Every Child is an Artist


Creativity requires that we open up to our child inside of us again. As we grow out of childhood, we lose our ability to boil over with that spontaneous, childish creativity. As grownups we need to behave and we need to conform to the norms of the society. And in doing so, we lose this wonderful creativity that every one of us has experience and held in our souls as children.

«Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up». Those are the words of none other than Pablo Picasso; one who indeed was able to keep the child within him alive.

How do the rest of us keep that child in us alive? There is no easy answer to the question. But for a starter; let go of all those inhibitions adulthood has imposed upon us. Don’t be afraid to make a fool out of yourself. Take joy in all those small moments life presents to us around every corner. Be curios. Be blissful. And express all your inherent creativity as often as you can, not thinking about what others will think about it and not thinking about whether you know how to do it or not. Create with joy and excitement!

«What most people need more than anything is to unlearn what they’ve learned, to be less serious about everything and anything that otherwise contributes to their stress, because they futilely attempt to achieve some ridiculously lofty standard.» This is Lorenzo Dominques and the quote is taken from his highly successful book 25 Lessons I’ve Learned about Photography…Life.

He continues: «When you can integrate play into your work somehow, when you can laugh at all your mistakes, when you find yourself smiling for most of the day, then you’ll find that you’re achieving something worthwhile. If you can’t whistle while you work, if you’re consistently miserable while you toil, than maybe it is time that you either change careers or change your attitude (at least, until you find a new job).»

Maybe you don’t need to change career. But if you want to get back to that blissful creative feeling you had in you all the time as a kid, it’s really time to bring that child out again, be less serious about yourself, and simply have more fun. Don’t you think?

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52 thoughts on “Every Child is an Artist

  1. Yes, I do think so! I think, not only in my work, and not only when I create artistically. But in life.
    Of course I need to know the rules and the limits and norms people and society set up. Then I know what to transgress in order to play. And that’s why people drink alcohol and take drugs. But the idea of unlearning all these obstacles set up against playfulness is better. Life is play anyway, isn’t it!

  2. People are so wound up these days with the daily pressures of money and work. It’s got to take a bite out of creativity. A bit more difficult to find the inner child I suppose.

  3. Indeed, every child is an artist. I think when you are that young you have no fear of any criticism, you do the work because of you really having fun doing so and you do not want any praises or any form of rewards in return. Just do it!

  4. And don’t forget the importance of finding other kids to play with. Those with whom we surround ourselves influence our work, for good or for ill. Hang around sour, hyper-critical, uptight, nasty people too long, and there’s a risk that the joy of living and creating will be affected.

  5. When clients or other people tell me, that they are not artists, I ask them if they like and admire art, often the immediate response, ” Yes I do” and so I tell them to appreciate and love art, is an art by itself, so there fore they are artists in a different way.

  6. Well spoken, so very well spoken but….not always easy to go back to your childhood wishes and dreams…modern life weighs heavy on us, money and how to get it stumps feelings of creativity…a difficult circle to step out of.

  7. My mom used to teach kids (and later adults) to draw. People would say “I can’t draw a straight line.” and she’d respond “there are no straight lines in nature.” Everyone can draw and paint or throw clay pots, or take photos, or write, or sing, or dance or play an instrument. Everyone can do something, often many somethings.

    When I went back to school at age 50 I volunteered with a group of high school kids in Detroit. We gave them each a disposable camera and told them to take pictures of whatever they wanted. After a couple weeks we collected the cameras and had the film developed. We chose one shot for each young person and had them framed, and we hung them up , complete with museum quality lighting, along a hallway in a building at the University of Michigan. Then we bused them in for an end of semester celebratory dinner. You should have seen their faces when they saw their own work as art. I can’t take credit for the idea, but I’m so glad I was involved. It still makes me tear up today.

  8. Reading this placed a big smile in my heart (and soul) so I was reading and smiling at the same time! Being an artist gives us a creative license to step out of those rigid lines, though many people are so accustomed to being compliant that they are a bit timid about remembering what it’s like to have a childlike attitude about life. Once it becomes more of one’s personality, it’s so liberating, and the playful and curious spirit often infects others. Thank you for nudging others to re-open those facets of personality!

  9. We become too self-conscious as we grow up. Afraid of what other people might think of us. I remember (with a smile) the day I was in an Ikea carpark just returning to my black car. Black is a fantastic colour – you get superb reflections. I looked at it and saw a great abstract in yellow and blue (Ikea colours!). Out came the camera and I was composing a picture or two when I heard a small child’s voice saying: ‘Daddy, why is that man taking a picture of his car?’ I never heard the father’s reply, but I was smiling inside. I often get strange looks, When it happens I know I’ve found something they can’t see.

  10. I liked both your post, and they have a thought in common, it’s about loosening up, and in a sort of playful mode do as children do, and be just themselves, with little care of the mask as the Greeks called our personality, or our adult self, criticizing your own behavior, like your parents did.
    A self imposed restraint jacket, that doesn’t allow us to be spontaneously creative.

    Great posts, as usual Otto. 🙂

  11. Every Child… I have always been a fan of (french/belgian) Comics, until the day I found out about Calvin and Hobbes 😉 they are part of my daily life for some time now. I can’t tell much more, except that to me, Bill Watterson means much more than the Terrific,The Talented,The Creative ;-P Strip, Cartoonist and Story Teller He is… And, I’m just more than Amazed with the subtlety of his Thoughts, and the way he knows how to Manifest and to Communicate about his/our “essential” Inner Light… and that he who knows how to “listen” to that wise “voice” will not be fooled.
    well to me! 🙂

  12. Great post and I enjoy the comments too. Sometimes I think today’s children aren’t allowed to be child-like enough, but that gives us an opportunity to play with them. Everybody wins 🙂

    1. I think it’s a little sad that we often overprotect our children today, all so they won’t get harmed or harm themselves. But something is lost in child’s exploration of explore the world when it’s not allowed to do so just because it might result in bruises and even a broken arm.

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