Hey! I’m Alvin, a soon to be 2nd-year Business & Management student and am nominating myself for the position of President of KCL Art Society.
“I could always live in my art but never in my life”. Art is my outlet for escapism, and quite frankly, has saved me in my darkest times. I think that is why I am such an advocate for this craft – I’ve personally experienced how it can change lives. Growing up as an LGBTQ+ member in Hong Kong was difficult, to say the least. Society’s idea of ‘your average boy’ confused me as I realised I didn’t fit it at all, and for a long time, I blamed myself for it. I was a Disney-obsessed, Winx club fanatic that made dresses for his barbies soon as he came back from school (so not your average Chinese family’s dream child).
As I grew and matured, I realised that guilt-tripping myself and internalizing my emotions wasn’t doing me any favours. With support from my best friends in middle school, I started to paint how I felt. I was pretty horrible at it at first. For a good year, I genuinely thought that I was just a dunce. However, everything changed when I stopped caring about what other people felt about my art and slowly changed my perspective. I started celebrating my tiny achievements and constantly tried finding ways to improve. It was feeling proud in little milestones that started to give me a little bit of confidence in not only my art but myself. This confidence blossomed into me wanting to encourage others to do the same, and by leading various clubs and events I was awarded a Visual Arts Scholarship by my school (so not that big of a disappointment to my parents!).
Today, art is the blood that runs through me. It’s what keeps me alive, and I’m sure this is also the same for a lot of you, reading this manifesto. By caring enough to vote for your next president, you care about art, and our society, at a level much higher than most.
What will I bring to our society as president?
From being a member of this year’s society, I have realised that there are three main motivations people have for joining our membership.
- To meet new people
- To escape from our university lives
- To develop their interests and be seen
These are three facets that I will answer, and improve upon for our members.
To meet new people
Regardless of which year of university you’re in, the possibility of forming new friendships is a key reason for our society’s existence. However, by taking part in various events this year I found that there is often little interaction between groups and individuals taking part in say, Frank Gambino’s life drawing classes or the film screenings. What I propose is the encouragement of more interaction between members. A quick, simple feedback session with the person opposite in the room at the end of a say tutorial could allow new friendships to grow. In addition, the incorporation of quick art trivia (where the winning team gets a prize) at the end of our events would allow for the interaction of members to take place. Furthermore, I propose our society start a social contact network. This would be a page where our society members get to submit their profiles detailing who they are, what art they create and their social media handles. This way, we are able to get to know each other before the actual events and form online friendships.
Of course, not all our events necessarily have to be social every single time. This is where the feedback network comes in. I hope to launch a feedback network allowing our members to inform us of what they want to see from our society. These could be simple polls asking if they want to socialize, or just have a chill time at our events. The ability for a more customized experience for our members would help tailor our society to meet their needs.
To escape from our university lives
School sucks and lectures are boring (at least sometimes). Our society allows artists in various degrees to come together and just have a fun time being creative. Some new ideas I have are listed down below:
- Various aesthetics like dark academia and cottage-core circulated throughout the pandemic. I hope to bring themed events to our society. These would be opportunities for our members to come dressed in these aesthetics and to create art pieces centred around each aesthetic. It would also be a plus to have food and drink following the aesthetic as well.
- In addition, having artist themed sessions would be fun as well. For example, if it were a Michelangelo event, we could have our members paint in the inspiration of the Italian frescos in realism. Or if it was Van Gogh we could paint in his impressionism style.
- Picnic painting sessions are also an idea I would like to explore. Something very instagrammable. Think of a nice sunny day in Regent’s park, with food laid out as we sit and paint on the nice, green, kinda prickly grass. We should continue bringing our members out to inspiring locations to create artwork, instead of just an activity room. Being surrounded by art allows for inspiration to flourish. I can just imagine all of us putting up easels and painting together in the National Gallery.
What I will add, is that I would propose notifying our members of art events earlier than done this year. It was common to see events posted about just a day before, and it was disappointing to those I spoke to who wanted to go to our event but had a prior commitment. By posting about our events 3 days before our events (and having an Instagram story be put up the day before), people will a) know whether they are interested in the event we have planned, and b) have ample time to make time for our events.
To develop their interests and be seen
Artists are constantly looking to improve and get better at their craft. In addition, I believe that they also deserve to be seen by our community.
I loved the Frank Gambino life drawing sessions – receiving feedback on your art from a true professional really allowed me to improve my skills. Moving forward, I want to invite more artists from different cultural backgrounds to lead tutorial sessions. Cultural diversity in the art we appreciate is important. I hope for our society to be a space for members to get to know more of London’s inspiring artists. Hopefully, this will allow us to have more guided tutorial sessions with varied art styles and subjects.
In addition, I want to celebrate the art created in each of our sessions. I want our society to create an online documentation of everyone’s art at all the events (if the artists choose to allow us to document them!). This could be an excellent way for artists to reflect on their advancement in the Visual Arts through our society, but also as a way to become inspired by fellow artists and their interpretations of the same themes/ideas.
As president, I vow to work collaboratively with our committee and members of our society. Let’s develop our skills and have an amazing next year of our lives!
Thank you :)