Student Spotlight: Michele Bontempo
Going to The Art Studio NY was the best and continues to be the best gift I have ever given myself.
When did you start taking art classes at The Art Studio NY, and why did you begin to take classes (what was going on in your life at the time)?
I began with The Art Studio NY in September 2015. I was a fashion photo art director in print retail advertising. By 2015 and earlier print advertising was not the way anymore. More retailers chose web advertising and my creative services were no longer necessary.
I began designing photo storybooks. They were albums that contained stories the client would supply in their own words. They involved being given their photos that needed to be edited, the story, then design and produce as a hard covered book. Very time consuming. It was a great idea and people loved them. However, they were not willing to pay the price.
What class/e did you take, and what classes are you currently taking?
I decided to sign up for art classes. I never had fine art training. Never picked up a brush or oil paint. I was really, really scared and at times, frozen.
My first class was Mixed-Media and I did it for about a year and a half. Then I combined Mixed-Media with a landscape, and abstracts.
By around 2017 I switched to “water based oils” These are oil paint that has been manipulated to clean up with water. The paint acts and feels like oil without the toxics. I started off with a landscape then I began painting people. Now I am taking Intermediate Oil Painting classes with Rebecca and I love it.
What makes your experience at The Art Studio NY unique and memorable?
Going to The Art Studio NY was the best and continues to be the best gift I have ever given myself. Everyone who works there is great. They are friendly and make me feel like I belong. In the classes, the students are welcoming and very supportive of one another.
What is something you have achieved because of your art classes that you never thought you could?
I can paint well.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your artistic journey?
That I worked very hard and I had the ability to listen to my instructors. If I didn’t understand I was not ashamed to ask. The instructors are patient, tolerant and kind.
What fears have you overcome, on and off the canvas, since starting to paint?
ON THE CANVAS: Being afraid that I would not be able to achieve what I chose to paint at the time.
OFF THE CANVAS: Constantly hoping that my eyes, brain and hands would work as a team.
How have your art classes allowed you to relax and relieve stress?
It is the opposite with me. First, I stress and once I have succeeded, I can relax.
How have your art classes changed your life, either in your art or your everyday life?
I see myself as a different person now. I am very proud that I took such a huge chance for me and it worked.
What advice would you tell a total beginner who feels afraid of taking an art class or they feel they “have no talent”?
I would say that if you think about taking and art class, it is a sign. If you have no talent then you would not have thought to take an art class.
When I was 13 years old I had an opportunity to apply to Art and Design High School and I did. A while later I received a letter telling me that I need to come and take a test to get in.
I put together a portfolio of work that was required in the letter I received.
My Dad took me down and on the Subway I told him I was scared. He said “of course you are scared, that’s normal. But remember, just try your best. And besides, the other kids are scared too.