I got a call a few weeks back from the education coordinator down at the Helen Day Art Center asking if I’d be willing to come down and talk with some teenage students about my life as an artist. It’s a cool way for these kids to get some exposure to art outside of what (if any) they get at school, and a fun way for me to connect with some creative personalities. Anyway, I jumped at the chance to share some trials and tribulations and hopefully get these kids (even more) stoked on art.
When the students arrived we spent a few minutes shooting the breeze, getting past the awkward teenage introductions and bashfulness. Full disclosure: I’m a little jaded when it comes to teenagers these days. My expectation was that at least some of these kids were here against their will and were counting the minutes until they could pull out their phones and get back to whatever it is kids do constantly on their phones. Thankfully I was dead wrong.
I spent a few minutes sharing some of my work (including this timelapse), we talked outside-the-box thinking, and what it means to be an artist. At the conclusion of my talk we adjourned to the studio where the students got to work: some on new projects, some revisiting projects they had started in weeks prior. Right away I could tell these kids were eager to explore new media and to push their creative boundaries. They were not afraid to fail, they were not afraid of judgement or reproach from their peers. I’ll admit that I was actually jealous of the level of creativity I witnessed. (Despite mine or anyone else’s preconceived notions on artists and their muses, I’ve always struggled with creativity.) I listened as these young artists (ranging in age from 13 – 17) described Tolkien-esque universes they had created; I watched them delve into projects that tested their understanding of their chosen medium; and collectively we enjoyed a few minutes of library-level quiet as they got lost in their respective endeavors.
I left feeling pretty darn good. Their level of enthusiasm was infectious and made me really happy to call myself an artist. Above all, I was glad to know that the next generation has a lot of cool ideas just waiting to be unleashed…