I am an art major.
I could rave for hours about why this was the biggest mistake of my life- but I’d rather not. I will say that one thing that I’ve struggled against is that my definition of “art” and my school’s definition of “art” vary greatly. I’m currently in a class about art theory- and in it, my teacher repeatedly comments on how there is “bad” art and lists the example of “Your little brother’s drawings on the refrigerator are bad art” (paraphrased).
I disagree with this. Vehemently.
I will not say it’s high art or fine art or amazingly skilled or a masterpiece. It’s not. But there’s very little art that I’m willing to call “bad”. (unless it’s mine, of course!)
My baby is not yet big enough to create art. But I really cannot imagine looking at something and calling it “bad” unless they’re actively trying to become a professional artist- and then I’ll say what is bad (composition/color/anatomy/perspective/etc).
I find the earliest art kids make to be just amazing. A lot of kids start drawing before they can form complete sentences. If anything- this is creation in its purest form. These kids rarely know about art theory, they’ve never studied perspective or anatomy or color. While they’ve likely seen art- who hasn’t?- they may have never seen a masterpiece. They don’t expect their art to wind up in a museum.
The first picture a child makes is just amazing. I’m constantly fascinated watching this child grow and develop. My baby’s starting to get better at grabbing and holding things (which just means that more ends up in their mouth!), is starting to be able to sit up unassisted. But they’re still a long, long way off from being able to have the motor skills to hold a crayon, put it to paper, and move it around with the intention of putting together some sort of drawing. Then they’ll still be a long way off from being able to get full motor control. I get to watch that journey.
Kids use art to work through ideas and emotions the same way adults do. Kids use art to deal with divorce, loss of a loved one, major changes in their lives, abuse, joy, everything that adult artists use art to deal with.
It may not be highly skilled or perfect or belong in a museum, but the art kids make is utterly amazing to me.