Archive for December 29th, 2009

Kid Stuff

My sister asked me to frame this for  my nephew, Jeremy,  for Christmas.  It’s a self-portrait done by his longtime friend and now fiancee, Eliza, when she was 9 years old, which means it was done two years ago.  Just kidding.  It was a couple of decades back.

I just love this piece.  There is just something there, like a lot of kid’s art that I’ve been fortunate to see, that has a real sense of rightness.  There is an innocence in its expression and feeling with an innate and natural sophistication that goes beyond the nine years of experience Eliza had at the time.  By that, I mean that she is expressing things with this little painting in a natural way that older, much more experienced painters struggle to find in their own work, even with all their years of acquired knowledge and technical sophistication.

I think therein lies the beauty of folk art and kid’s art’s place in it: True self expression with what you know and how you view things without trying to represent the work or yourself as more sophisticated than you really are.  When the feeling behind the work is genuine, the level of sophistication becomes secondary.  I think we’ve all seen paintings done by highly skilled artists that are skillfully rendered but raise no feeling within us, seemingly devoid of emotion.  It’s like they are so concerned with technique that they lose the emotion of what they’re trying to portray, whereas kid’s art often is so much about being able to freely express themselves that the feeling is carried through the process and actually enhanced with each unsteady stroke of paint.

I’m sure many of you out there see a steady stream of kid’s work and brush off a lot of it.  Take an extra moment and look a little deeper and you’ll see some wonderful things from these little beings.  Fresh eyes…

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