Today, I want to share with you a YouTube video on the Abstract Art of Aelita Andre. She’s not your average artist – she started painting when she was just one! At four years old she had gallery shows in New York and her paintings have sold for thousands of dollars.
This video has been rather controversial as some people thinks she is a natural artist, while others think she is nothing more then a child messing around with paint. I invite you to watch and see what you think.
I find this video fascinating. My thoughts ranged from “Look at the intense look of concentration on her face as she mixes colors and tries new techniques” to “How does she ever get all that paint off her clothing and body?”
Regardless of whether you consider this “art” there is much that can be learned from this video about the creative process. Here are a few things I picked up:
Art is Messy: Repeatedly, I have seen creativity stifled because people fear getting messy. I have seen frustrated parents scold their children for ruining their clothing while disregarding what they have created. This can have a long lasting affect on behaviour and stifle the desire to try new, potentially messy thing. Children are meant to explore, create and get messy!
Having a set of “Art clothes” is a great way to embrace the messiness of creativity. Much like having gym clothing for working out, taking the time to put on messy clothing removes the stress of mess and helps prepare you for creativity!
To create, you have to take risks: Children don’t usually know whether it will work on the first try, they just plunge ahead and do it. As we get older, this becomes harder to do; we become concerned with wasting materials, or worse, looking foolish to ourselves and others.
This video, especially the art with the pompoms inspired me to stretch myself and try new things. I teach a weekly drop-in art program for teens, which can be a struggle for me – I write and do photography but haven’t had a huge exposure to painting and hands-on art. Most of the time when we try a new project, I am learning as well. The most valuable lesson I have taught was this: it is that it is okay to try new things, to fail, to experiment, to do something without knowing how and if it will work.
It is a new way of looking at art and creating for a lot of these teens, and if I am willing to make a fool of myself, they are more likely to take a few risks of their own.
After watching this video for the first time, I decided to try painting without a paint brush. I took a small canvas (bought at the Dollar Store, three for a dollar), splotched some old acrylic paints on a plate, and painted with grapes! I rolled them through the paint, then bounced, rolled, and splattered them across my canvas. It created a very cool marbled effect and was a great way to spark conversation about unconventional uses for every day things. Also, it was messy and fun!
Knowing when to stop: There comes a point in the creative process when you have to stop. This is a very hard lesson to learn but applies to everything. There is a delicate balance between pushing the boundaries and having a project collapse on you. One of the reasons Aelita stands out is her natural ability to know when she is satisfied and has done “enough”.
Most children do not consider this. One extra stroke of paint can turn a canvas full of color to a muddy mess. Sometimes you just know it’s done, and your intuition and gut say “this is good, it is enough,” but many times we push it that little bit father and the results are not what we want. I have noticed this in pottery as well – it usually falls apart when you push it too far, seeking perfection.
While not covered in the video clip, this is also a great testament to involving your children in your creative hobbies and pursuits from a young age; you never know what they will have an aptitude and passion for. Aelita’s father is an artist and wanted to involve his daughter, so he placed a canvas and some paints on the floor of his studio while he painted, and so did she.
I hope you enjoyed the video and would love to hear any comments you have. Have a wonderful, creative day!