When Did We Stop Being Artists?

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” This is something a little known painter called Pablo Picasso said and it really got me thinking. As someone fumbling through adolescence I’m used to changes in my interests. However something I’ve noticed losing over recent years has been my creative flair.

As a child I had so many hobbies; I loved to paint, I’d dance, sing, put on shows, take photos… The list could go on, but if someone asked me my interests now, I’d struggle to think of one. Sure I could come up with a mundane, half-hearted answer such as ‘reading’ or ‘watching films’. Although these are great things to hold a candle for, I can’t help but think they’re far more passive activities. There is no expression in watching a movie or reading a book but there seems to be something active in, say, painting or writing.

One of the reasons I started this blog is in order to try and resolve this problem. What interests me though, is why we stop being artists in the first place. The answer that comes to mind is that as we grow older we simply become more self-aware and more absorbed in what people may think of us. When you’re six years old and write a poem, no one is going to laugh at you but when you’re sixteen they just might.

I’ve seen firsthand how cruel people can be to anyone who’s different. Of course it would be great to say we can change these people, but unfortunately there will always be ignorance in the world. So it seems what we can, and should, do is rediscover our childishness from time to time. A question I stumbled across highlights this concept well, “how old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you were?” 

Ageing is a part of life, but we shouldn’t let it confine us. Naturally as you get older your responsibilities will increase but it’s important to make time for exploring creative paths and expressing yourself. I’ve always found my problem to be that I’m a very creative person, but I’m not particularly good at it. I was always terrible at art, and my teacher wasn’t afraid to tell me. Nevertheless I enjoyed it and I shouldn’t have let one person’s opinion, or academic failure in the subject, prevent me from continuing.

Some of the best and most appreciated art in the world isn’t conventionally beautiful. Van Gogh wasn’t exactly appreciated in his time and Tracey Emin’s photograph of her bed isn’t technically great. Regardless of whether people will think your art is ‘good’ or not, it’s important to have an outlet. A lack of self-expression can be damaging to young, nay all, people. By encouraging children and young adults to continue being artists I’m sure we’d be preventing some unhappiness. It’s almost therapeutic to express yourself through some artistic form and, to be honest, I think any happiness you can find should be clung to.

So stop concerning yourself with the confines of age, after all it’s just a number, and let your inner artist out.

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3 thoughts on “When Did We Stop Being Artists?

  1. You make a good point about age. I think a lot of people forget about creativity in striving for maturity, and so you have to make a conscious effort to hold onto hobbies and creative outlets as you get older. There’s a time and place to be mature, but losing your identity in the process shouldn’t be a compromise. Picasso hit the nail on the head as always.

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