Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Art World and Childrens World, Never the Two Shall Meet


Why is it that as an artist revealing that you have kids makes one seem unprofessional? As though the world of motherhood should be kept a secret from the world of art. Kids just aren't cool in the art world. Do I believe this?

I recall having to go show my art to the owner of a upscale bistro, with my 18 month old son in tow. This was NOT intentional. The person who was supposed to be watching him for me had gotten sick for the zillionth time and I was stuck. Would it matter? Phineas sat in his stroller, happily turning a string cheese stick into goo while I showed this rather serious young entrepreneur my portfolio. He kept glancing at Phin, expressionless. He seemed nervous. Who could blame him- after all you never know when an 18 month old child will suddenly free themselves from stroller restraints and launch themselves at your neck like the Monty Python Rabbit. He had supposedly seen all this artwork before on my web site and said he was interested. About half way through the portfolio he came to my portrait of Jim Hensen as St.Francis blessing the muppet animals. He balked. He didn't even know who Jim Henson and the muppets were. He didn't get it at all. Suffice to say I didn't get the show.

Most museums these days have a childrens area but one rarely sees kids in the adult areas. While I love having a space for the children to get their hands in the art, I wonder if we aren't working against ourselves. Traveling to Europe I was amazed at seeing children in galleries and museums. The mom or dad would be leaning down and explaining things or asking questions. The children seemed, amazingly, well behaved and interested. How wise to raise them to appreciate art! Not only by giving them bits of fabric and beads to glue on a cardboard crown or whatever the craft of the day but by treating their eyes to amazing artwork.

When I try to bring kids into galleries in the city most proprietors think me mad. But they should not be surprised when so few adults value and want to buy original art.

Sorry- I wanted to post St.Henson for y'all kind readers but I don't seem to have a digital image of it! Still have the painting though so I'll post it tomorrow when the light is better for a quick shot. Meanwhile here is a sketchbook page- the Rhino of Change, for Sarah Soward , the Rhino girl who comes with me to the zoo but only really wants to draw the rhinos.

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