.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, May 02, 2011

Creating Little Artists

Now there was this auction a few weeks ago, back home, before the wild rampage of the tornado, in a place and with people I hold dear. The auction was to benefit a charity work in Honduras. And it is very common at this auction to put up any skill, or any thing, really. A talent or an idea that can be auctioned off, and you can place a bid...all proceeds help to support another idea, where some of these folks go and build houses for the impoverished people of Honduras. And that's one of the loveliest things about this community, each brings to it, something...whether a skill, or an idea, a service, whatever, and nothing is despised. And the things you think are worth something maybe aren't so much, while the things that are little or subtle, they can be worth much more. You never know. All are included. And things can be flipped in a cyclone of worth, letting us know, perhaps, what's really important.

Well, I'm away from this auction hall that takes place every year, and I couldn't help but think that I had a small army of Korean children at my command. So maybe I first thought up the idea as a sort of joke. Well, at least a cute thought. But I offered my auction far across the distant seas, in the form of a bunch of scintillating artwork from a mass of Korean kindergarteners, that the winner of the bid could hang on their fridge, better yet, entirely cover their fridge, and even submerge their whole kitchen in crayon creations from an elementary school in South Korea.

I really didn't expect much. But then I got wind that the winner of the bid was one of the wealthier people of the community, a personality that from all appearances, a practical minded individual, not big on the messy doodlings of children. But he won the bid, and now, all these works were to go to him, and I had no idea how much the bid was for. It worried me. For what I thought would only draw a few dollars and some cute laughter. Now I wasn't so sure.

Ontop of that, I had another difficulty. For Asian children are very big on imitation. They like to copy and duplicate. And they are spectacularly talented in that area. Some of them have supreme artistic craftmanship. But if I just told them to draw anything, whatever they felt. Maybe one or two would be innovators, the rest would follow suit and I would have 50 drawings of a house with maybe Pokemon beside a tree. I didn't want that. I had to orchestrate diversity. Which is a funny sentence to write, much less do. I've already done what I could in encouraging originality. But its something that I've noticed that I'll hit walls with. So I needed a plan.

There is this game that I've played with some of my classes. Its made up of these cards. Half of them have written on them names of nouns like "A Happy Clown" or "The Big Dinosaur". And the other half of them have verbs and another noun. Like "Wears a Funny Hat" or "Likes to Eat Flowers." Now, typically, for you grammarians, the Subject cards had the appropriate match in the Direct Object cards. For instance..."The Pig" matches "Plays in the Mud". Or "His Grandpa" goes with "Drives an Old Car." But I never played this game with them correctly. I always wanted them to think outside the box. I'd switch it up. Makes things a bit fun. Why can't The Pig Drive an Old Car? And why can't His Grandpa Play in the Mud. I've had kids put their foot down and try to argue with me that these are incorrect and did not fit. But I'd stand my position, that in the world of imagination anything was possible. And because they are still children, it wouldn't take them long before they caught on and learned to dwell inside a world were such things happened. They began to make up wacky sentences too.

So with this art project, I passed out these cards that were all mixed up. And told them to draw whatever sentence they got. To give their work a lift from just an ordinary picture that they all had to draw, and definitely to make all their drawings different. So what was produced was a diverse set of highly surreal drawings or paintings of big dinosaurs playing soccer, mothers eating flowers, frogs wearing dresses, fat hippos shopping at the grocery store, babies driving old cars, happy clowns with 8 legs, Grandpas with very big teeth and so forth. And now, I just mailed them all off today. And somehow, I think they may rival Pollock or any other modern or postmodern artist. You could probably put the works up in a Museum and convince the masses that Picasso did them on his death bed and was his statement of his return to childhood.


Blogger Helen said...

LOVE this idea! A visual "mad libs"! Such a creative way of giving them some direction so they didn't feel they had to copy each other, while at the same time exercising their imaginations! I REALLY want one of the drawings...I may need to beg for one from said upstanding member of the community.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also loved this idea, of course you've always had great ideas when it came to art. If you don't have pictures of them, maybe the guy that receives them could take pictures so we could all see them.

Start using that new camera right away so we can start experiencing some of your sights.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

Thanks, guys. And Helen you could probably steal a few without it being a big heist. I sent them to DF and I sent a great deal more than I had promised. So there a bunch of drawings. Though, I lament the fact that the drawings are on plain white paper.

9:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home