Art?


In watching this video, found at Habit of Art, I am simultaneously overcome with emotion and completely horrified. Ha! It's a true testament to the fact that my brain is evenly divided between the left and the right, creative and analytical. As a right-brained creative, I find the freedom that this child has to be inspiring; the way she articulates whatever she's envisioned in her mind and speaking through motions and paint is enviable. She doesn't question herself, as least not verbally or through any sort of visible hesitation, and she seem to see every piece through to its completion. I wish that I not only had that kind of artistic perseverance (and those supplies in abundance), and I don't even consider myself a painter!

As a more pragmatic, left-brained thinker, I find it completely appalling that they're dedicating so many creative resources to a project like this. I mean, she just dumps a bottle of paint onto the canvas! Paint costs money! The access to the mediums she uses is finite, right? Furthermore, when Pollock did it, it became something. Is her work something? What is art, anyway! Aren't these just brightly colored splotches? Why isn't she in preschool? Oh, the horror!

Apparently the art world is abuzz about her pieces and her talent, and some of her work is featured in a Manhattan gallery. Her parents pose a really interesting question in this 60 Minutes piece from 2009 - if you gave the same resources to anyone, child or adult, could they create the same thing? Or something just as meaningful/artistic/valuable/moving? They are simply just letting their child answer the question herself. For me, it clearly establishes that there IS art. When I see something artistic (or crafty) in a store, on television or in someone's home and I covet it, I often find myself saying, "well, I could make that". And then I go home and I try...and more often than not, I fail. It's only when I make something borne out of my own imagination that failure is impossible...or that authenticity is achievable. If anything, Aelita is a spokesperson for that.

1 comment:

  1. The thing that is amazing about that lil'one is that she keeps at what she is doing. I think you could give any random group of preschoolers complete freedom with art supplies such as that and let them make a heinous mess and get the following outcome: 10% would not be interested much at all, 60% would make a picture or two then lose interest, 20% would be interested long enough to make several paintings over time, and the other 10% would maybe be interested enough in the process to do what this little girl is doing. Kids love to do shit like that. I think Elsie would be pretty into it, and if I let her have completely unrestricted access to paints, glue, and other stuff she would go to town for quite a while. I don't think though that many kids would have the tenacity to keep at it. The other thing is that some kids really don't like to get that messy - they dislike the tactile feeling of it. Elsie can't stand to be sticky, so she'd be constantly washing her hands if she was playing with paint like this.

    I think it's pretty interesting but not as much for the paintings themselves. It seems clear to me that, for the little girl, this is about the process and not the final product. It will be interesting to follow her as she gets older but I will be surprised if she is still painting as an adult.

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