An odd thing happened last winter.
My 4 year old son, attempting a precocious Kindergarten year, drew a picture. The teacher asked him to draw a cowboy. So he did. It wasn’t spectacular. Even he didn’t think so. But he got a lot of detail into it. In fact, there is quite a lot there on close observation.
For example, the odd tiny head and thin arms accompanied by large hands and legs and feet are a matter of perspective. If a 5 year old met a cowboy, this is what he would see: large hands, legs and feet because they are close to him, largely hidden arms, and a tiny head way up in the clouds.
He took pains to add in the classic cowboy features of hat and boots, but what you may not notice is the green cord wrapped in loops at his side – that is his lasso.
It’s a neat bit of drawing, and may even be good for his age. It might have been good enough to be one of the pieces we actually save of his artwork (any other parents out there get absolutely sick to death of schools sending home every single thing our kids glue, cut, rip, paint, or write on? I mean, how many forests have to die?)
But much to our surprise, it was submitted to the city art gallery for an annual exhibition of art produced by students.
Much to our greater surprise, it was chosen as the gallery centerpiece, and the winner of best student artwork in the city.
Don’t get me wrong: I am proud of the work he did. But never in a million years would I have thought to submit this work to an art competition. Never in a million years would I expect him to win.
Maybe I just don’t grasp the fine sensitivities of the art community, who it seems since abstract art came into vogue, seem to revel in objects that at best resemble their subjects superficially, and search for hidden meaning in the artist’s “choice of medium” and “bold decisions” in how to “capture the essence” of the subject. Maybe this work is brilliant.
We asked him about the piece. Here’s the “artist’s interview.