October was a busy and productive month for #TeamTish. So much so, that a team outing was way overdue! To stay inspired, we all went out for our very first full-fledged art tour. It was a fun experience, and we fully recommend it! Overall, we went to a total of three art galleries around KL. We started at The Balai Seni Negara (otherwise known as our national art gallery), made our way to Ilham Gallery, and ended it with an impressive collection at the Bank Negara’s very own gallery. (Fun fact: This gallery has FOUR Picasso originals! How cool is that?)
But we wouldn’t have known that without the help of Art Seni, a new online group with a goal to bridge art and people together, by focusing on the core problem of art inaccessibility in Malaysia. They’re commonly known for their personalized and well-curated art tours around Kuala Lumpur.
That being said, today’s Meet the Makers is all about Aza Iza, the mastermind behind Art Seni, and all it has to offer. Like all things worthy of our time, they are often stemmed from ideas; Seeds that we either plant in our lives or dispose of. Luckily for us art lovers, Aza decided to plant this seed earlier this year in January, when it struck her one night after spending a day out doing what she does best; gallery hopping.
Immediately after, she created Art Seni’s Instagram account but left it for safekeeping. In today’s world, you’d know to quickly ‘chup’ the username/handle that you like before someone else nabs it! But Art Seni didn’t start growing until 9 months later. What started out as a seed, only grew in full bloom when Aza took it to Twitter to share a series of tweets on her personal account on all the exhibitions that were happening in September. Soon after, the thread of tweets started getting a lot of attention. 5,000 RT’s, and 2,000 likes worth of attention that is! Needless to say, people were loving it.
Like the many hustlers of our generation, she has no background in the field she is currently in. In fact, Aza is currently pursuing her degree in early childhood education instead. All whilst helping out with Red Bull events on occasion. This just goes to show that where there is a will, there is a way. All it takes is pure moxie and a little planning.
And like many other young and new entrepreneurs out there, everything at Art Seni is being handled by Aza herself. From scheduling the tours, to running them, to managing and marketing their Instagram. When we talked about branding, she mentioned that it took her a while to learn the ins and outs of marketing. Her motto is to take baby steps as it can all seem quite intimidating and overwhelming from time to time. Again, despite her background, Aza is even trying her hand at web developing in order to grow her outreach to her audience.
“I currently don’t have the funds to get my own web developer, but I can try and learn it from the Internet. I feel that it’s so much easier these days. Anything and everything is out there for you to learn. Everything is at your fingertips. Literally! The best way to learn is to ask. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. And then you’ll never get what you want.”
When we asked her about her long-term goals with Art Seni, it was made clear that she was in it for the long haul. Her dream is to hopefully collaborate with artists, galleries, and other art enthusiasts alike to create a better and more approachable learning environment for Malaysians. Art Seni is known best for their tours, but Aza plans to expand her outreach by helping artists market themselves through her platform via ‘Takeover Tuesdays’ where artists are able to directly communicate with her followers, and helping them break the boundary between themselves and the people. She even hopes to turn Art Seni into an Airbnb Experience one day.
“Right now, the focus is on the tours, but it’s not all about the tours. It has always been and will always be about accessibility. A lot of people are interested in and passionate about art, but they don’t know where to go to find it.
I want Art Seni to be that bridge between the two. I want people to know where to go, with the help of Art Seni. A lot of people are intimidated by art, and a lot of them think it’s a high-brow thing, but it shouldn’t be that way. Art is for everyone”
Currently, Art Seni provides specially curated tours for you to enjoy. Tours that are curated by Aza herself are made available for you, or if you have any specific galleries or exhibitions you want to go see, she can organize that too. But if you’re an artist who’s looking to branch out into the world, but you don’t know how to do so, drop Aza an email. She might just be able to help you.
Contact Art Seni for art tours and collaborations at [email protected] or check them out on Instagram at @theartseni. You have nothing to lose, and all to gain. Like Aza said, art should be for everyone. Have fun!