Sahasra in studio Sahasra with her certificate at school
Congratulations to Sahasra!
On behalf of the staff of the Academy of Art of Highland Park (AAHP), I am delighted to extend warm congratulations to Sahasra B., age 10. Sahasra is a committed and powerful practitioner here at the AAHP. She has trained with us for the past 3.5 years without missing a school-year Session.
Sahasra, who is a 5th grader, recently had one of her original artworks selected into the permanent art collection of Piscataway Township schools!
Sahasra’s’ winning piece is a still-life in graphite on drawing paper. Sahasra produced the piece during art class at her public school, under Ms. Irina Nikitovic. Sahasra is very fond of her school art teacher. She noted she likes to hear Ms. Nikitovic say that “Earth without a-r-t is just Eh.”
According to Sahasra, the winning piece took her two periods of 45 minutes each to produce. She was one of a several students who observed, interpreted and portrayed the tabletop composition.
“It was a simple arrangement, but difficult to get all the textures right,” the young artist reported. “What was fun was getting to work with other people and figuring out how to put it together.”
As I train Sahasra in studio, I know of her extraordinary commitment to her learning and to her craft as artist. I have often observed Sahasra deep in trance in studio.
Trance is the state of hyper-focus that an artist experiences while powerfully engaged in plastic process. It is a double-edged sword; while trance is a natural, good and necessary “high” associated with creative, problem-solving action, the artist must also know how to exit trance. An artist must exist trance in order to not over-tax one’s perceptual systems, and with it, the rest of one’s well-being.
It’s especially tough to exit trance because one feels so good while engaged in creative action. Yet one must exit trance frequently, for one’s own sake, and for the sake of the work one is developing. Sahasra already knows this.
I asked Sahasra how she felt about trance.
“It’s good to practice regularly” she said, “but you shouldn’t over-practice, or it starts to lose the fun. I feel it’s hard to get out of that concentration once you’re in it, and you feel sad when you have to go.”
Sahasra also loves reading, and “making up moves in soccer and basketball”. She loves to write, but added that she “never gets to finish” her written pieces. She has three goldfish. Her favorite food? Tacos. When it comes to music, she loves the work of Daya, Taylor Swift, and Sean Méndez.
We wish Sahasra many more successes in her life and work as artist, and in any other enterprise she might pursue now as a teen, and later, as a Renaissance woman. We know she will enrich herself and everyone else with her successes.
Photograph of Sahasra's artwork provided by her parents