As an artist, my creations may not be something you see everyday. I like to incorporate humor, death, birth, the unexpected, whimsy, nature, critters, into the things I create. I like weird and mysterious. I think my son is starting to pick up on that; he is one week shy of his 4th birthday, and developing an eye for the strange.
For example, I have a Dia de los Muertos piece where I shaped and painted skeletal dinosaurs. He digs them, "I rweally like your trisohatops mommy, they're rweally good dinosohs!" Most recently, I placed one of my creations front and center on our car dashboard for him to discover on our way to his swim lesson. I jokingly told my mom (the original lover of morbid art) I might be scarring the little guy with my work. In the meantime, I wondered how he would react to this macabre little hitchhiker:
His first reaction was, "Mommy, what is that?" Said in the tone of, what the hell is that thing? Fifteen minutes down the road he was trying to get me to agree that he should have him. "I like that spidohr's face, mommy. He's funny." He promptly named him Skele-Spider by the way, but he apparently goes by Spider Bones too.
Jeffery quickly adopted Skele-Spider and insisted that his new friend wanted to learn how to play his video game and wished to be added to his bed with his stuffed animals... "Mommy, I prawmise 'kay? I heard you, he's not a toy, I will be carefoh mommy, pleeeeease." I agreed that Skele-Spider would probably love to learn how to play MarioKart but I didn't think he should be with his toys. After much negotiating, Jeffery agreed to show him the games then return Skele-Spider to the car to go on trips with us instead.
For a child who is terrified of all things Halloween, he always has something nice to say about my art. Sometimes he’s wanted to play with some of my materials. I wish he could hang out with me more while I'm working on garage pieces, but currently it’s something that doesn’t really happen because,
1) I work with dangerous, sharp, and crusty metal objects
2) he's usually asleep anyway, and
3) there's just not a lot of room for him to do his own creative thing while I'm doing mine.
One of my sooner-than-later dreams is to create a better space in our garage that is safe, with more room, and more inviting for both of us to be out there together. I want him to witness a variety of creative outlets while freely developing his own...just like I was able to do when I was young.
Growing up, I watched my parents create a variety of wonderful work and joint projects. I was always encourged to create my own things and I always had plenty of space and materials to do so. I want to provide a similar experience for my little one...surrounded by skull beads, humanized bugs, and creepy creatures made of found junk, complete with skeleton spider friends.
If you want to be creative, cultivate that desire by surrounding yourself with all things creative. Things that stimulate your creative process like color, photos, idea journals, books, materials, good light, natural light, unique inspirations, other’s art. Not just in your studio or work space, go beyond and keep it a part of your daily routine. Like writers who write every day, your physical mantra must be to create every day. Work your creative muscle.
I also believe it’s important not to get caught up in creative habits or projects that no longer represent you. When a favorite medium or theme begins to leave you feeling uninspired, it’s time to switch it up! Honor this sign that you are creatively growing and evolving! Don’t freeze up or get bored—try stretching your creative spirit. Incorporate new concepts, new methods or materials or processes—I did this just last weekend and it was a creative shot in the arm for me (and a future post)! You never know when or where inspiration will hit you.
Whether you wish to foster creativity in your child or yourself, make sure you have the space and the materials you need to create. Keep a fresh approach by trying something new, and have fun with what you do create! Then inspire others by sharing your wonderful work…