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Child’s play inspiration – learning arts from children

by Oliver Geffken. Average Reading Time: about 4 minutes.

Children are artists per se: they’re architects, fashion designers, painters, musicians or linguistic artists. When they’re 2 years old they speak Dada. They simply start to take words out of the chaos whizzing around them that seem to be reasonable.

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And soon, they start to compose verses or try new word combinations. Children’s language has no communicative character – the language is only accompanying the behaviour of the children. A child is not speaking for itself, it’s not expressing itself. It is just talking to itself in a way as being someone else. This egocentric language PDF (Jean Piaget, Lew S. Wygotski) is lost with further language acquisition as the way the children thinks (and therefore it’s language) is adapting to the world of the adults.

Children don’t know anything about limits. This especial sense of infinity makes them artists.

Children intuitively start to rock gently when they’re listening to music and of course they like instruments. They sing songs they dreamt up or they stand in front of the radio rocki’n’rollin’ with a broomstick and a fixed glue-stick-microphone. They paint, draw, glue and cut wild picture creations while losing theirselfs in their dreams. They dress up just the way they want. They don’t care about any kind of conventions or temporary fashion. Some boys like nail polish or barrettes, other girls love short hair and baggy pants. They put grey gym pants over orange jeans and they wear shirts with pictures of their heroes and crown their creations with glitter scarves. Children want to wear princess‘ dresses or Darth Vader costumes. For children fashion is just an expression of a paticular moment. Intuitively a child is able to express a present mood. Children are also architects: they pile building bricks, they build (depending on their disposability) houses from cushions and plates or they build palaces in trees, hedges or small valleys. Children try to build barrages or clarification plants with self-made complex systems from wood and stone. Children don’t know anything about limits – and it’s this especial sense of infinity that makes them artists.

Trying to transact intuitively the things that touch emotionally.

Children go to the bottom of their play, they partition from adults‘ world and from the real world around them into a fantasy world, where they probe the most improbable combinations of play. They create their own world. This ability to elude enables children to look at the world from another point of view: to see the inconceivable, the inexplicable, and entering into the world of metaphysics. Playing contains philosophy: the essential ability to ask why, how and what something is. Children ask. And if they don’t get an answer they try – intuitively. Children make mistakes, excludes and researches. They are happy about every small single thing and detail. Children simply disregard the boarders of sanity and probability. Children are artists, who try to transact intuitively the things that touch them emotionally.

The inspirational source of a child comes from deep inside of it’s soul.

The inspirational source of a child comes from deep inside of it’s soul. These sources are fantasy and experience. While underlying no stress, no obligation or conventions, a child is able to separate itself and to generate an adult-free space. It learns to fly into an ideal world, a world where animals speak, where it meets fantasy-charaters and real-world people and where it speaks its own language. A child is not trying to express a picture of itself as it still has no completed self-perception. Within it’s arts a child simply expresses a mood: each picture, each song, each sand castle and each laughter is an image of the things that happen inside – an image of the pure original impulse to explore and understand the world and no therapeutic method. A child’s artwork is free of any valuation or tradition, it is something idiosyncratic, without relation and therefore it is absolutely pure. Those kind of artworks are a mirror of our original artist being.

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Picture from the Damaged Good Film by british artist Barnaby Barford.

If a child has to submit to a daily schedule, if it gets portioned play times, if it has to follow up appointments and if there’s no adult-free space (and very often it isn’t in our (so called) civilized world), a child will loose it’s ability to play artistically. It will loose it’s inner voice and will never again achieve this ability.

Everyone’s an artist

Every human being is an artist if one was able to maintain the inner voice, if one is up to clear out of expectations and conventions, if one is able to act intuitively – able to loose oneself, to dream, to play and to elude from the pressure nipping every inspiration in the bud. Art is an experiment and is a combination. Art is philosophy:

Art is asking why, what and how. Art is leaving boarders. Art is delimitation and the ability to go into the depths of oneself. Art is the joy to play.

Text: Inga Ganzer

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