Posts Tagged ‘pour your art out’

How to Find Inspiration for Art in Your Surroundings

Written by Arts on the Block on . Posted in Pour Your ART Out, Uncategorized, Youth Apprentices

By: Apprentice Laura

Taking advantage of what’s around you is the best way to find inspiration.  Whether you have a piece of art you want to complete or a project that needs to get done, sitting staring at a blank sheet of paper isn’t always the right decision.  I have spent so much more time trying to think about what to draw, than actually drawing, and I have spent a lot of time looking for artistic inspiration.

Composition VIII by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923.  Picture courtesy of

Composition VIII by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. Picture courtesy of

The easiest thing to do is to look at what’s around you.  Even if that means just looking around the room, this especially helps me when designing something. Find an object, or look at a poster or painting and think about why that artist chose to make it look the way it looks, and what you personally would have done differently (color, shape, size, etc).  This could help you come up with your own ideas and designs. You could go even further and go somewhere.   Traveling and the places I have been make such a difference in my artwork.  Going to a museum and seeing collections by different artists, like seeing Kandinsky’s work at the Guggenheim, or seeing Monet’s paintings at the Louvre, can give you that boost and even help you decide what kind of artist style you have by comparing work by other artists.

Park Güell in Barecelona, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.  Picture courtesy of

Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Picture courtesy of

Personally, I find inspiration in architecture.  It might sound strange, but one of my favorite things to do is stare at buildings; everything is so thought out and precise. It has a function but can also be beautiful, such as homes designed by Victor Horta or Frank Lloyd Wright, or a whole park created by Gaudí.  They all have the same task at hand, but each person manages to create something unique.  Either way, it always manages to give me some kind of idea.

Another way to use your surroundings is to find people.  Find someone to talk to and ask them about their artwork and what they think of your artwork.  Everyone sees art differently and getting a different perspective or opinion will always help.  I think young artists should go out, see as much as they can, talk to people, and continue to build an inner archive of impressions.  Ultimately, we are a reflection of this around us, but artists hopefully can reflect that vision to create art.

photo (2)Laura is a Winter/Spring 2014 Pour Your ART Out apprentice.  Laura has been surrounded by art and architecture ever since her parents forced her on endless family vacations to see historic buildings.  As she grew older, she started to resent them less for taking her to these places and actually started enjoying these trips to castles and fortresses. While not busy, she likes to read and mindlessly watch TV.  She also has a bad habit of drawing all over everything.  Laura is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, but currently lives in Maryland.


From Apprentice to Artist to Businesswoman

Written by admin on . Posted in Uncategorized

After uploading a teaser of photos from a recent engagement shoot to her Facebook page, Evelyn Alas checks another five star review for her business.  Evelyn is making her mark on the commercial photography world, but she made her mark on the Arts on the Block family first.

Evelyn was one of the apprentice artists during AOB’s very first year.  While an apprentice, Evelyn learned job skills through the arts and worked on commissions for real clients.  Evelyn worked on a project called “Unsung Heroes” that depicted real and metaphoric figures pertinent to the development of Silver Spring in life-sized mosaic forms.  Evelyn learned from AOB lead artist Carien Quiroga to appreciate the nuances of creating public art.

Evelyn also enjoyed the field trips to local art studios and museums that exposed her to different mediums and styles.  “Not everyone’s going to be a fine art painter and stay with it.  There’s public art, graphic design, poetry,” Evelyn explains, “It’s not just creating your own art, it’s creating art for other people.”  This philosophy guided Evelyn well as she built her business.  Evelyn Alas Photography specializes in weddings, engagement shoots, and special events.  When asked what draws her to photography, Evelyn answers, “The ability to tell a story with an image without using words.” Evelyn’s passion fueled her drive to pursue a future and business in art.

Evelyn used what she learned from AOB to succeed at the University of Delaware, where she earned her BFA in Photography and minor in art history.  There, Evelyn strengthened her ability to articulate her artistic process. It can be difficult to stand out in a field where customers are driven by budget and not necessarily quality.  To showcase her assets, Evelyn utilizes those same skills she developed with AOB.  “I try to explain [to clients] the background to my art.  I don’t have a cookie cutter formula for their wedding or event. I take into consideration who they are and how they want to be represented,” Evelyn says confidently.

