Young people find it tricky to get noticed as an artist – the art world can be intimidating. This group of young artists celebrate and exhibit their art in the Teen Art Gallery, run in New York by teens. Our Sally-Anne caught up with director Charlotte Bravin Lee to find out more.
At the age of two, Charlotte Bravin Lee sat down in front of a big piece of paper and a ballpoint pen and drew for hours, filling every inch of the page. She hasn’t been able to stop drawing since.
Now, at the age of 17, Charlotte is the Director of the Teen Art Gallery, an organization entirely run by teens which aims to showcase artwork by people aged 12-19 in galleries in New York City.
TAG is run by 11 students, all from different high schools, who work together to run the gallery, from choosing the artworks to go on display to running the website and blogging about what they do. Charlotte got involved after reading about the gallery’s founder Audrey Banks in the New York Times. She was so fascinated by Audrey’s mission and goals and knew she wanted to get involved, so she contacted Audrey who invited her to a TAG meeting.
After Charlotte’s first year working with the gallery, the TAG team, including Audrey, finished High School and were moving on to work or university. Thanks to Charlotte’s hard work and dedication to the gallery, Audrey made her the new Director and she set about finding a whole new team of teens to help run the gallery.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The coolest thing about TAG is being able to work with young artists from all over the United States and sometimes from around the world. Last year, a girl from France submitted a film she made and a sculpture to go with it. She flew in from Paris, and I got to work with her, installing the sculpture and video. One of the most fascinating things about TAG is how it has not only reached people all over America, but other countries as well. I feel lucky to know so many young artists.[/pullquote]
Charlotte works hard as the Director, and one of her goals was to increase the focus on the individual artists. The Gallery receives a lot of attention for being run by teens, but Charlotte thought the artists themselves should get more attention. The team added photos of every artwork they showed to their website and started a Featured Artist section. Recently the gallery collaborated with TAP Zine, run by Geneva Gleason, to profile seven different artists, as well as helping a few of them to get their artwork featured in other exhibitions. They created a YouTube channel to feature artists who use video and film, as well as using social media to raise awareness of the project.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]What’s a typical day in my life? Well, every morning, I wake up and check if I have any new submissions of artwork in the Teen Art Gallery email. I get so excited when I have multiple new submissions. When I’m not at school, during breaks, and weekends, I spend my time doing the things I love. Recently I have been working on a series of 6 x 8 canvases of portraits. When I paint these portraits, I imagine each one as a character in a cast of a play. Once I finish the series, I think I will write short blurbs about each character. I also love spending time with my friends, listening to music and making my room as messy as possible.[/pullquote]
Sadly not everyone can make it to New York to visit and be part of TAG, but there are plenty of opportunities for young artists in the UK, which we hope to feature very soon.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] My advice for young artists, is to perfect their work by continuing to work on it. I think young artists should experiment with different mediums, not be afraid to start over or change something if it is not working for them. Whenever I spend a lot of time on something, changing it and adding more paint, it always ends up being a more successful piece of artwork. When I put in the extra effort, my work improves and often these are the works that are selected for a show or win an award. Another piece of advice I would give young artists is to look for opportunities, search the Internet for interesting contests and chances to have their work published in a magazine. There are surprisingly a lot of publications and contests for young people Lastly, I would tell young artists to create their own opportunities by curating a show in their home or at school with a bunch of friends. Create a website for your artwork and get submissions from others. Two summers ago I created my own opportunity by posting flyers for art lessons where I spend time in the summer. I got a call from a mother who wanted her 6 and 4 year olds to join my class. It was a great experience. It not only felt rewarding to teach kids so young how to paint, but felt like a worthwhile experience for me as an artist. Don’t wait for others, make your own opportunities.[/pullquote]