This week let's get to know Ira Tan, the force behind
Start with the Heart - Teacher Ira's Creative Art Lab for Kids.
1. When did you start getting interested in art?
Since I can remember :) I was always interested in art ever since I was a kid. I was already fond of drawing and coloring (visual arts) even in my kindergarten years. I was also always much entertained by other forms of art like music and dance. What kept me interested also as a kid was the constant new art materials I would be getting from my mom and aunt.
2. Did you always want a career that has something to do with the arts?
I always knew it was something I could and would never let go of because it's already a part of who I am. So whatever I do and wherever I go, art will always be there.
3. When did you start your company? What is your company's story?
The inspiration of Start With The Heart is really all my kids (students) throughout my 9 years of teaching preschool. I wanted to put up a space where kids can be free to explore and express themselves through visual arts and be able to create their very own masterpieces, a space that welcomes imagination and out-of-the-box ideas, a space that nurtures creativity and where nothing is "wrong" or "not good enough", a space where kids are encouraged to take risks and to invent, a space of respect and appreciation for Mother Earth, and a space where art starts with the heart.
4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
My 2 joys mixed in 1 - kids and art :)
5. What do you look forward to seeing in the Arts culture here in the Philippines?
A high regard for children's art. A lot of parents and adults tend to judge children's artworks by very biased standards. As long as the artwork ends up looking like an adult's painting, that's all that matters. They try so hard to intervene in the artistic process of children so that their own expected outcome is followed, with very little regard for how the child him/herself really feels about the whole creative process.
6. Last, do you believe that every person is an artist? What do you say to people who say I am not artist I can't draw and I don't think I can ever learn it?
Yes. I believe EVERY person is born an artist because our Creator is a Master Artist. He created us to be co-creators of art. We only need to discover our artistic talents and continue to nurture and develop it as we grow. And we need to remember, there are countless forms of art. It's not merely painting or drawing. As years pass by, forms of art are also being continuously invented and discovered. Long before computers were invented, there was no such thing as digital arts and media arts, etc.
For people who say they can't draw or paint or something....well...you can't do something you don't believe you can do at all in the first place. So nobody can really do anything about it. Cos we all have our own unique set of talents. If you can't draw, and you believe you can't draw, and you can't be a visual artist like so and so, then stop trying to be someone you're not. Most likely, there is something else you're really good at and where your heart is truly leading you to.
As Albert Einstein once said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."