Can you be an artist like your kid?

Turning scraps into artistic things becomes second nature when you’ve got kids, especially very little ones you are around a lot. This is an idea developed from Nicola Baird’s book Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children.

Toilet roll middles become building blocks for towers, or race cars, or even ball runs. The kitchen cupboard is an Eden of toys with saucepans and wooden spoons making the best noises. A bit of foam becomes a doll’s bed. A stick is soon a sword or gun. Standing up can turn you into a cosmonaut, the sofa is a space ship. Step down on to the carpet and you’re suddenly a deep sea free diver whisking past sharks and clown fish. For a child it’s as easy to be a yeti as a mountain goat as a fashionable witch – especially with a flexi dressing up box.

To paraphrase Picasso – “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once you’re grown up.”

Getting older seems to coincide with creativity slithering away for loads of us. I read in the new a few days ago  that the best way of being creative – essential for anyone in the arts industry – is to act as much like a child as possible. Suggestions include dawdling, dragging your feet, getting lost in an activity and being spontaneous (no one is watching, ok?).

Pop art attack
Which is why I’ve got a suggestion for the huge display hall at Bankside which will resonate with anyone who ever does the washing, hangs it up outside and actually finds themselves happily pegging it up just to watch the sheets blow. Sling a higher than normal washing line back and forth across the hall then cover it with an assortment of outsized linen, add some kind of through draught (snorts of disbelief perhaps?) and let the crowds wander playfully remembering the time the washing was nothing to do with them, slung high up, far out of reach and so untalked about as to be taboo. If Grayson Perry can take his bear, Alan Measles, out for art trips then why can’t my domestic duties be turned into a pop version of high art?

What masterpieces have your kids inspired?

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2 Comments on “Can you be an artist like your kid?”

  1. June Whittle Says:

    Fantastic – thanks. Book looks fabulous. I’ve posted a link on FB page: Parents Keep Calm and Carry On!!!

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