Friday, September 10, 2010

Art is Girlie????

Seriously? I was confronted with that statement yesterday by a 12 year old boy who was pretty hostile when he said it. At first I didn't know what to say. I mean I'm an artist and I'm a girl but that doesn't mean it's girlie. I'd just as soon as create a creepy Gothic type piece as I would a happy  little sunflower. In fact the collage class I recently took in Chicago made me a bit uncomfortable because everyone was making these happy little birds and flowers on their collages and I was seeing Nightmare Before Christmas type figures in my piece.

So I had to think about it for a minute and explain to him and I hope I got my message across to him because his mom registered him for my after school art classes and I don't think he's happy about it. I would have cleaned my room and done dishes every day without complaining as a kid if my mom had signed me up for art classes.

Where does this kind of thinking come from? Is it because there are too many female teachers in the lower grades in school? Is it because kids don't get exposed to cultural experiences? Is it girlie to write music? sing opera? act or dance? Please don't tell Mikhail Baryshnikov that he's second rate because he dances and "girls" dance. 

I guess it was the way he said it with this sneer and hostility that really took me by surprise. I felt this need to defend the female gender. Art is the one place where you can relax and just be. In math there is one answer and either you are right or you are wrong- and believe me I have experienced the humiliation of coming up with the wrong answer in math too many times to count. In art I was on equal footing with my peers because no matter what I produced it was truly mine. Freedom of expression! I know what it's like to be different and not fit into the crowd. I know what it's like to be on the outside looking in. From what his mom told me he's standing there too. So I have until Monday to come up with the best way to approach this boy and get him to relax and enjoy being creative. In the meantime I need to work on my skeletons...they are way too happy!


Chris Coppock said...

Comic books. Graphic art and the "men" that draw them. then tell him the money that can be made. Appeal to a 12 yr old boy basic needs. MONEY

artworks_studio said...

I failed. He won't come back to art class. It upsets me some that I wasn't able to connect with him................sigh