Always wanted to learn to paint or make prints, but don’t consider yourself an ‘artist’? Or perhaps you want to pick up where that almost-forgotten fine arts degree left off? Enrol in a class at Pine Street Creative Arts Centre. To give you an idea of the vibe of this community space, we chat to one of our new tutors, Natalya Shinn. Natalya teaches drawing and watercolour painting for adults and children.
How long have you been teaching at Pine Street and what attracted you to the space?
I started working at Pine Street as a tutor in early 2016. Before joining Pine Street, I worked in a community-focused NGO, Save the Children. I was attracted to the centre because it’s a perfect meld of community art and education.
What is your background and expertise?
I studied at The National Art School majoring in painting and have been a practising artist since 2007. I was also a primary school teacher. At Save the Children, I worked in early childhood education for at-risk children, including refugees and children from Aboriginal communities.
Who would you recommend Pine Street’s drawing and painting classes for?
I recommend the classes for anyone interested in exploring their artistic side and gaining foundational skills that they can then use to start their own practice. It’s also a great way to meet new people with an interest in creative arts.
What’s your teaching approach?
As a contemporary artist, my inspiration comes from my own practice, exhibitions and interaction with peers. All of this inspires my programming and keeps it current. I also like to establish clear outcomes for students and provide classes that are inclusive of all learning styles and backgrounds. I like to provide constructive feedback, but am also conscious of keeping the experience fun.
What are some common experiences that students might have in the class?
Most of my students are extremely nervous, as they haven’t done art since their school days. A common refrain is, “I can’t draw!” I love seeing students gain confidence as I teach them the tools needed to tackle a drawing or painting. Classes will begin with foundational drawing/painting skills and move from observational work to more contemporary experimental drawings and paintings by the end of the course.
Can you share any student success stories?
Last year, some of my students had works exhibited in the student exhibition by The Collective, HIV HeART at The Shop Gallery and at small spaces gallery in Redfern. Also 2 students from our after school program have successfully been awarded places at Dulwich High School of Visual Arts and Design.