Where does creativity, or talent for art, come from?
I can’t say that I have much insight, to be honest. While I fancy myself a sort of writer, and I enjoy taking photos and think I’m OK at it, I’m otherwise not artistically gifted. I have not acted since my sophomore year of college, I play and can read only two notes (bass clef top G and A, and that’s my repertoire, baby), and, beyond a limited talent for designing publications, I can’t visually produce any original artwork at all. This white man can’t jump and also can’t draw.
Yet, there is some art talent in the gene pool. My kids each played some musical instrument in school, and my oldest daughter has done quite a lot of interesting visual things.
My personal art history is a bit more embarrassing. I recall once in 8th grade art class that we painted, and I, having no talent, attempted for unknown reasons to render an image of a giraffe. It looked terrible, like some talentless 6-year-old’s attempt. It didn’t help that some of the cute girls in that class teased me about it, with 13-year-old subtly, art class lines like, “I don’t know what to paint. Joe, what do you think … a giraffe?” Titter titter.
If I had magic powers, I would have melted myself away in 8th grade art class—but it’s a good thing none of us have such magic powers at age 13 or most of us would not have seen 14.
Anyway, there was art going on today at my house. Miss Nikayla Sebers and Master Tristan Sebers were having grandparent day today. Audrey took Nikayla to dance class in the morning, and I took Mr. T on a bike ride. We met before noon, packed a picnic lunch, and then walked through “the deep dark woods” on a bike/hike trail next to a nice city park in Marion. After park play and then a quiet interlude at our house (they watched “The Gruffalo,” the walk in the woods must have been inspiring) it was art time.
Audrey had purchased an inexpensive “paint on rocks” kit, so that is what they did. There were no inhibitions and no teen angst about what they created, which is how it should be. In the end, all their rocks looked like they were blobbed with brown or deep purple—colors that are a result of simply swishing around other random paint colors.
But, they were creating, and they were proud. Nikayla held up a rock with a dark blobby paint surface (not that different from the dark rock surface it had started with) and proudly commanded—“take a picture of my rock, grandpa.” So, I did.
I do think Nikayla might have some artistic talent. She used window markers recently to illustrate on our sliding glass deck door what is recognizably a cat. On a paper, she drew a circle with a curly mane and glasses for Audrey—and everyone in the family who has seen it recognizes who the messy-maned visage represents. As Nikayla said when she ceremoniously and formally presented the picture to her grandmother—“here, grandma, I drew your husband for you.”
Well, I’m flattered. An image of me is in the family art collection on the fridge. And I look a lot better than a giraffe.