Printmaker Turned Teacher Leaves a Legacy

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Submitted by the Festival of Arts

Printmaker Vinita Voogd at work on a project.
Printmaker Vinita Voogd at work on a project.

Vinita Voogd loves teaching art as much as she loves making art.

Her passion was an exercise in self discovery that took nearly 40 years and a move half way around the world to realize. But from an early age she knew she would pursue art, said Voogd, who is showing her artwork at the Festival of Arts for the 16th consecutive year. “Most of my family were bankers and engineers and business people, so I was the first artist in the family.”

Drawing for hours with her grandfather, “Dadu,” stoked the fire during her  school years in her native India. After prep school, she enrolled at the selective University of Delhi, College of Art, which accepts 24 students a year.

Voogd met her husband Martin, a native of California, when he worked in India as an engineer. They married and decided to move to California because Martin wanted to pursue grad school.

She helped him with his grad school start-up business, but also enrolled in a UC Irvine class in printmaking, taught by instructor John Paul Jones. “It was like learning painting from Picasso,” she said. “Since I learned from him, I was completely hooked.”

Another mentor, Professor Bill Riley at Saddleback College, asked Voogd to fill in during his sabbatical.

She had her doubts. “I know the material, that’s not the problem. I was just worried that I might not like it.

But on the first day of class, 10 minutes into it, it was the best time of life. I was thinking to myself, what have I missed? This is amazing.”

Teaching is in her blood now, including interacting with art lovers during the Festival of Arts.

“It’s an opportunity to teach,” she said. “Every printmaker at the Festival you’ll see, they are printmakers but everybody’s work is completely different. Just within the medium of printmaking, there are hundreds of techniques, and somebody chooses one technique over the other, and they just push that and you have a whole new set of artwork that doesn’t look like anyone else’s.”

Among the printmakers at the Festival are six who have studied under Voogd, including three who are new to the Festival this year. The six include Jonathan Hunt, Mariko Ishii, Brandon Medrano, Anne Moore, Varsha Patel and Joy Vansell.

“I felt like a proud mom, I was so happy,” Voogd said about former students turned exhibitors.


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