I don’t come from a long line of artists. My Grandparents both worked in public service and agriculture, who are hardly the type of people you might expect to inspire creativity. Yet, I consider myself pretty creative – I’m no best-selling artist but I frequently paint, I write creatively and carefully consider interior design elements of my home. I’ve often wondered where this creative streak comes from.
In my mind I have an image of an amazing, huge and violently coloured painting at my Grandparent’s house that I often stared at as a child. Visiting recently, it struck me that this painting did not engulf the entire wall and is maybe more pastel tone than bright reds and yellows. But the interesting thing is that as a child my imagination had developed this painting into a world of its own.
We all know that young people have very active imaginations, and that our early lives are so important for our future development. Fostering creativity in our children must therefore be pretty important. Just as we might read stories from great authors to our children at bedtime, pass them down books we loved as children ourselves, or even play music we love to them, so should we surround them with incredible, inspiring and diverse art work.
A Space for Adventure
For me, the painting I described above led me to countless imagined adventures all from the rather cosy environment of my grandfather’s study, but I remember learning lots from other art work too. A small portrait of a particularly sour looking woman used to be hung in my parent’s attic, which must have been one of the first objects I encountered which really installed fear in me. Now I’m not saying that this is necessarily an emotion you want your kids to feel, but it proves to me that art inspires a particularly strong emotional response in young people.
Even if you’d rather your children study academically rather than become an artist, a writer, or a musician, it’s still important to understand that creative thinking is an essential skill that young people must develop in life.
Early visits to popular national art galleries when I was a little older filled my creative spirit and showed me graphic representations of love, beauty, war and tragedy that would be impossible to convey in books or through school. Many of us probably even get our first glimpses of the naked human form from painting and sculpture on public display – important images in defining identity and understanding of our own bodies as young people, and usually very different from portrayals we are exposed to in the media as we grow up.
Even though it’s at galleries that our children are going to be exposed to great masters and contemporary genius, it’s those unique little pieces that we keep in our homes that will stick in their mind after being seen day after day as they grow.