Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October 1930 and 1931

I am smitten with how little kids solve design challenges. When I draw a jack-o-lantern, it's the classic one we've all seen or learned in school. Three equilateral triangles, usually the same size, and an open mouth with three remaining teeth. End of design process.

This little kid was learning how to design and carefully cut with scissors at the same time. You can see the fold marks that were made in the faces while the young artist aimed for symmetry. I like the little Batman Joker style face on the pumpkin on the right. When the paper was folded in half, it was cut with a full smile so when the paper was unfolded, the little guy had a double smile going on at the top. Probably a mistake but it sure is cute. I like how the two pumpkins are sitting on the fence too. One sits on top of a post while the other one gets himself safe and comfortably situated between two posts. 

I'm not sure if the same kid cut out the cat silhouette. That was a pretty common design used in the 20s and 30s but even so, some pretty good cutting. I'm wondering if maybe the teacher (or the mom) cut out that particular shape.

At the bottom of the above little piece of art is written "3rd Grade October 1930?" The art below doesn't have any written identification on it but is probably from the same year because the paper and coloration is the same as the one shown above. 

It kind of reminds me of boyband brother trios. The cute one always gets to be in the middle. 

At the bottom of this piece of art is written "4th grade October 1931." That's just the sweetest little pumpkin face ever. Why should such a cute little pumpkin have any concerns  about a big owl and a big bat joining him? October nights are pretty darn nice. Even nicer when others drop by to enjoy them with you. :-)


Mental P Mama said...

Those are remarkably well-preserved. And They make me want to go dig out the construction paper.

Maria said...

Well, blame Photoshop for that well-preserved hypersaturated look. :-) They're actually in pretty good shape though-just some small tears. Unfortunately, the bottom one is very, very faded. I'm thinking it got a lot of light exposure at one time because it was a favorite. ;-) That folding and cutting of one color (in the second one) and then gluing it onto a different color is pretty neat. It just reminded me of this artist's work:


Country Girl said...

I love these, Maria! Three little photos, all with a history attached to them, and you pointed out things in them that normally I would have just glazed over. Nice work. Good post!

Maria said...

Kate-I'm glad you liked the post. That means a lot. I do go on and on when I write about things at work and I know everybody rolls their eyes but I write for myself, so it really doesn't matter. I just love the way kids and people untrained in the arts will find a way to visually describe something. I spent so many years learning how to draw and as a professional, have spent all my professional years trying to unlearn or undo all that training.

I remember helping judge a children's art competition at a local school and it was so sad to see what one teacher did to an entire class. Every kid's drawing was so wonderful until they reached that one third grade teacher's class. She had everyone design a border for all of their drawings. Once confined within that border, expression was lost. You could tell they were trying to please and follow the rules and do what the teacher was "teaching" them but it was just so sad. From that class on, every kid tried to draw as realistically as they could and the drawings were just boring.

I look at little kid art as my inspiration to show me the way to express something honestly, not something patterned after something I learned. I like to study what they did because all kids do something visually compelling, unique and unusual.
If I can describe anything I do with those three words, I consider that an enormous success because that's what I aim for.

Q said...

Dear Maria,
I have a few things my mother did when she was in grade scholl in the 1920's. These cut outs remind me of her work.
I am an "untrained" photographer. I see a picture and teach my camera to see it too! LOL... I like my pictures that way.
I understand unlearning and being free to express.
Only three words is nice.
You have a lovely collection of Halloween folk art.

Maria said...

Sherry-Boo to you too. Ha ha ha.

That is so cool that you have your mother's artwork from when she was a little girl!

Sherry-you have a lovely innate design sense. And I think you know what you want to say in your photography so that's 3/4s the battle-knowing what you want to communicate. I think when the technical aspects of things take over, that's when you start losing the whole communication thing that art should be. I have to be mindful of it all the time. I think you have an established voice with your photographs so whatever you do add technically, you have good bones to work with.