A Child’s Eyes:
Inspiration for Creativity


Picasso declared, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Children have active and boundless imaginations and are a wonderful source of inspiration for artists. The other day, I was demonstrating leaf rubbings on paper to my four year old son. He grabbed his own piece of paper and announced, “Look mommy, you could do it like this too!” He proceeded to create a technicolor crayon painting of a birch leaf that filled up every corner of the white page. I will never understand why anyone would tell a child to colour ‘inside the lines.’

THEY QUESTION EVERYTHING
Between the ages of three and six, any parent will confess that they hear the question, ‘WHY?’ a hundred times a day. These questions can be humbling (as we quickly google the correct answer to why the sky is blue) but also open our eyes again to the problems and mysteries we face everyday but have long ago chosen to dismiss or accept.

Steve Jobs famously stated in a PBS documentary, “When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much.” Until we as parents or the educational system teach our children to conform to the rules and expectations of society, they are honest and creative geniuses. A Newsweek story published in 2010 by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, ‘The Creativity Crisis’ concludes, “Preschool kids ask their parents an average of 100 questions a day. By middle school, they’ve basically stopped asking questions and their motivation and engagement plummets.” In school children are rewarded for answers, not questions. Emphasis is placed on memorization as opposed to creative problem solving. Sometimes, HOW we learn is more important than WHAT we learn.

As artists, when our focus from the creative process is diverted towards placing emphasis on the final product, we lose our connection with our art and the truth. Never stop asking questions.

THEY MAKE FANCIFUL CONCLUSIONS
While gazing at my swollen belly, my son offered up his own theory on how his soon-to-be new baby brother will enter into this world.

“I think my brother will crawl from your tummy and crawl out of your mouth when he is ready to come out.”

His conclusion made perfect sense when you consider that the mouth is the largest visible opening in my body. This reminded me of the time my daughter announced that when she grew up, she was going to marry the neighbourhood stray cat. This thought may have not been as logical as the baby climbing out of my mouth; however, to her, it was equally plausible.

In his book, ‘The Language and Thoughts of a Child’, Jean Piaget acknowledges, “Children’s assumptions deal with a reality which is far more fluctuating than ours, one which is perpetually shifting its level from the plane of observation to that of play and vice versa. In this respect, reality is for the child more arbitrary, because nothing is impossible and nothing obeys casual laws . But whatever may happen, it can always be accounted for, for behind the most fantastic events which he believes in, the child will always discover motives which are sufficient to justify them.”

In ART everything remains possible.

The easiest way to view the world through a child’s eyes is to engage as a child and learn how to play again. Children don’t care about how other people perceive them when in the middle of imaginative play and neither should we! Reason-less, conform-less and lose a little self control.

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