An artist, an 18 month old, a sketch book, and a stack of crayons. I was acting as a nanny to my roommates kiddo a few months back, and as an artist myself I liked to encourage him to take crayons to paper and go nuts.
We ended up doing a hybrid form of collaborative work. I would sketch a line, he would scribble, only stopping to choose a new color and pointing to where he wanted me to place my next set of lines. It was an exercise in showing him, how and where to color, but it became a freeing experience for me. (As in not on the walls!)
As artists we lose a certain amount of boundless artistic freedom the more we attend any sort of formal training. You always have a teacher or peer telling you how “that doesn’t work”, or “that is not atomically correct”, or my favorite “you have to learn the RULES before you can break the rules and be artistic.”
WE ARE MAKING ART, not doing brain surgery. There isn’t supposed to be a “wrong” in artistic expression, it is a way of letting emotion and feeling leak from your soul into the world. Going through formal training I spent a lot of time learning rules and concepts, and they have made me a better designer, a better painter, a better marketer, but not a better artist. Art School did more to teach me to lock away my creative urges in a cage of technical rules.
Sketching with a 18 month old, unlocked all that bullshit. It helped me free up my talent, and then let that talent flow through the techniques and tools, to become something awesome. Our combined doodles led me to do this sketch, which I later applied to canvass.
The MOAR! Monster. pretty simple idea, just a monster I might have sketched in 4th grade, on the corner of a math homework assignment. Going to an art school is a good idea, and experience, it is the teaching that needs to change.
Jay, one of the best and most influential artists and teachers I encountered while attending formal classes, He had this rule. if you ever had to defend or come up with a reason for something in your art, just blame aliens.
“Why is this guy floating? That isn’t physically possible and so it is just bad execution of this assignment…” ..because it matter what the subject of the SHADING assignment is doing when the assignment was to shade a scene of the artist’s choosing. My physics professor, liked a lot of the odder sketches I did, because I kept a good concept of the PHYSICAL world in mind when I create Science Fiction and Fantasy Art.
When the physics teacher says “yeah if we could float it would look like that…” the art teacher who didn’t take advanced science or math classes can STFU. Anyway Jay’s rule: aliens, the dude can float cause of aliens. Here is a teacher that attempted to unlock all those rules and let students do whatever. However Jay was the One good teacher, we need more like him.
I am not alone in having creativity stifled by formal education. Not because we are incapable of executing the given assignment to the fullest ability of the techniques taught; but because the professor, personally, would have chosen a different subject matter. It would be like me teaching a class on color theory and telling a student her execution was bad because I, personal, don’t ever choose to paint puppy-dogs and sunshine. Then turning to another student and telling her she did a good job because she painted Zero Suit Samus killing a metriod. The Subject matter of the painting has NO impact on the use of COLOR!
On the subject of color… here is the finished painting:
The entire project was very freeing, and inspired me to continue with a series of “my little monsters” trying to capture that cute and simple style kids sketch. Everything I learned in 4 plus years of different art classes, and it takes an 18 month old to show me how to grow as an artist and painter.
Yeah education in America might be broken.
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–MOAR! Monster is an original, 10.5 x 14 acrylic painting on canvass, numbered and signed.
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