“I can be very creative in wedding portraits, that’s something that’s caught people’s attention when they see that I do things a little different.”

Evelyn’s work has indeed been turning heads, like at a recent Peter Pan inspired wedding, featured on Style Me Pretty.

AOB often hires Evelyn to photograph some of their ongoing projects and finished products.  “It’s been amazing that Arts on the Block continues to help and support me.  It’s kind of full circle, this relationship that we have,” Evelyn reflected.  She has these words of wisdom for our current apprentices and all young people looking to pursue a career in the arts: “Any learning experience, either work related or in general, is valuable and you should treasure that. “Don’t be trapped or single minded, be open to exploring other mediums. Soak in what other people teach you.”

You can find Evelyn Alas Photography on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the company website.

There isn’t much of 2013 left, so we ask that you make a donation before the new year to guarantee that Arts on the Block will be able to keep making a difference in the lives of young artists, just like Evelyn.

ARTpreneurs: Taking Care of Business

Written by admin on . Posted in ARTpreneurs, Pour Your ART Out, Projects and Programs, Youth Apprentices

Our ARTpreneurs are primed and practiced and ready to hit the professional world running with their art.  These high school students turned professional artists spent six weeks learning about art, job skills and entrepreneurship.  Their “final exam” took place at Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring.  The apprentices set up a booth filled with mosaic luminaries, pendants, handmade cards and more July 25 and August 2.

Artpreneurs Harpreet, Wuri, and McKay are all smiles after a successful market day.

ARTpreneurs Harpreet, Wuri and McKay are all smiles after a successful market day.

The hours of hard labor, the countless lessons spent planning every single detail, all those extra early mornings working, it all paid off on Saturday at Fenton Street Market. People bustled in and out of our booth, many stopping to look through our original watercolor cards, as well as glancing over handcrafted mosaic pendants.”  -Maddie P.

The ARTpreneurs workshop is for Montgomery County high school students who have a passion for art.  Participants learn every step of the artistic process, from planning and creating artwork, to pricing and selling their finished pieces. ARTpreneurs is currently supported by grants from the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and the Donors InVesting in the Arts (DIVA) Giving Circle of the Community Foundation for Montgomery County. The ARTpreneurs used everything they learned to reel in customers and sell their goods at the market.  Students from local non-profit, Docs in Progress, stopped by to film the Arts on the Block booth and interview our apprentices.

Artpreneurs Fenton Street Market Docs in Progress

“Our booth attracted many customers because it was colorful and eye catching. The market was a great thing to experience because it gave us a preview of what it is like to work in an actual store and to engage conversations with people.” –Alexandra O.

The apprentices displayed their mosaic pendants and lamps in the Arts on the Block booth.

The apprentices displayed their mosaic pendants and lamps in the Arts on the Block booth.

Our apprentices had the opportunity of learning about the business side of art from Entrepreneurship Educator, Derek Sontz.  Derek, Founder and Principal Consultant at, helped guide  conversations about the AOB booth’s strengths and weaknesses between the two market days.

“Weather can be a fantastic advantage or a horrible inconvenience. We were amazingly fortunate the first day when it was 80 degrees and sunny with the perfect amount of breeze. The market was packed and most people were already in a good mood, making selling and attracting customers fairly easy. The second day, we weren’t so lucky. It rained on and off while the air was hot and humid.” -Tara C.

Our apprentices proved their creativity when the raindrops started coming down by turning trash bags into waterproof fashion statements.

Our apprentices proved their creativity when the raindrops started coming down.   They made trash bags into waterproof fashion statements.

“The Fenton Street market was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about the business aspect in the days leading up to the market. Learning how to properly price items was definitely one of the most important lessons we learned prior to the market.” -Yodit K.

For more information about Pour Your Art Out and our ARTpreneurs Workshop, visit

What advice would you give to our young professionals?  Comment below and share your experiences and expertise.