I made this picture at work with a couple other awesome kids. Kids are so much fun to create with. They are open-minded, have really active imaginations, aren’t usually too opinionated and don’t get offended easily. If only adults were the same way. They aren’t, which is why I spend as much time as possible interacting with kids because kids know what they are doing. They know what life is all about, even if they aren’t aware of it.
I think you can tell from the picture but it started with a discarded picture that a kid drew and I got another piece of paper and lined it up and continued the drawing to the next page, and then a few other kids joined and we kept doing more and more drawings until at the end I taped it together and we had an awesome collab that was much bigger and cooler than anything the kids would have probably drawn on their own that day. And there were no spoken rules. You could draw anything, any size, color, whatever you could think of. You should have seen how much fun we had making this. We took pieces of paper and pencils and markers and created something that didn’t exist before. And we thoroughly enjoyed making it.
Someone I knew once said that she felt very strongly that kids shouldn’t just be allowed to do whatever they wanted in art class but that they should really learn the “fundamentals” of art like perspective, contrast, and a bunch of other boring things that I can’t think of right now. I think she was insane. And she was an awesome artist, hands down. Skillwise she could draw a lot of things way better than me. But teaching fundamentals to kids? That’s just wrong. Kids don’t care about that stuff and neither do I. That’s why I make a good art teacher. I tend to think that kids should use their imaginations as much as possible and follow their interests. Ever had someone else make decisions for you? It sucks! That’s easily the most frustrating aspect of being a kid. Not being able to follow your own desires and make your own choices. And then to add that to art.. Art is the safest place for children to be as creative as possible. If at some point they do decide they want to learn how to draw or take a painting class or something like that, then let them. They will get much more out of the class because they are ready for it and it was their initiative that led them there. Nobody needs art class. Kids don’t need it and adults don’t need it. I don’t need it. What we need is space. We need a space where it is safe and we are free to create. We need materials. And maybe a little guidance here and there. But mostly we need to do it as much as possible. As much as desired. If you want to learn a specific skill, sure learn from somebody, but who who needs art class? What we need is Art Space. Art is about creating what you want to. What never existed before. It’s about creating and creating and creating. Kids know this. One of the challenges of being an adult is trying to become as free as we used to be. It’s not easy and it makes a lot more sense to me to encourage it in kids rather than to squelch it and try to regain it later. Kids are supposed to be our teachers, we are supposed to learn from them. That’s why they are here. We’ve got it all backwards.