“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” Twyla Tharp
I was going to start out this blog on a whole other track and then got a call from my 11 year old grandson about art, of all things. So, I am going to shift a bit.
Distance is a factor with our children and family; one is in the Midwest and the other on the West Coast. It was also a factor when I was a young mom living far away from my parents and siblings. Communications, then, were via snail mail or long distance phone calls, the latter of which were short because it cost money. Now we have instantaneous communications via email, FaceTime, etc. Believe me, if you never have had the prior experience, today’s technology is an amazing gift when distance makes seeing your loved ones regularly a challenge.
Which brings me back to my grandson and art. When visiting, I have usually done an art project of some sort with my two grandchildren. The youngest still seems more naturally drawn to the creative process, whereas the eldest has really developed his interests through involvement in sports, which suits his gregarious spirit. His family has only recently moved from the East Coast to the Midwest. The last couple of months have been an adjustment for everyone, but especially for him as a preadolescent, going into a new school, mid-year, with no friends
His call last evening was pretty cool. For one, he instigated the call and, two, it was to tell me that he’d sent me some emails with drawings he’d made using the Sketches App on his school iPad. I promptly opened the attachments and we chatted about what he was doing. He’s recently been creating mandalas, but last night he was playing around with the idea of camouflage. His dad served in the army which may have inspired these drawings. But, at the risk of reading too much into it, it may also reflect a subconscious search for clarity and/or control during this transition time.
I firmly believe that creating art is a “noodling” exercise. Our processes include a tremendous amount of time thinking through and trying out an idea/concept and the manner in which to effectively present it. And, even with that, it’s the gist that we’re putting out there – a looking sideways, if you will, that we hope reveals some aspect of truth or understanding of our world, whether outer or inner.
My grandson now has an album folder on my iPad for whatever drawings he shares with me, and I am looking forward to our conversations. It’s not just having a common interest with him that excites me, however. I am hopeful that his new-found exploration is something that will help him feel more in control, safe, and make sense of his emotions in this place and time, even if just to himself, especially to himself.. It’s what art/Art does; we all need that, no matter our age.
Thanks for reading!