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Art is open-ended. What is beautiful or meaningful to one person makes no sense to another. Personally, I love Raja Ravi Verma. My next best would be the impressionists. I love them all, I love the concept, I love the play of colors, I love the way the artist looks at light and dark. Recently I have been introduced to pointillism and all I can say is WOW, what a vision. This is in the late 1880?! I consider this some kind of rudimentary vision which later got extrapolated to the pixel concept now used in TV monitors.

Modern/abstract art, I simply don’t understand. I have always thought, a child could make it, what is the big deal. But one of my classmates, with a masters degree in art, explained to me that it is the process, not the product. During break time, we were discussing Jackson Pollack’s abstract expressions in particular and I said, “Jack the dripper??? Come on, my three year old can do it. I can do it. Drip, spit and roll in paint. Hah!” and my classmate said, “But did you do it? Did you have the guts to exhibit your three year old’s painting? A painting is an expression of a thought or the artist’s perception/reaction to a mental image. Pollack captured it in a way that no one had done before. He deserves credit because he was the first to think about that particular expression and had the guts to back it up.” Post that conversation my attitude to modernism and abstract expression has changed from condescension to respectfully saying, ‘two thumbs up, but not my style’. Jeez, I don’t want the enormous responsibility of looking in to some one’s mind. I am not quite ready.

But modern art does have its merits, purely from my POV. I have found from experience that children are likely to be less intimidated by modern art. They find some sort of kinship with the artist. May be it gives them the same, ‘hey, I can do this’ confidence?! May be because before six years of age children are still pure and process oriented?! I was blown away once when Chula (she was 4-ish I think) drew the drawing below and explained to me, ‘This is you amma and this is you dancing. The dancing you is moving, just like the picture lines in my class room is moving.’ The picture in her classroom she was referring to is a Kandinsky.

Amma and Amma Dancing By Chula, Mar2009 kandinsky composition VIII

So what is art for a young child? It is nature, it is communication. It is a basic instinct.

Part 3, if art is nature, then why aren’t we all artists? Click here.

All posts from this series.

[tags]what is my art, preschooler art, child art, art product vs art process, is art nature or nurture, raja ravi verma, pontillism, impressionism, kandinsky, pollack, abstract expressions, what is modern art, do young children prefer modern art[/tags]

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