Some students may find it hard to tap into their creative side when the stresses of school are weighing them down. However, fourth-year studio art student Zachary Diaz aims to bring art and expression into every student’s daily life.
Rooted in classic group drawing activities based around still models, Diaz, with the help of Elaine Miller, president of the Student Advisory Board for Dance, is working to give USC students the chance to draw live dancers on campus. The idea for the project came from Diaz’s interest in dance and love of drawing and has sparked a collaboration between the dance and visual art schools. Hosted by the Artists’ Guild, the collaboration is an inspiring creative outlet for students interested in dance, drawing or both, even if they are not involved in these fields academically.
"It'll show everyone what we do," Diaz said. "A lot of people think of artists, they think that we're weird or think that we're crazy ... but we're just like everyone else."
Diaz hopes to bring students to the project who may come from outside of the arts, which is why the project is being taken public.
Students passing by will be encouraged to join in when the event begins. Participating students will circle around the dancers to draw as they move.
“I want everyone to feel like they have the power to create something,” Diaz said.
The first event was held last week, but in an indoor setting. Diaz wants to get everything running smoothly before opening the project up to everyone, but as the temperatures drop, we can expect to see dancers on Greene Street or near Russell House in an effort to make the project open and communicate with those passing by about what artists love to do.
The physical distance of the School of Art and School of Dance from the main campus can create a feeling of separation between art students and the rest of campus life. This event is meant to tie the two together, to remind people that art is not only happening at USC but that it is also — for students like Diaz and Miller — an integral part of our university.
“I know most people do not realize the hours of work that people like dancers and visual artists put into their craft, and we want to share the talents of our departments with the school,” Miller said.
The first installment, according to Diaz, was a success. They had a dancer perform for two hours.
“I was taken aback when she started dancing ... after I took in how amazing the whole thing was, I started to draw from it,” Diaz said of the first event.
Elaine Miller agreed with there is an element of intrigue in the collaboration between the two fields.
“The process of creating a piece of art is so much more fun and interesting when two different mediums come together,” Miller said.
On a personal level, Diaz finds satisfaction in the act of drawing because of the calmness he feels while creating something, and he thinks others may be able to find a similar solace in the work.
“When you’re using your mind for creative reasons, it’s like you’re tapping into a whole different sector of your brain; it’s like time shuts off," he said.
Diaz also plans to incorporate other creative disciplines into the event sometime down the road once the project gets off the ground.
“I really want to create an event that takes ... from all departments of art on this campus and to really get into people’s faces and say ‘There’s acting here, there’s music here, there’s dancing here, there’s drawing, there's painting here,'" Diaz said.
He feels that people lack an awareness of the role that creativity plays in our daily lives, and projects such as this are a way to remind people how interconnected we are with art.
"It's something that gets forgotten all the time ... no matter where you go, there's creativity and imagination in all that we do," he said.