The latest installment in my series of interviews with parent-friends who happen to be artists (or artist-friends who happen to be parents?) Do their kids benefit from having an artist for a parent? Why or why not?
This from my friend Chris who’s a sculptor and stay-at-home dad in California:
I have two young kids ages 4 and 2. I am also not a young father. I had my first child at 38. So, I think theres a certain maturity to being that age as an artist with young children. So as an artist, I think I try to have some consistency while allowing constant chaos, madness and creativity – just like my own practice
Chris mentioned to me that he often has his kids in his studio with him:
My daughter plays in the studio with her chalks and also makes little installations of acorns, woods, and pine cones -whatever she can find lying around. She inspired my latest work of coloring wood with graphite. She had one day started coloring a wood piece with her chalk and I asked her what she was doing. She said “I’m making art.” And sure enough I had a pencil in my hand doing the same thing.
I really love that idea, and have tried it (with mixed results…) I would love to have my kids in the studio, making their own work, but O. in particular is sometimes hesitant to draw. And Chris writes:
My son tried very hard to draw everything, but got frustrated. I would draw a figure with ease and he couldn’t help but be frustrated watching me. I had to step back and be somewhat careful not to hamper his desire to draw. And so I encourage him to continue to draw. It has taken him awhile til he is able to draw without restriction and frustration. He enjoys it and can sit down and concentrate on it.
I think that’s what’s going on with my son, too! The activities at Free First Saturdays have been great for O — they’re facilitated by someone else (not me) and they’re something new & different than what he’d do at home — good encouragement for him to try something new.