In today’s world, children now have available to them, incredible computer programs/apps to assist them in being able to be a creative person. There will be some creative individuals who will state that unless an art work has been created using traditional methods such as pen and paper or with a paint brush, paint and canvas for example – it cannot be art. But we now have at hand, new and exciting methods of being able to be artistically expressive, in our own unique way! If using an app can offer easy access to being creative, I am all for such a tool being worthy of recognition as an important artistic tool. There must be room for both approaches towards creating art with benefits to be gained for both the user and the viewer of art. Below is an app for children that shows how such programs can be used as a gateway into the world of art…
Artful Child’s Play – In today’s World it’s all about what the Apps can do!
MoMA Art Lab iPad App – Apps such as this one, can be an incredible way of introducing children to art via an electronic device. It allows the child to:-
“Create and save their own artwork; play with shapes, lines and colours; it offers activities inspired by works of art, including: Create a mobile; experiment with paint; draw from instructions; create a sound composition; draw with scissors; make a line design; collaborate on a group drawing; create a shape poem; make a chance collage” (MoMA Org. 2014). It has “creative prompts for extra inspiration; audio for pre-readers; they can learn about works of art at MoMA. Artists include Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder, Elizabeth Murray, Sol LeWitt, Jim Lambie, Brice Marden, and others; and also they can share their artwork with others” (MoMA Org. 2014).
Please click here to view wonderful creative endeavours of young artists using the MoMA Art Lab iPad App in a Art Work Submissions Slide show. It’s clear that using such an app can encourage children to be creative.
Artful Child’s Play – The old fashion way!
September 2014, I was asked if I would do a one-off, two-hour ‘holiday program art session’ at our local council, for a group of 8 children, ages from 5 to 12 years old, as a volunteer artist. The theme we decided upon was Halloween and the children made Halloween masks. We had an assortment of materials to work with and I was on hand to assist with any requests the children had; to answer any questions and to offer artistic encouragement during the whole process.
We firstly talked about what Halloween is in very simplistic terms being that it is one of America’s favourite holidays which is celebrated on the night of October 31st. It’s a time putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. It can also be a time for superstitions, ghost and goblins and also about having lots of fun…
It was very interesting how each child went about producing their Halloween mask and what materials they individually decided to use. We started the process with a coloured rectangle shape of hard cardboard. I had given each child a specific colour and suggested that if they didn’t like the colour they had, perhaps they could ask someone to swap with them. A couple of the children decided to swap and did it in such an agreeable way – that impressed me! Then we glued a white, plain cardboard face onto the square coloured paper, just so that they had a basic face to work on. Paint was a big favourite with the children and glitter became the star product used, both with the boys and the girls. I made a suggestion to use wool for hair and as you can see above, there were some children who took up the offer.
I was so impressed with how the group of children went about studiously working on their Halloween masks. At times I offered further encouragement and input; along with some ideas and suggestions for them to consider; and with lots of encouragement and praise. For me, this was a form of art therapy for children, as it gave them an opportunity to do just what they wanted to do; unrestricted creativity and with total ownership for their end results. It was a good art session and it appeared the children had enjoyed themselves and were genuinely pleased with their efforts.
The children involved in the above arts program had a chance to feel and play with different artistic mediums which they would not have experienced whilst using an app on a device. They got to see, for themselves, how paint mixes with glue, how things stick or don’t stick, how glitter sprinkled is different from when they just poured it onto their art work. They learn about action and reaction. They also discovered that sometimes we can find little creative surprises as a result of just letting it happen!
Whilst I am excited about what computer programs/apps can offer in the way of being able to give individuals easy access to being a creative person, I am still in favour of ensuring that we don’t stroll too far from having the tactile experience of using traditional materials. There is much that can be learned from using actual art materials that cannot be gained by using an app.
NB: For the purposes of this weblog, I have not mentioned any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that ran the session. Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will be about my own experience and broad statements about the session. I hope you will understand.
© Karen Robinson – October 2014