Bangkok Faces: Amy Diener, Artist & Art Teacher

15 November 2018, BKK Kids

Your Name: Amy Diener

Job Title: Artist & Art Teacher

What is your nationality and background?

I am American from New York and have been living in Bangkok for almost 6 years.

What is your profession?

I am an artist, particularly focusing on dot paintings as well as an art teacher at the American School of Bangkok.

What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?

I am skilled at painting in my dot technique which I have learned and developed over the past 2.5 years. I create many mandala dot paintings, dotting on jewellery, boxes, stones, shells, and canvas of various sizes. For me, painting dots is a mindfulness practice, requiring focus and repetition. Additionally, I am responsible for discovering my target audience, taking photos and videos of my works, and organizing art exhibitions to showcase my paintings.

As an art teacher, I facilitate a choice-based arts classroom interpreted from the Teaching for Artistic Behaviour (TAB) approach founded in 2001 in Massachusetts. This model is accompanied by learning stations featuring different materials. Students are encouraged to follow the studio habits: developing their artistic skills, engaging and persisting, envisioning, expressing, observing, reflecting, exploring, and understanding art words and communities. Students find their own creative voice through imaginative ideas, self-expression, and autonomy. They work with their interests and strengths, and a follow a line of thought throughout time.

How did you get involved in your profession?

When I was in high school, I developed a love and passion for the arts. By my senior year, I decided to join an internship program called Aspire and went back to my local elementary school to observe and student teach. From that experience of empowering kids through art, I felt that it was a right fit to study art education. Therefore, I went on to receive my undergraduate and graduate degree in art education concentrating on painting at the State University of New York at New Paltz. I moved to Bangkok to teach art, and in the process also developed my own artistic style.

How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?

My role of being as an artist demonstrates to kids that it is possible to purse your dreams. I constantly bring in my works to show the kids, and they are very excited and empowered to foster their own creativity. They can experience first hand what it looks like and feels like to be a professional artist, which may inspire them to pursue a future career in the arts. Students develop a strong level of trust in my teaching because they can understand that I am an expert in my field, not just a novice teaching art without the real life experience of being a creator.

My role as an art educator empowers children to develop their own ideas, visions, and reflect upon their artistic experiences. The child’s interests are put at the forefront of learning. Students are given many opportunities to explore and problem-solve, as well as add meaning to their artwork through personal experiences. My role of facilitation treats the child as a mindful artist, fully capable of making their own decisions.

What challenges do your face in this role?

The challenges I face as an artist is how to best reach an audience outside of my personal bubble of Bangkok or New York. I find that most people who know and appreciate my work reside in these two cities, but outside of that network, I am still anonymous.

The challenges I face as an art teacher is encouraging students to follow a line of thought. Sometimes kids like to work on artworks for small amounts of time, and encouraging them to persist and follow through is essential.

What do you hope to achieve within your industry?

As an artist, I hope to achieve great success through expanding my target audience internationally through digital marketing and social media. I would love to inspire individuals of all ages to engage in mindfulness practices that allows for pause, focus, and staying true to the present moment.

As a teacher, I hope to continue to empower children through their art thinking and art making. When students follow the studio habits (develop skills, engage and persist, envision, express, observe, reflect, explore, and understand art worlds) they can then translate these habits to other subjects and all walks of life, in and outside the boundaries of the classroom.

Who or what inspires you?

My artwork is inspired by the concept of mindfulness and the colors from the landscapes I encounter during my travels. I am interested in how the selected color palettes can affect sensory and psychological perceptions. My goal for the paintings is to provide a therapeutic experience for viewers, encouraging them to pause, take a breath, and enchant their minds and bodies. My favorite dot artists are Elspeth Mclean, Yayoi Kusama, and Barbara Takenaga.

Only a Bangkok local would know… cat cafes are scattered throughout the city!

For more info, please visit Amy’s website or Instagram account, or get in touch with her via e-mail.

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