Defining art from a child’s lens can be a mystery. Sometimes good art may seem bad and bad art, seem good. I realize from learning from my children that it all depends on how the art moves you. Take for instance 2 depiction of birds my children shared with me this week. One is a typical bird, in typical form my little boy was proud he colored. The other was a Thunderbird, in a motif of colors from red, the color of fire used for it’s head to blue, the color for protection used around it’s shoulder, it’s arm and it’s tail. Both depiction of birds from my children’s lens are as useful as they are good.
Naturally, I was drawn a bit more to the Thunderbird. I listened as my daughter explain about its power. I also did a bit of digging myself and found that one of the powerful images of Native American art is a Thunderbird. Powerful and sacred and in the likeness of a giant eagle, Thunderbirds not only shoot lightning with a flash of their eyes, but can also cause thunder with a beat of its wings, and blow wind with a rapid flight across the skies. All that in a bird. I was amazed.
But my son’s story of his bird, how it can spread it’s wings and fly up to the sky was just as moving as the Thunderbird. Both birds are useful. But it’s the feeling of accomplishment, feelings of pride in making their depiction of a bird that made smile. What I want to always do for my children is get them to this position where they will always do their best work, whether in the form or a simple typical bird or in the power of a Thunderbird. Part of the beauty is seeing art from children’s lens is this sense of joy, sense of pleasure in something they worked hard to put together. It’s from this point of view that I say, keep children’s art in mind whether as simple as a bird or as sacred and powerful as a Thunderbird.