Tuesday, June 09, 2015

cradle antaeus duquesne

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain 
an artist once he grows up.” 

How to screw up half the humans...
Explains a lot, eh?

Seems the theme today found itself-  humiliation.  It can drive you to be better or it can drive you further into your hole.  Back when I was teaching all over the place I came across huge numbers of women who had been humiliated as part of their growing up process.  Of course I am talking only about art here but it pretty much parallels every other subject too.  These women were told from an early stage that their work wasn't 'good enough' or they work is just like their crazy aunt's, or that they 'can't draw a straight line'.  It doesn't take many of these kind of statements to sink into the fiber of being and make a kid think her art is worthless.  A self-fulfilling prophecy-  why on earth would one continue doing something that is belittled?

My self appointed 'mission' when I was teaching was to make my students aware of what had happened to them-  some remembered specifically, some apparently got it from all sides, but it was my charge to 'fix' that ingrained attitude and give them a tiny bit of confidence that they COULD do it. And 'it' was whatever they wanted it to be. 

It doesn't take a very big shoe to crush a little growing plant.  
It is MY opinion that everybody is talented in some way.  Everybody sees the world differently and it's up to each of us to make that vision understood beyond ourselves. Of course it starts with pleasing only ourselves, not those voices from the past.

 Being an art teacher, I was confident that my own kids would grow up being able to express themselves any way they chose, but I got thrown a curve ball-  a kid with low self esteem, who just wouldn't do anything unless she could be 'the best' immediately.  No matter how much I praised her work or the amount of stuff on the walls celebrating her, she wouldn't hear me.  The other kid took off drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil and he just didn't care about praise or feedback or encouragement at all, he just kept drawing, and in the oddest way you could imagine.  Since I was so conscious of upsetting the natural way of things I held back on both of them and watched nature take it's course, though I hoped that whatever was going on in their world outside of my influence would blow over.  It never did. I still don't know where her art humiliation originated, but fortunately her talents burst forward in other areas.

In spite of me.

And ya know what?  I see the reverse in my 2 grandkids-  a young girl who is constantly observing and drawing, and a grandson who, at 5, is just beginning to let us in on his vast imagination.  The third one is a little young to tell yet, but it will be fun to watch him figure it out too.
And MY life lesson is that you can't ever direct anything.  Life happens, you simply go along.  But I know I helped initiate a breakthrough for quite a few women (never taught a man in any of my quilting classes, but occasionally had to deal with somebody's husband who would 'sit in' the class like a therapy dog!)  And that's a whole other story for another time.

I picked this for another Lego column but then discovered what else they do:

Artist Jason Freeny scoops out the insides of our favorite toys and characters, and sculpts their inner organs and skeletons. Having a sculpture professor as a father, the artist was exposed to the medium at a young age. Freeny was originally trained as an industrial designer, until he began creating this series of adorable abominations five years ago. He begins with the toy itself, and then takes it apart to study its structure and fill it with its skeleton. Freeny began using polymer clay to create the insides of each toy. Now, they are sculpted from epoxy and carved with a variety of miniature tools like pumpkin carving tools and those used in dentistry.

And while we are talking about playing with toys, we can also mention playing with food, eh?  Meet an ice cream sculptor~

Using disposable ice cream spoons, Japanese food artist Makoto Asano, carves funny faces into Häagen-Dazs ice cream cups. Asano's delightful creations, which he uploads to his Instagram account , are inspired by the multitude of interesting new flavors only available in Japan like mitarashi kurumi (sweet soy sauce and walnut) and kinako kuromitsu (soybean powder and sweet syrup). Speaking about his unusual carvings Asano says, “My hobby is making ice cream laugh,”


my croft said...

When I was teaching (creative writing) my philosophy was "First, take away the fear." It is amazing how crushed we can be (and remain) in these essential spheres. My Mom was told she couldn't draw a straight line and was stunned by the obvious -- very little in nature occurs in straight lines, it's not a useful skill for drawing -- when I mentioned it lo! all those decades later.


Max said...

Your intro to perspective was probably the first workshop I ever took back in the day . . . and indeed the most important things you taught me that day were that I could be creative, that failure was just an opportunity to look at a problem in a new way, and that while practice might not necessarily make perfect . . . it sure helps make it work.

I took that workshop more than 20 years ago and I live what you taught me that day and it sustains me when everything on a piece falls apart.