“I don’t want to do art,” Oshin said when she started at Open Hearts Art Center. She had no interest in making art with pencil, paint, or clay. It took a few weeks for her to acclimate to the program. After about a month, she recalls, “then, I finally felt like doing art.”

She says the first piece of art she made in art class was a painting of a woman smiling.

Oshin explained that if she wasn’t an artist at Open Hearts she would spend most of her time at home. “I’d be at home doing chores or watching television” she shared, “I would be boring, just eating or sleeping.” Doing art at Open Hearts give her purpose and allows her to explore her creative side in ways that she may not be able to do otherwise. 

One of the most remembered pieces of Oshin’s work was a self-portrait. When asked how it felt painting a photo of her own self, she chuckled, “I had a mirror in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, and I watched to see how is my nose in the mirror.” The staff received it well. Oshin was asked what was said about it, and she remembers, “they said it looks good. You can sell it!”

Many supporters of the program saw Oshin’s self-portrait, and it eventually sold. When asked how it felt to see her painting sell, she said, “It felt good.” Oshin works on many portraits, but most of them are inspired by Art Nouveau style. She said, “I like all the different colors and pretty ladies to paint.”

Her very favorite piece of her own work is a very large painting of a lady with flowers. It was listed for $200, and when it sold, the artist received fifty percent of the profit. Oshin noted that $100 is a lot to make from one work, and it made her proud to see that others enjoyed it as much as she did. When asked what she did with her earnings, she said, “I go to the store and buy my mom a gift, and for me, a little something.”

Micala is Oshin’s favorite staff member to collaborate with. When asked why she likes working with Micala, Oshin said, “I love to work with her because she’s nice. We have fun and sometimes we dance. She laughs with me because she thinks I’m very funny. Micala understands me.”

Recently, Oshin had her own artist spotlight at Woolworth Walk here in Asheville. When she walked in to see all her art on display, and people looking at her collection, she gasped. It made her happy to talk to people. “They asked who made this art, and I said that I did,” said Oshin. “People thought my art was nice.” Possibly the best part, she explained, showing her biggest smile, “My mom was really proud of me.”

Oshin continues to impress staff and community members. She’s always cranking out new pieces of art inspired by colors and shapes. She makes a great member of our community of artists at Open Hearts Art Center. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Article by Marshall Hammer