“Every child is an artist until he’s told he’s not an artist.” – John Lennon
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Imagine you’re a child again. You want to express your thoughts, but words just won’t do. So, you pick up your crayon and get to work.
To others it looks like a scribbles on the page. It looks like random lines scattered across a piece of paper.
For us, this is our masterpiece. It is the expression of our thoughts, our feelings, and our desires. It might not make sense to others who see it, but it makes sense to us.
As we grow older, people’s expectations change. They want to make sense of the madness. “Is that a person? Is it a dog? What is it?” Expectations grow. People want to label our work. They want to attach a name to what they’re seeing.
It’s only natural. People want to identify with our work. They want to recognize what’s in front of them.
There is a moment in every child’s life that splits us into two groups. Those who can and those who can’t. You can draw. You can’t. You should give it up. You should keep on drawing.
Why do we insist on doing this? Why must one child be considered an artist, a genius, a prodigy, while another is cast off to the side?
When we are children, we are free to play, to experiment, to fail. We approach life with a wonderful sense of curiosity.
We need to stop telling children they aren’t artists. Kids are impressionable. One off-hand comment can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life.
Instead of telling kids their art isn’t good, encourage them to study it more. Dive deeper into that innate curiosity.
There is a stigma surrounding the arts. “You can’t make money as an artist.” “Shouldn’t you choose a better paying job?” We continue to perpetuate this myth, and it has had an enormous affect of society.
How many Picassos have we stifled? How many J.K. Rowlings left their stories untold? How many Steven Spielbergs decided to become accountants instead of making visionary films?
After having deep conversations with dozens of people, with diverse backgrounds, I’ve come to realize one thing. Everyone is creative. The only person preventing us from being creative is ourselves.
Since childhood, we have let others dictate what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s time to break that cycle.
If a child decides on their own they don’t want to be an artist, that’s wonderful. Everyone is not destined to be an artist. But we should never stifle future generations from becoming the artists within themselves, screaming to come out. Let them take their own hero’s journey.
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