Evolution of young art

Written by Kim Harris

Many of you with school aged children in your lives may have been dumped a school bag full of half used schoolbooks and (mostly) marvellous artistic creations from the 2022 school year.

I’m guessing a few of you are still trying to figure out what to do with your brood’s artwork? Feels terrible chucking out but makes no sense to keep it all scrunched in a pile on the kitchen bench with electricity bill!

In this Edition of Home Projects, I am sharing a couple of DIY ideas to help you sort that growing pile, ease the guilt and make a sentimental statement piece for your home.

Use a large, sealed storage container to file/store each child’s art. Toss in desiccant packets that you would otherwise throw away from vitamin jars or flat pack purchases etc. Desiccant will help lower moisture levels to preserve creations. Write the year on back of each piece you want to keep. Periodically put in other special keepsakes for the kids to explore in adulthood.

A3 builders Plan Holders are a clever and affordable option for storing and displaying the art in a compact way. A3 plan display books are available from office suppliers and online for around $15 for 20 double sided pockets. Neutral in design and easy to store. A great little project for kids to do on holidays.

If your child really enjoys drawing or painting, you might like to create a feature wall to display the creations like I have. I spent around $120 on similar tone (dark wood) photo frames. $3.00 coloured paper to use as a backing when art didn’t fit frame fully. $8 wall hanging hook pack that includes a level to ensure your frames hang straight. $4 Blue Tack or double-sided tape to apply to bottom 2 corners of frame once have hung, will keep frames from moving around and becoming uneven. You could pick up less expensive frames at the second-hand shop.

*Together, pick your favourite art pieces, plan a basic layout, get talking about the school year, creating a memory, framing and hanging with your kids depending on their age and ability.

Bentley inspired me to create this Home Project. He appreciates many forms of art and enjoys sketching. His style has changed many times over the years and seeing the evolution in a physical form hanging on the wall is magic!

Bentley’s work was previously hiding in about 10 sketch books… it was an exciting process to free around 20 pieces that we selected together with much discussion. It was difficult to choose!

Bentley shares his thoughts on the process for Alive Readers:

“Looking back on progress is one of the satisfying parts of life. It’s motivational and shows us that – even though where we are now may not be as good as we wish, the progress and hard work that we have put in has paid off.

Kids and teens in particular go through much change and make huge leaps in their skills in a short period. Growth both physically and technically are rapid.

Some kids are making social media masterpieces, yet they were drawing stick figures with crayons only a few years ago!

When Kim (my Mum) first pitched the idea of making a collage of my artworks to hang on my wall and have published in Alive Magazine, I went into defensive mode, thinking of the hideous, embarrassing eyesore that my personal sketches would create on my bedroom wall.

I, like many people only want the best aspects of my skills/ artworks/ life to be on display for all to see. I was even more horrified when Mum said that ALL aspects of my artworks would be display, the rough sketches, the pencil phase, my first drawings that I thought should not be seen by anyone.
Looking at my art displayed might make me appear inferior or maybe too showy?

I got thinking.

If I only show my ‘best’ stuff – the boring white bedroom wall would remain empty and lifeless.

But I didn’t want my friends and family to think I am perfect at art either or better than I really am.

I mulled over the prospect of the project.

Exposing my works that I am less proud of.

After careful consideration (and seeing the photo frames that Mum had bought for the project) I had an epiphany!

The real respect and accolades come from the effort – the growth.

Seeing how far you have come.

If someone just out of the blue showed you their first artwork and it was a masterpiece it would be impressive but also kind of degrading. You have worked so hard, yet this beginner is better than you.

Seeing the roots and growth of talented artists is a motivational thing: our roots should not be something to hide from the world and keep locked away but should be something to be proud of..

“Often the past repeats itself – so if you look to past progress, you can envision future innovations seeing parts of yourself that may otherwise be forgotten.”

Bentley Harris