Open Art Spark, A Conversation on Sustainability, Creativity, and Collaboration

All I want to be doing is making, every hour. And then sharing it, you know, just telling other people that you can do it too - this magic.
— Leela

 

For the pair, Open Art Spark, is a platform to explore and discover. It's a conversation, a project, and a safe a space. Corinne Amato and Leela Rupa founded the project in an effort to seek collaborations with a community of likeminded individuals in awe of the world around them. The pair facilitate gatherings, lead workshops, and work together to practice and share their love for a sustainable creative process. Through everyday objects they create beautiful artifacts and experiences together with their children for their community.

Open Art Spark is an ever expanding idea, and at its core is a wanting to empower others to take a moment and have gratitude for what is.

 

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On the Origins of the Two : 

Leela:  I grew up in and out of a commune, between England, India, and Gurnsey. I had a lot of freedom that I didn't want (I just wanted someone to take care of me). You know that freedom I had in the commune, I think, is what really made me dive into art.

I worked at a law firm, which was soul destroying, so I worked there [and] just before I was thirty I realized this is going to be it, but if this was going to be it, I wasn't really sure what the point of everything is, so I sold my house and I used the money I made from that to come to New York. 

That was a scary leap for me because I was leaving this stability. The first day that I moved to New York I met the man who is now my husband. It was obviously meant to be. I loved being in school, I was studying fine arts and art history, and Violet was born on the first day of my final semester. I met Corinne, because of our flower children. And we started creating together. 

Corinne :  And that connects beautifully. As far as pre-Leela. Well, I love to collaborate, and that's what drew me towards the act of performing. I went to school for musicals!

I searched a while in New York to find a satisfying collaboration and it was a challenge. And then I found this place called, Amato Opera. He [the founder of this opera], was Eighty at this point, and he had re-used everything. I loved it, but I realized it was totally unsustainable. 

Once I had kids, I knew that my relationship with the arts of performance had to change. Many years past, and I met Leela in the park. Leela showed up at my house with that stitched cardboard crown, and I looked at it and I realized this person speaks my language, I need to spend more time with her, I need to find a way to enter that collaboration again.

Leela: You know, I had this deep kind of excitement that somebody else appreciated the same things.

Corinne: This act of non-waste, just using your time to create something that is also consciously choosing not to create a lot of waste in the world, and sometimes it's a tiny thing. 

 

It’s an idea, it’s a viewpoint. It’s remembering not to waste, it’s a place to remind yourself how you want to be like in the world. How do I teach and be taught by my child, [this] beautiful way to be in the world and to me its exploration. Never falling into this [way of], ‘Oh I’ve seen this object before I’m going to just toss it.’
— Corinne

On What They Hope People Will Gather

Corinne: I hope that people, allow themselves to be awakened to what's around them and in them. To look at something and peel it away and think, "OH, wait, I can sew this. Or you can look at these beautiful shapes within it."

That discovery of what's possible through the materials.

Leela: The confidence that you get from just creating something, and what you take away from it, becomes a part of it, seeps into you. I feel like I get so much inspiration. 

Corinne: It's a step back and a look closer. 

 


On The Call for Open Art Spark

 

Leela: All I want to be doing is making, every hour. And then sharing it, you know, just telling other people that you can do it too - this magic. 

Corinne: It's an idea, it's a viewpoint. It's a place to remind yourself how you want to be like in the world. How do I teach and be taught by my child, [this] beautiful way to be in the world and to me its exploration. 

Leela: I feel like it's been a domino effect. It does broaden your horizons. It's almost like I don't want to go to the art store. 

Corinne: Because you can find it all around us. 

I want to take the time to unravel it [things that we would toss], and separate [them] and that in itself is an activity. It's a gratefulness. There's often meditation in this action. 

 
 

On Lessons, Facing Fear and Working Easy

Leela: I'm trying really hard right now to realize that fear is actually the thing that holds you [back], and I've been fearful a lot. But, look at all the good that comes from it. 

Here I am. 

Recognizing that fear isn't really real. I'm still working on it, but I feel like I'm doing pretty good. Just trying things. 

Corinne: For me, it's not really what other people are thinking, but feeling the thoughts, feeling that fear is all around us. I often forget to breathe, let's just keep doing those physical tasks and let them pass.

Trust that things are totally out of my control, and so what I can do is what's right in front of me, right now, and to structure. Yes to structure, things take as long as the time you allot for them. And happy or sad, none of us escape our ending, so do what you have to do, don't let it cripple you, so much of so many of our emotions are just mortality. 

Leela: This concept of you are worthy, can fee like nonsense, but you are worthy. Find your power, find your point. 

Corinne: That's what I've been needing. 

Your past isn't you.

And everyone feels squashed. 

Leela: Work easy. I work all the time, but I love it, so instead of work hard, why not work easy? 

Corinne: This feeling of it's okay to be out of control and to not waste time shaming yourself. You can't spend time thinking about those things, because everything else in front of you is still there. You could just say, alright, and to acknowledge when you did mess up.

 

And let it be easy.