Hannah Martinez teaches the Artastic! Way
By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
FRESH out of a long stint in college and looking for a job, Hannah Martinez decided to teach art to kids to while away the time.
She gathered a group of seven kids in a small makeshift studio next to her house and taught them the A-B-Cs of lines, shapes and colors.
She hardly realized that time in 2012 that this was exactly the kind of “job” she was yearning for.
A year and three months later, Hannah formally named the art enrichment program Artastic!, which offers classes for kids, and recently for teenagers and adults.
Her first class for adults was held last Saturday, and all in all she now handles over 40 students coming from different age groups.
“This isn’t just daycare,” Hannah said. “Art forces you to see things in a different way and that’s what I’m trying to bring in, especially to the kids. I want to develop exercises that can help them, not only in drawing but in thinking creatively in all aspects. In many Western countries, they’re coming to realize that art is important in learning.”
Posters and newspaper clippings of her students’ past exhibits hang on one side of the studio, serving as an inspiring reminder to Hannah.
“It’s really rewarding to help other people have exhibits and expose their work,” she said. “I always thought that by teaching, I would have more time for my paintings but it turned out otherwise. It’s a good trade-off though.”
Hannah, whose mother is also an artist, grew up in a home surrounded by art in all forms. In the mornings, she would watch her mom paint, and in some occasions, tinker with her mom’s oil and brush sets.
“It’s only now I realize how expensive those things are,” she said good-humoredly.
“I grew up in an age without the Internet and cell phones so it was what I did to keep myself busy,” 27-year-old Hannah said. “It wasn’t something conscious though; whenever I would get bored, I’d draw.”
Hannah considers her mom her first mentor, followed by her sister Chezka who’s also an artist.
Life takes its course
In college, she took up fine arts for three years at the University of San Carlos, where she was under the tutelage of Kimsoy Yap, whose painting of the Martinezes’ rest house hangs dearly in her studio.
“I shifted to hotel and restaurant management — the worst decision of my life,” she mused. “Looking back, I really should have majored in painting or art history.”
Nevertheless things fell into place for the soft-spoken lady.
“When I first started, I thought that if this will last for a month, I’ll extend. And finally the whole year went by and it’s still doing well,” she said.
Aside from working on her art pieces, which she describes as heavily influenced by patterns, Hannah shuffles her time between her classes with Artastic! and those at the University of the Visayas New School of Art & Design. Hannah recently joined the school as mentor in art fundamentals.
“Dealing with kids keeps you young because you can’t take yourself too seriously,” she said. “There are no inhibitions; they’re very open-minded and relaxed. You give them a blank paper and tell them to do it, they’ll do it. While with the adult classes, it’s more structured and technical.”
Not surprisingly, Hannah said her ultimate dream is to have an art school, where, she said “you can focus on art in whatever medium.”
Shying away from the concept of art as elitist and reserved for a selected few, she wants to bring art closer to everyone — from whatever age group, whatever background.
“Some are gifted and have a talent for it, but if you just have an interest in art of if you like it, you have a chance of honing your craft,” she said.
(*Like Artastic! on Facebook at facebook.com/Artastic.art.enrichment)
Photography: Hafid Caballes
Venue: Artastic! Art Enrichment Program Studio (Martinez Compound)
Hair: AJ Airraveche | MUA: Raine Miscalo