce other art forms in formats other than parties. We’re only six months down the track and the going has seemed slow at times, but that Vision is unshakeable and we both believe there is an Artzy place in the world where people can connect.



Like Artzy Partzy on Facebook

To keep up to date with Artzy Partzy, find out more about this fun, creative business or to book an event - visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ArtzyPartzy.

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