Freeing your mind from rational thought, allowing creativity to flow uncensored - those were the ideas behind surrealism, an art and literary movement that started after World War 1 in Paris. After the devastation of war, writers and artists rebelled against regimentation, seeking release in expressing their creativity literally without thinking, thus allowing images and ideas to flow uninterrupted, unhindered by rational thinking. In 1924, French poet Andre Breton started the first Surrealist group in Paris, comprised of writers, poets, and later artists. Major Surrealist artists are Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Frida Kahlo and Rene Magritte.
Now doesn't surrealism sound like how children approach art? Uninhibited, unrestricted and anything goes. So I pulled up some Dali paintings online, and showed them to Angelica. We talked about dreams and fantasies. We also talked about cartoons and how anything is possible in them. Cats and mice can talk (Tom & Jerry), mice can do ballet (Angelina Ballerina) and so forth.
This is her first surrealist project. Though she is only 5, this painting is pretty grounded. Everything is where it should be. You'll be surprised how much of "real life" we impose on kids, through school, unimaginative play and conventional rules, making them lose "fantasy-like thinking" early on.
Below is her second attempt. Things are still pretty much where they're supposed to be - sun in the sky, girl on the ground, etc. But I gave her magazine pages that she can cut the shapes out of. So she has a little girl wearing grown-up high heels, a flowery sun and patterned clouds. The girl has a mushroom for a hat, and the butterflies are as big as birds.
We'll do more projects on surrealism in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, when I came back from work yesterday, I was presented with this accidental Picasso. Accidental because it started out as Angelica drawing a girl with a rectangular face.. Hers is the black and pink markers. Then Lauren (with the blue marker) drew in the face, added one eye to the original closed eye with lashes and voila!