A True Artist

Ian Scott, Assistant Professor
Humanities – Visual and Performing Arts


Osaretin Charles came into my beginners Art Class about 10 years ago with absolutely no real interest in painting. He thought it would be a nice class to try out but nothing serious. I got him to paint his self-portrait which I teach technically but also combine with reflective lectures about the nature of being. One could see something interesting start to emerge but it was very formative.


By the time of his second painting and several lectures about creative thinking as opposed to reactive thinking you could really see that a true artistic nature was starting to emerge.

Fifteen odd weeks of being in close contact with a group of people exploring their inner beings will reveal a lot. The great thing about art is one cannot avoid ones shadows but the act of painting them can be wonderfully liberating.

Osaretin’s second painting showed real dynamic rhythm and a true love of paint. He completed the course with an A grade and I thought it would be worthwhile to actually pursue his painting with further academic studies. Eventually he settled on Long Island University to do a B.A and during this time we could keep in touch with meetings and phone-calls. Visits to several important art exhibitions where we would discuss important painters such as Francis Bacon took place over the next years. All the time I would give critiques of his new work to make sure it delivered the quality the true artist demands.

Over these years Osaretin had several exhibitions in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. All in important venues and two reviewed in The New York Times. I was delighted to see his progress and realization of his calling as an artist.

He was a true artist not just some fly by night who seeks only fame and fortune but someone who understood the true nature of an artist’s life as a quest; rare in these superficial days. Recently we talked for over 2 years about his application to pursue his master’s degree. I wrote recommendations for all the ivy-league American colleges and the Royal College of Art in London.

We both decided that should he be accepted, the RCA would be the ideal choice. It’s the world’s premier Art College one literally cannot go higher and it is an ideal atmosphere for painting as a true artist.

The RCA kept him waiting for 7 fraught weeks before announcing he’d been accepted. I have to say he was more calm about it than I was!! The competition to get into the RCA is the most intense ever with all the best young artists in the world wanting to get in. So it is a great achievement to get all the way from our beginners class in Hostos into the world’s best art college.

Over the years Osaretin has impressed me with his quiet resolve. Working his day job in Lincoln Hospital while painting at night and weekends. A great student and a wonderful illustration of the potential fires we can light in the souls who pass through our classes in Hostos.


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