Who’s Behind All Hands Art?
I am! My name is Pam Consear. I started All Hands Art in 2014. It’s a refocused, new-and-improved, “100% art” version of HandyGal, the multi-services company I founded in 2008.
The mission of All Hands Art is three-fold:
To engage a wide variety of people in the joyous act of art-making;
To leave a sparkling path of beauty in our wake; and
To salvage, reuse, and avoid wasting materials whenever possible.
So, how does one become a community art leader??
» Teaching skills help. By age 16, I was coaching gymnastics, working in a preschool, and tutoring math. During college I was a TA and tutored English as a Second Language. After teaching high school English in the Peace Corps, I earned my credential and master’s degree in Education. For nearly 20 years I was a classroom teacher, mostly at the kindergarten level. And here’s the thing: Once you’ve taught kindergarten, you can pretty much teach anything to anyone!
» Then you gain some creative confidence. I used to be very self-critical and embarrassed to show my artwork. You could say I was “in the closet” as an artist until my first cafe show in 2003. Before that, most of my friends didn’t even know I was interested in art! Fast-forward to today where I’m showing big groups of people how to make giant works of art on public walls, and you have a sense of my journey… and why I believe I can help you on yours.
» Finally, you add some purpose. Let me introduce you to a pet peeve of mine: I bristle at the words “talent” and “gifted.” They tend to discount the many many hours of work and frustration and dedication that goes into making art—or any skill, for that matter—look easy. Those “talented artists” and “gifted creatives” were not anointed by the gods with a magical set of skills that are forever out of your reach. Believe me, those folks have practiced! They’re probably working on their skills right now. (I riff on the topic of purpose in this well-received blog post.)
What this has to do with YOU.
Are you tired of feeling uncreative? Do you wish you were more artistic?
Your interest is the first and most important ingredient. Then take a step toward it. Be persistent. Make the effort. Stay curious. Put in the time. Be gentle with your progress. Don’t make excuses, just keep practicing. And please don’t say you’re “bad at art” or “not creative” if you’ve never put in the time. Who’s great at stuff they never take seriously?
Let’s replace that negative self-talk with, “I haven’t practiced drawing/painting/sculpture/mosaic/other art form very much. I’m still learning.” We are all, always, still learning. That is the pure joy of art-making. It’s all a giant experiment, a big What Happens If…? When it’s not about playing around and trying new things, then it’s just technique-building, and that’s ok too!
Ok, I’m done preaching. But if this resonates with you, and you’re ready for YOUR TURN—tired of waiting for “someday” or tired of watching your kids have all the creative fun—then YOU are my favorite kind of person to work with!
Basic Stats and Fun Facts about Pam:
- born and raised in the Great Northwest: Idaho, Oregon, Washington
- BA Linguistics, Stanford University, 1987
- Peace Corps Volunteer, Kenya ’87-89
- MA Education, San Francisco State University, 1995
- elementary school teacher in SF and Oakland, 1991-2007
- proud mother of two daughters, born in ’93 and ’98
- began training in martial arts at age 40; earned black belt at age 46
- moved back to Portland, Oregon in summer of 2017, after being away for 38 years
How the title Full-time Artist evolved:
I’m including this timeline because when people find out I’m a full-time artist, their responses range from worried to incredulous. I want hopeful artists to know that you CAN make a living doing what you love. It might happen, like most things do, as a series of a thousand steps. Here are just a few of the steps on my route:
- 2000: took first mosaic class; had a creative re-awakening after years being focused mainly on teaching and mothering (“Wow, I forgot what it feels like to spend a whole afternoon in the zone… I need to do more of this!”)
- 2003: started co-leading mosaic and collage workshops in a friend’s studio, for neighborhood friends
- 2006: with some coercion and lots of help, led my first public art projects at the school where I taught
- 2008: took a 3-hour class about painting murals, and a one-weekend class about leading mosaic mural projects
- kept writing grants and hustling to get mural projects lined up
- 2008: resigned from Oakland Unified School District and started HandyGal
- did every kind of odd project and service as HandyGal, from home organizing to painting bedrooms to running errands for people (I was like the original TaskRabbit), while also doing mural projects and making my own artwork
- 2011: opened an online shop on Etsy.com to sell my up-cycled crafts and some vintage items
- educated myself along the way about running a business, since I had no biz training whatsoever
- 2008 – 2017: completed about 50 Visiting Artist gigs (short-term art projects in K-12 classrooms)
- 2006 – present: led the creation of over 60 murals and tile installations
- constantly brainstorming creative collaborations for now and the future!
What does YOUR creative path look like?
Are you satisfied with your trajectory? Want to collide with mine? Get in touch!