Art for the Non Artist…

I am NOT an artist, I cannot create a coherent piece of art, there I’ve said it.

What then is Artventures you may ask? – since I was a kid my relationship with my art teachers has been kind of strained to say the least. I could never produce a piece of art to their satisfaction and yet I loved everything art – the colours, textures, the process, the techniques, the satisfaction that comes with working with your hands.

So what happens to kids who can’t be artists but love art anyway? They become Marketers apparently (just kidding)…or parents who enjoy introducing their kids to process art. Yes there is a term (of course, what was I thinking) for folks that enjoy the process of art without the compulsion to create something worth auctioning – its called process art.

The husband and I became first time parents back in 2013. When the first born was about 20 months and had started going to a playschool for a few hours, he wasn’t talking yet, he would point out things on the road and ask for explanation. It took us a month and a half to figure out that he was pointing at logos on storefronts. By the time he was 2 years old he could recognize and name almost 60 brands if not more. Brand names were some of his first words. That was my insight into the natural pattern recognition that children inherently have. As he grew older he saw letters in dals, on his trucks, shapes in the bedspreads at home, numbers in threads on the floor and much more it was truly fascinating!

Our tryst with art however started much earlier, back when he was about 8 months old I would do quick visual boards with objects he could recognize from his books or daily experiences to get a reaction from him which ranged from intense excitement for vehicles to complete indifference to flowers etc.

Here is one such board I made for him that has already been drawn on many times over –

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Truth be told I had always wanted to explore art media so while I tried my hand at it engaging the child and spending time with him was a big Bonus. I was unprepared for how he enjoyed playing with his hands. Playdough, vegetable stamps, beetroot and turmeric painting, sensory play with kidney beans, black eyed peas etc. As he grew older playing with colours and dough helped calm his tantrums, soothe his excitement when he returned from a day of activity at school and also helped distract him when he was upset over something. So I did some research on the aspects of process art as an activity for kids and started this fascinating journey of working with materials and styles that kids love to create with in the Indian context.

Our adventures with process art also ensured that the kids’ screen time reduced significantly and they could go hours without any screen. Having worked with this for almost 3 years now I wanted to share some of our art(d)ventures via this blog. Over the years we have also moved to a more independent exploration mode of the process where the 4 year old can discover art at his own pace and mood. This was largely driven by creating art spaces that the boys could access themselves and add to.

I hope this blog will help other parents / non artists pick up process art as a hobby to find the joys of working and creating with your hands without a specific outcome in mind.

Happy Creating.

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