Panthers Of ISKL #36 - Nevdon Jamgochian. - The Urban Artist
This week, we met up with Nevdon Jamgochian, an MS Art teacher who has been working at ISKL since 2019.
Originally from San Francisco, Nevdon has been exhibiting his paintings for almost 30 years internationally. He has a Masters in Teaching and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting. Nevdon has lived in Indonesia, Germany, Senegal, India, and Thailand before coming to Malaysia. His wife, Evelyn Chang, is an EAL teacher in Elementary, and their daughter is in Prep Junior at ISKL this year.
Here is his story.
'I love teaching Art - it energizes me! We have great students here who earnestly engage with ideas and new concepts, and I am incredibly fortunate to do this for a living at ISKL.
'I like the students, and I am always impressed by how responsible and curious they are. When I had my class paint miniature panthers on the ground floor walls, I could not be everywhere at once supervising. Not one student abused their freedom! Imagine 17 teenagers unsupervised and let loose with paint! And being great ISKL kids, they all did the right thing and made some pretty cool work.
'I try to teach as much Art as possible. I have two After School Art clubs, I ran art activities during Summer School, such as oil painting and acrylic painting, and I ran a painting class for staff and faculty. Other courses that I have taught at ISKL are Health, Computer Science, and Media Literacy, and I also work as an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Examiner for Visual Art.
'Online learning has been a challenge. It has pluses, such as the shared hardship with students and the connection that this experience produced, but online teaching can miss some of the dimensions and nuances of in-person instruction. But this is the world we live in, and our students have been great about it.
His Passion for Art
'Right now, I am making ridiculous Art! Before my daughter was born, I was making SERIOUS conceptual Art. I was very interested in making Art that addressed genocide, extinction, and memory. I tried to do this with a degree of levity as people will turn off when the message is relentlessly grim.
'For example, I invented a fictitious artist born in 1900 in a genocide-free world and made a museum around his work. I have also traveled around the world in a spacesuit, in which I installed chrome plaques engraved with a poem on ruined buildings.
'Thinking about the state of the world for years and getting threats about my Art from people in countries who do not want to remember - it was tiring. So, I took a break for a few years, and upon returning to Art, I just started painting mindless Art, such as "the Clouds of Malaysia" and my four-year-old's jokes.
'A few examples are "A Penguin Standing on a Ball, and the Ball is Eating a Pancake" or "A Chicken That got Into a Cloud by Climbing a Ladder." It is nice not to have to think and just to sit down and paint. When I get to know the arts scene in KL better, I will write for Art journals again.
'Art is work. The wild artist's myth is wrong; the exciting artist, social artist, is usually not a great artist. Art is a worthwhile life, but it is made with hours of practice and discipline. That being said, Art can save the world, and as long as you have a daily routine, you can do great things. Making Art is not that different from working out or learning a language or an instrument.
'But there are easier ways to make money. If money or notoriety is your goal, don't be an artist. But if you want a meaningful, explored life, then you should make Art."
What does 'Be All You Are' mean to you?
"This is the highest ideal. If everyone maximizes their potential, they might just make it to the 22nd century.
'I believe that hate and greed are products of frustrated people who were not able to be all that they could be."
Want to see more of Nevdon's amazing Art? Go to https://www.instagram.com/njamgochian/