One River Spotlight: Claire Widman
As far back as Claire Widman can remember, drawing was her passion. Growing up in Mohegan Lake, NY, drawing was her way of “opening doors into friendships”. As a child, art was part of her “identity,” both inside and outside of the classroom. Widman went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT in Art with a Concentration in Illustration. She expressed her choice to go to a liberal arts college with a strong art program, rather than a school focused specifically on art was on purpose.
“For me, subjects such as history, science and philosophy inspire my art. I need to stay curious and keep learning in order to fuel my creativity,” said Widman.
Professionally, Claire’s career journey has included numerous commercial art experiences including: animation and design for Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues, to an Animation Assistant with J.J. Productions Inc., and an Illustrator, Animator, Graphic Designer, and Content Manager with IAC Ask Applications. Currently, Widman teaches classes at both One River Schools in Westchester, NY. Widman teaches Kids Art Studio Shuffle, Focus on Drawing, Digital Art and Design, with ages ranging as young as kindergarten through to adults.
Once Widman read online about One River’s philosophy and mission she knew it was a community she wanted to be a part of. One of the most important aspects of teaching for Widman is being able to help an art student “see from a new angle or perspective”.
“Whether it is seeing the uninhibited artwork of a first grader or hearing the experience of a person newly retired, I always gain new insight, and pass that right back to the students,” said Widman. “You can just see the look on their face that says, ‘Oh, I get it now!’”
Widman expressed the importance of exposure to contemporary art in younger and older generations. “The styles and subjects of contemporary art reach beyond what most people are exposed to day to day, and I believe everyone benefits from experiencing and appreciating visually stimulating subject matter,” said Widman. She expressed teaching at One River in Westchester allows her to be part of a “growing art community”.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge of both traditional and digital art with such creative students who are craving growth in any particular medium or just want to have fun,” she said.
With her background in illustration and animation, she is drawn to artists such as Tim Burton, Lora Zombie and Jon Burgerman.
“Their art has so much emotion and jumps out of the page to me. I also love more traditional artists such as Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse,” said Widman. After starting to draw monsters a few years ago, they “keep coming out of my pencil onto the paper,” said Widman, who has drawn hundreds. “I will sometimes hang them in shows or coffee shops. I am currently working on a book of them. Don’t worry, they are all friendly,” she said.
Outside of teaching at One River, Widman enjoys exploring. “I always try and get out with my dog Bugsy on long walks in the woods a couple times a week. I also head down to Brooklyn often, and keep my eyes open for great street art,” said Widman.
You can view more of Claire’s work on her website, or stop into one of the Westchester locations to enroll in one of her classes.