Last month, contributing reporter David Frazier wrote an article (“Fighting fake culture,” April 17, page 11) about the commercialization of culture parks like Huashan 1914 Creative Park and Songshan Culture Creative Park. Nominally set up to provide space for artists to create and be inspired, they are now dominated by large organizations that have turned them into, as Frazier wrote, “cultural shopping malls.”
Fortunately, there’s been somewhat of a smaller countermovement. Nine days after Frazier’s article was published, dozens of expat and local artists gathered at Huashan for a live painting event alongside live music and a generous sale of sangrias and craft beers. Called Artists Break the Mold 3, it was hosted by the Red Room group, a Taipei-based non-profit that aims to bring together the creative community by hosting regular events.
The artwork produced that day has since been displayed on a rotating basis at Huashan and The Escape Artist, a restaurant-come-live painting venue. On Sunday, there will be a closing reception at The Escape Artist, where the artwork will be auctioned off to the Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation’s Earthquake Relief Fund to help victims of the recent Nepal earthquake.
Photo Courtesy of Red Room
FOSTERING THE CREATIVE GENE
The idea behind Artists Break the Mold originated in July 2009 when Red Room members responded to the devastation caused by Typhoon Morakot. They pulled together a group of artists and musicians for a similar live painting event named Artists Beat the Flood, and donated the proceeds to the relief effort. Last year, Red Room’s former coordinator Manav Mehta revived the idea with Artists Beat the Flood 2.
“Creation needs an audience. We are simply making that possible; the rest is magic,” says Roma Mehta, the current Red Room coordinator. The idea, she says, is to provide “a space for the creative energy in each of us to flow naturally.”
Photo Courtesy of Red Room
Mehta adds that last year’s response was particularly encouraging and that they plan to continue organizing such events on a yearly basis. What sets Artists Break the Mold apart is the level of interaction between artist and viewer — something which is hard to mimic at a typical gallery exhibition.
“It is so unlike walking into an art gallery and viewing a finished painting on a wall,” Mehta says. “It’s inspiring to observe the artist transfer his or her thoughts onto a blank canvas and watch the visual story unfold.”
Moreover, such interaction is meant to provide a much-needed dialogue and spark inspiration, thereby fending off the “fake culture” of commercialized artistic endeavors.
Photo Courtesy of Red Room
All participating artists will be at Sunday’s closing reception and viewers are encouraged to mingle and converse with them. Those who wish to paint can do so, as brushes, paints and easels will be provided. Of course, there will also be wine, sangria and snacks.
“Amateurism is celebrated,” Mehta says. “It’s important to nourish the creative gene in all of us.”
Dear readers: The Compass Taichung International Food and Music Festival in Taichung, reported in yesterday’s page 12 and originally slated to take place tomorrow and Sunday, has been canceled due to expected heavy rain. The festival has been moved to September.
What: Artists Break the Mold 3: Closing reception
When: Sunday from 4:30pm to 9pm
Where: The Escape Artist, 68, Wenchang St, Taipei City (台北市文昌街68號)
Admission: NT$350 including drinks and snacks, NT$1,000 for on-the-spot painting, including paints, brushes and an easel
On the net: www.facebook.com/events/104994423166383
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