Jason Kiat Singapore 23 Oct, 2018
despite the language barrier, there is still a lot of interaction between the demonstrator and the participant, via verbal cues, and the translator trying his best
It was pretty awful. After seeing the pictures and the reviews we expected a relaxed time on a rooftop with a patient artist showing us some sample pictures to recreate or letting us draw our own pictures. Instead we had to drive ourselves to the Academy, sat on tiny chairs in an area which was everything but not relaxed as there were many people around and it was right next to the street. Then our two hosts told us to start drawing a lime. Great memory of our time in Cambodia... Then we showed them the pictures and discription on the website which they didn't seem to recognize. To be fair, after we told them what we wanted they tried their best. They let someone come with sample pictures and my partner could draw a picture from the internet. Unfortunately it was everything but we'll structured. My partner chose a simple picture and started while I, with a far more complicated picture, had to wait. I was allowed to start with the watercolor when he was finished. They constantly told us that they were hungry and tried to make us draw faster. On top of that they laughed and made fun of our drawings all the time. The painter also always tried to make our paintings "better" when they didn't look exactly like the one he was drawing. I almost cried at some point. Couldn't really finish my painting.
Short : Fake advertising and way too expensive for what we got.
K C Cambodia 18 Sep, 2017
Backsteet Academy offers a creative and most welcome addition to Phnom Penh's must-do activities! Backstreet Academy courses share the craft and artistry of local Cambodians in a comfortable and enjoyable environment. Moreover, these courses fulfill an important social purpose: they serve as both an important employment opportunity for local artisans and an innovative cultural bridge. Backstreet Academy classes offer an unprecedented opportunity to directly support local artisans, help preserve Cambodian arts and culture, and connect with gifted locals artisans.
I attended the Sketch Out during which we sketched two iconic architectural features: the Independence Monument and the White Apartments. I have very limited artistic skills, but the instructors were skilled and patient and were able to break down a seemingly impossible task into actionable steps. They also gave each "sketcher" a high level of individual attention. I was amazed at my finished products and was even able to give them to a friend as a gift!
Organizers Jamon and Akash are extremely professional, friendly, and have a careful eye for detail. They made sure that each member of our group was provided with necessary sketching materials, refreshments, and stools so that we wouldn't have to sit on the ground. They also shared with us in-depth information about the history and architectural significance of both locations.
I have lived in Phnom Penh for three years, but this experience truly opened up my eyes to a part of the city that I have travelled past dozens of times. The White Apartments are notorious for their poverty and crime-ridden past. However, as we sketched the outline of the buildings, our surroundings revealed a thriving and bustling neighborhood full of life in the heart of the city. Children surrounded us, watching intently as we sketched their homes and as we showed them snapshots of their own shy faces on our cameras. I will never forget this class for it allowed an intimate peek into Cambodian daily life and the beauty of the culture's resilience in a way that I had not experienced in three years.
I also loved my experience with Backstreet Academy's painting course, which I took in January. The course took place on a very comfortable balcony with a lovely view of the city. The course was very well organized and every detail was thought out beforehand. Organizer Jamon is very clearly committed to facilitating a great experience for both the participants and the instructors. I selected from a number of sample paintings in the instructors' portfolio. I chose an optical illusion: colorful flowers that were also shaped like fish. At first I was unsure if I would actually be able to paint something so intricate and beautiful. However, the two instructors were incredibly sweet, talented, and helpful. They made the task seem easy and helped me through every step until my painting looked almost as gorgeous as the sample! I bonded with the young female instructor, who was a student at the Royal University of Fine Arts. I was astounded by her skill and comforted by her sweet nature, which put me at ease with a task which I was inexperienced in. I love that Backstreet Academy affords an opportunity to directly support and connect with local artisans, especially young students. I didn't feel as if I left with just a beautiful new painting which I was proud of, but also with a new friend.
Whether you are a traveller, expat, or local, I could not more highly recommend Backstreet Academy courses for a fun, affordable, informative, and unforgettable experience!
Sibutz Daeggs Cambodia 30 Aug, 2017
We are a family with two children, 5 and 7 years old. We went for a water painting class yesterday. Unfortunately we cannot remember the names of the two guys (one was teaching and the other one did the translation) who were running the class. It was a great experience. It was well organised with pick-up at the hotel and bringing us to a place, hidden in a side road, on a beautiful rooftop.
We all loved the drawing and it was exactly the kind of cultural experience we were looking for. They had skills in what they are doing, but they do not have a teacher diploma. Overall they provided exactly what is written on the company's homepage and the idea is just great. So, if you want to support local people and do something meaningful - don't hesitate, just go for it...!
Anne-Claire Boitel France 2 Jul, 2015
Je suis ravie de ce 1er cours de peinture, j'apprÃ©hendais un peu mais Ã§a a Ã©tÃ© parfait. Le professeur a Ã©tÃ© trÃ¨s patient, pÃ©dagogue et passionnÃ©. Un vÃ©ritable artiste qui sait transmettre son talent. Et tout cela dans la bonne humeur, avec en toile de fond une belle musique cambodgienne. Thank you very much !