Interview: Sangeeta Warrier, Founder Udaan Academy of Fine and Visual Arts

We love art, artists and books about art at Little Kulture. Art is fundamental to who we are. Our ancestors first communicated to each other by drawing on cave faces. Today Little Kuture caught up with self-trained artist and founder of the art school Udaan Sangeeta Warrier. Sangeeta was a software professional, juggling projects before she heard the calling of art. Speaking to Sangeeta one feels there is still hope for Art, thanks to teachers like her who spend hours helping children understand and practice art.

Sangeeta Warrier

Hi Sangeeta, thank you for chatting with us. Please tell our readers at Little Kulture what you love most about teaching art.

In two words …it is fun teaching Art and it is inspiring. Art is a therapy and teaching art is a very rejuvenating and relaxing experience for me. I believe that everyone has an artist inside, every can do something creative. People have different thinking process, needs and their level of understanding also differs. I try to explore simple and interesting methods to follow. This generation (Young kids) is very sharp, they can do even the most difficult thing if taught in the right manner (manner that appeals to them and relates to them). A teacher’s role is to adopt a child’s perspective and make them understand. We can’t expect a child to quickly understand complex concepts in Art and see things the way we see.

If a friendly, fun oriented approach is adopted by a teacher then complex topics can be made simpler. A teacher can inspire students to reach any limit and I enjoy this process.

Please tell us about Udaan your art school. (please elaborate on the inception, the mission of the school, the number of years it has been in service, types of art taught)

Udaan academy is a creative organization which offers lessons in Fine arts/Visual arts to a wide range of audience since 10 years. Our vision is to provide affordable creative solutions with high focus on quality of content to enhance creativity.

Our mission is to help our students to discover the hidden creativity, develop dormant mental capabilities and unleash their full potential. Various courses are available for kids and adults like Basics and advanced level of sketching, Watercolour painting, Acrylics on canvas, Oil painting and various curriculums are available according to different levels and needs of a student. Traditional art of India like Madhubani and Warli art courses are also available. We do also offer craft, advanced craft and clay modelling courses. Courses like Glass painting , tile painting, clay painting, and 3D Relief paintings are also very popular.

Udaan Students

Can any child master art or do they need to have inborn talent?

Every child has an artist hidden in it and with the right guidance we can bring out the best out of them. And of course some have inborn talent which can be polished with technical knowledge.

How does a child benefit from learning art?

The benefits of art are endless. Other than helping develop the creativity of children art also helps in increasing their concentration span and also in inculcating better observation skills. Skill wise art helps improve the student’s handwriting skills. For an example if we ask a general question from a student about the colour of an apple, the answer is red. When the student is asked to observe an apple in life study session, he can observe at least 5 -6 tones of red along with tints of yellow, ochre, green, brown and many more. A happy outcome of this is that children adopt these same practices in academics resulting in better grades and better understanding of concepts. Art helps build a child’s confidence and ability to try out new things. It is known to help children develop their emotional quotient and therefore resilience.

How does learning art help build a child’s worldview?

Art is a subject of heart which takes one to a broader level unlike other subjects like engineering where largely the mind is involved and tells us to follow an exact method. Take an example of storytelling, kids like it since their heart is involved in it, not just their mind.

Art is a way to express without saying a word. Imagination has no limits and while creating compositions students bring new ideas and solution to address most complex world problems. Art also expands their horizon. Through art kids also get an understanding of various cultures and systems of other parts of the world.

Udaan Students

Is art a good way to help express emotions? Can you give us an instance?

Definitely. Start painting…if you are in good mood automatically you will choose vibrant colours. If you are in a bad mood your painting will depict hues of greys and browns. Your art will portray your mood. One can destress and calm the mind with art and can get rid of negative emotions too.

We had a young student aged 5 who was restless and unable to focus on a task for more than a few seconds. His parents were deeply concerned. Initially we had a tough time with the child and we were scratched and hit often but slowly things got better. We tried various methods to find his interest and at the end he settled on paper and a pair of scissors. Instead of drawing, he used scissors to cut various shapes and stick them together to create beautiful art. Later he used to sit for longer stretches of time with his craft set. Clearly art had helped him immensely and had helped find a balance within.

How does art help build rigour?

Art is wholesome in nature which means that it is limitless. One can develop art forms according to his or her imagination. So constant touch with art helps develop the outlook of a person. If properly guided one can develop one’s own dimension limitlessly through any form of art. This in turn brings more depth and strength to the person. For an example, if I teach the students how to draw a coconut tree, once they are done with this, I encourage them to create their own composition using same object. They can create a seascape with a few or many coconut trees, can add rocks, people sitting on the beach, sand castle and many more things. Every child will create a unique composition with his own ideas. It’s a very good practice too since in this process the child drew coconut tree many times. Repetition is done without boredom.

What are the common misconceptions about children learning art?

Many people feel learning Art is a waste of time and money.It is better that children spend all their time studying.

Parents often have rather high and unrealistic expectations from children. A few feels that their kids should do more of landscapes (beautiful scenes) than still life. Others find craft is all about cutting and pasting. The focus is often on outcomes, not the process and the patience required for craft.

Udaan Students

How can a child continue to practice art after class?

You mean homework :-). During the session with the teacher, students grasp the technique and a basic structure to do a particular project. The really outcome is when a students does home projects based on the techniques taught in the class. At Udaan, we focus on attempting home task a lots and this brings an independent approach and develops ability to put your own ideas your way.

One can also practice drawing objects by actually looking at them. (life study or still life) Exploring objects in nature like leaf, flowers, nature are good to begin with.

What are some of the career options for a child who wants to pursue art as a career?

One can become an artist, teacher, designer, illustrator, printmaker, art therapist, art promoter…the options are so many.

What are your future plans for Udaan?

Expanding my operations geographically is one important plan, after Gurgaon currently I am working on starting up a centre in Bangalore. The bigger aspect I am working on now is to give a wider dimension to the current form of teaching, which means to address various needs of people through art. Examples are enabling children to cope up with today’s stressful environment through arts, help differently enabledchildren to expand themselves through arts.

Contact Information:
Udaan: 1541 sector 46 Gurgaon, Haryana, 122003
Phone number: 7838990791
E-mail id: sangeetarw@yahoo.com
Website: The Drawing Studio India

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