By: Nika Tay Hui Min
For some, you have known her as the very patient and kind teacher Joanne. For others you have known her to be artist Joanne. In this special article, we interview the founder and face of Artpazionate, Joanne Beh. As she shares with us the heartfelt beginnings of Artpazionate, her journey as a local entrepreneur, teacher and artist. We go in-depth to uncover some of the lesser-known stories that has shaped and influenced her perspective on art & life.
Join us below for an exciting read!
Hi Joanne! Could you tell us the story of how Artpazionate came to be and why the name?
Of course! ArtPazionate was birthed forth with the aim of bringing and curating a more holistic approach towards art education, where we aim to go beyond the sole focus on art skills.
The name ‘Pazionate’ derives from the word ‘Passionate’. For myself, it serves as a constant reminder and commitment to remain passionate in what I do, especially in the area of teaching art. Likewise for the many who have walked through our doors, I hope through our classes, we have nurtured their passion and joy in expressing themselves through art.
Please sum up Artpazionate’s teaching philosophy in 3 words?
Inspiring, Empowering, Affirming
What makes Artpazionate classes/workshops different?
At ArtPazionate, we place a great deal of emphasis on the process and creative expression of each student. Every individual is unique and so should their artwork be! Their artworks are really extensions of themselves and their own personalities.
Rather than having everyone’s artwork looking almost exactly the same or achieving the ‘perfect’ art piece, I always encourage my students to think creatively, to express their ideas and thoughts and not be worried about making mistakes.
Our teaching approach is to affirm and empower. It allows kids, teens and adults to be confident of who they truly are and what they create. While creating a safe environment where students are bold to explore, make mistakes and derive joy from their art-making.
In general, the arts in Singapore is often relegated to the side, being seen as an extra, unpragmatic hobby. Being an independent local business offering specialized art classes in Singapore is no easy feat! Throughout your journey, you must have experienced many ups and downs. What is one valuable lesson you’ve learnt in the process of running an art studio as both an entrepreneur and a teacher?
ADAPTABILITY! Being adaptable especially in my teaching approach towards the kids is just so important! Some are loud, some are quieter, some are really active! Therefore, my teaching method differs from one to the other. There is no one size fits all!
Outside of the four walls of the art studio, I also conduct corporate art workshops geared towards stimulating ‘the art’ of team building! Again, I have to be flexible in approaching new environments, interacting with people of vastly different backgrounds while at times working within constraints. I truly believe being adaptable is extremely important in my area of work.
On the flipside, what are some of the challenges?
The spectrum of students who attend Artpazionate’s art classes are varied and many! As such, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with autistic children as well, but not without its’ challenges. I find it challenging especially because their emotions can be quite erratic.
Once again, finding the right balance in ensuring students get the most out of each lesson while being attentive of each student’s needs and learning capacity is key. But what has truly kept me going is the joy of seeing their smiles and them having so much fun in making their artwork.
A personal question: What got you interested in Art? Name us some of your favourite artists!
Thinking back, it was an experience I had during my primary school days. In fact, when I was in primary one – I attended a trial art enrichment class in my school on a Saturday. I remembered I was so blown away and captivated by my art teacher’s Parrot artwork. It was so vividly realistic and beautiful.
I guess that, in some degree, influenced my art style too. Some of my favourite artists are Yayoi Kusama and René Magritte. I love Kusama’s bold usage of colours and the striking, visual yet at times illusionary effects of her works. For the latter, his unusual depiction of ordinary objects and people.
Not only are you a ‘pazionate’ teacher (no pun intended) but you are also an incredible artist in your own right, having done numerous private commissions! Any memorable ones?
One of my most memorable commissions was a pointillism artwork depicting a garden measuring 2metres by 1metre. A vibrant, colourful piece filled with countless and countless of dots which I spent hours upon hours just stamping dots! It took a lot of effort but I found it rather therapeutic as well.
(Editor’s note: Pointillism is a style of painting which uses small, distinct dots of varying colours to create a blended image when viewed from a distance.)
What do you hope your students – children, teens and adults can learn and takeaway from Artpazionate’s classes/workshops?
There was a kid I taught some time back who shared with me that her friend found her drawings weird. Sadly, this comment affected her so greatly that she refused to show other students her drawings. Hence, my earnest hope is through our art classes and workshops, in whatever medium – be it watercolour, acrylic painting, drawing or even mixed media crafts – we can create an environment that empowers and inspires my students to confidently create what they truly like no matter what others say. Staying true and original! 😊
Lastly, what is one advice you would like to share for anyone who is interested to learn more about Art?
Make it happen! 😊 Don’t let self-doubt stop you from learning and creating art!