Parenting an Artist

Screen Shot 2012 10 31 at 10 32 51 PM

I have heard a lot of people tell me that they were born without an artistic gene in their body, and that they don’t have any artistic skill. But I don’t really believe it.

I believe everyone is born with a desire and the natural ability to create and express themselves artistically. It’s what happens once you start making the art that determines whether or not you’ll continue as an artist.

Children take to art naturally. They create architecture with wooden blocks, sculptures with Play-Dough, and wonderful works of expression with paint, crayons, sticks, mud, legos, and any other medium they can get their hands on and use. They even create art with their food at the dinner table! Children are born artists.

As we grow, we create art, and it is either encouraged or deterred.

The encouraged become the artists of the world. They see what others miss. They create expressive works. They add value.

The deterred are still artists, but just need an awakening. They need a little encouragement, an opportunity, a gentle nudge. Some of the deterred rediscover their artistic talents later in life. They paint the picture, write the novel, bake the cake. Sadly, many others never find it. They cling to the fallacy that they just weren’t born with that special gene.

I am fortunate that my parents encouraged me.

Here’s how my parents helped unleash the artist within me.

My parents:

  • encouraged creative play focused on imagination and pretending.
  • read me books.
  • encouraged me to tell stories.
  • hung my art on the fridge and praised it.
  • involved me with cooking and preparation of meals.
  • filled our home with books. So many wonderful books!
  • took me to unique experiences like fairs, circuses, and concerts.
  • had instruments in the home. (I remember harmonicas, guitars, a piano, and so much more.)
  • kept paper, pens, and crayons within easy reach.
  • spoke well and with fascination of writers, painters, and performers.
  • asked me to make them gifts. (I made birthday cards and Christmas gifts.)
  • listened.
  • played with me.
  • gave me books or lessons on areas I showed an interest.
  • kept encouraging me even after I was a grown adult. (My mom still does. She’s my biggest fan.)
  • listend to music with me.
  • asked questions about my art.
  • bought me my first art supplies
  • bragged on me to others in my presence.

Parenting an artist sounds much like just good parenting, while never ceasing to make opportunities to invite artistic moments in to the life of the child.

Taking time to draw with a child is the artistic equivalent to playing catch in the front yard. A book of paintings becomes the box of baseball cards, and a trip to the museum the seats behind home plate.

If your child expresses the slightest inclination for the arts, seize every opportunity to encourage it, especially if it’s not something you know a lot about. What a wonderful opportunity to explore someplace new with your child.

I am so happy my parents took an interest in my art. It has made all the difference.

A ream of paper, a Sharpie Fine Point, and some music, and I become all that I ever dreamed of as a child.

Parent an artist.

Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.

He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation

with his art and words. 

Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.