Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Minute Masterpiece Is About Art & Fun

Margaret Poplin has a unique art business called Minute Masterpiece, in which people with little or no art training are led through a step-by-step teaching process while having a fun night with friends.

All materials are provided for each participant to use. At the end of the night, they can go home with their very own acrylic painting. I took Margaret's class back in November.

I asked Margaret a few questions about her art life and how she got started on the teaching and entrepreneurial path.

When did you start your business?
My first class was 07-21-2010 but I have had the logo and corporation put together since Summer of 2009, I just had to save enough money for supplies so I could get started.

Why did you start your business?
I love painting and I have a Masters of Fine Arts degree so I wanted to see if I could use my degree to start a business. My Mom and many of my friends have always tried to get me to teach them various art techniques but none of them really have an art background so I have to break whatever technique they want to learn down into easy steps. I figured since I was already used to doing this it might be a good idea to try and market it. People need a creative outlet, whether they know it or not, and I hope this helps some people find their “inner artist."

How long have you been doing art?
Since I could use finger paints and crayons, my family has always been very supportive of my creative endeavors and encouraged it ever since I was a very small child.

What is your art education background?
I received my BFA and MFA both from SCAD (Savannah campus). While I was there I had some of the best teachers available, though I didn’t realize how great they were until grad school. They are very encouraging and nurturing in the Illustration department. I learned from all kinds of artists, some that work exclusively in fine art, others who illustrate for business magazines, still others that do children’s books (which was my focus in school), or even editorials. While I was there I was exposed to a variety of styles and techniques, no one style or method was help superior to any others really so you were encouraged to pursue any direction you wanted to explore.

How did you learn to teach art?
I think I was just naturally predisposed to teaching, I always helped my friends learn while growing up and we were part of the “nerdier” crowd, so I always admired my teachers. Two teachers in my childhood really made me want to teach, Mrs. Theresa Mays (my AP art teacher) and Mrs. Raylee Durden (my AP English teacher). They were extremely patient and supportive throughout my high school career. I also learned more at college from wonderful professors such as Kurt Vargo, Paul Hudson, Don Rogers, Mohamed Danawi, Dick Krepel, Linda Warner, and John Foerster (though I am leaving many out also!). They give you a realistic view of making an living as a Fine Artist and I assisted Kurt, Paul, and Don as a teaching assistant for a variety of different classes ranging from technique and anatomy to computer illustration and design. Having to teach such a broad range of subject matter really helps you learn HOW to teach regardless of WHAT you teach. It’s all about making the complex break down into manageable chunks.

Do people need to be a certain age or level of experience in art to participate?
I prefer to teach students ages 18 and up, 21 and up if we are teaching at a location that serves alcohol. You do not have to have any experience however, I try to make it easy for everyone and most people are surprised at how well they do even in their first class!

Where do you teach your classes?
Class times and schedules vary depending on our host locations. Currently I teach at Wine Styles in Snellville and at 45 South Cafe in Norcross. I am always looking for new locations so if anyone is interested in hosting a class at their business, especially on the weekends, please contact me and we can work something out.

How much do the classes/sessions cost?
Classes are $25 per person at any of our host locations and I will do private classes for parties of 10 or more within and hours driving range of Snellville, also at $25 per person. For further distances I would have to charge additional travel expenses but it is not out of the question. Beverages and food are not included in class prices.

What are the steps to set up a class or attend a class?
Classes can have up to 24 people per class. Anyone can reserve their space online at; by clicking on the events shown on the calendar. We have an interactive calendar now that even shows the painting that will be created at each class. We accept payments via PayPal or in cash at the door, reservations are strongly encouraged to ensure that you get a space. If you want to organize a private class with a specialty painting please call for details: 404-955-8203. I will be happy to work with organizers that want to arrange a painting session for birthday and bachelorette parties, showers, etc.

If you go:
If you come to a class make sure you wear comfy clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on. We provide aprons along with all the materials for a painting but accidents can always happen, so don’t wear Prada.

For more information on Minute Masterpiece, contact Margaret Poplin at 404-955-8203 or email Follow Mini Masterpiece on Twitter @MinMasterpiece

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