When you’re looking at a piece of modern art, someone nearby will often pipe up “a 5-year-old could do that”. And even if you might never actually say it, you’ve probably thought it. Sometimes, the jibe at the artist is coupled with a shrouded compliment for the onlooker’s offspring: “MY 5-year-old could have done that”.
As it turns out, Nico’s been doing some pretty impressive “art” of late, so, rather than worry about what my 5-year-old could do, I sifted though some of the stuff he has actually done and I’ve started using it as a starting point for some paintings. Actually, truth be told, this is painting by numbers. I’m copying Nico’s work and adding some colour. I don’t think he’ll sue me… yet.
Here’s a whale. Nico loves whales. I like this one because it looks like he has a tear in his eye.
I remember reading about Klee and Kandinsky having an interest in the art of children and I think you can see childlike imagery in Miró, but the artist I’ve had in mind is Xul Solar. I’m not really pretending there’s any similarity, but the attempt is to keep the original drawings essentially unchanged while adding the watercolour textures and colours something like the style of Solar’s paintings.
Actually the motivation is more therapeutic than artistic. Putting paint on paper is fun. The combination of a child’s imagination, a lack of inhibition about getting it “right” (and an essential lack of the required motor skills should he even want to), means that I’ve got a pretty good supply of material stacked up before I have to come up with any ideas of my own.
The plot of Caras e Bocas, a hit soap opera running in Brazil currently, features an artist who is making a successful career by passing the artwork of his pet monkey off as his own. B$79.99 will even buy a stuffed toy of said ape. I only mention this in passing. While it may sometimes feel that way, I’d object to direct comparison. Really, I am not Nico’s pet monkey.
As I add new paintings I’ll try and put them up on Flickr.