Every child is an artist

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I'm sure you've heard this first quote. I've seen it everywhere and in almost every art or creativity-related book I've read:

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Pablo Picasso (Spanish cubist painter, 1881-1973)

This second quote is one I just came across, but it says the same thing in a different way:

The creative adult is the child who has survived. – Ursula K. LeGuin (American poet and author, born 1923)

So what do you think? Is this true from your experience? If you feel creative, do you think it's because you were able to hold on to some childlike aspect of yourself? If you don't feel creative, can you remember feeling creative as a child?

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  1. says

    wow, i love the second quote – i hadn’t heard it said that way! i do feel that i am creative and survived — in large part to the credit of my creative mom! also, i feel like there was a time when forgot (or did not honor as much) that part of me in the journey to adulthood, and then in graduate school to become an art therapist, i went through a major process of reclaiming it, rediscovering it, giving it voice, and UNlearning all of the inhibitions i had internalized around art while growing up, even in such a supportive, creative family.

  2. says

    I have always wanted to be creative. Even as a young child I remember wanting to be artistic and creative and feeling I fell short of that. I took art classes in high school because I really do love art so much, but I would not call myself an artist ever. I strive for it everyday however. A few years ago I took a art class with live models. At the end of every class I was so embarrassed to show my work. Everyone there produced very artistic beautiful work. I struggled and struggled, but that creative outlet is what I have always strived for despite being bad at it. Maybe some people are like me and they just finally give up trying.

  3. says

    My mom has made a career of art and always encouraged my creativity. Too bad I don’t have much talent for visual arts. I prefer writing but even then I tend toward non-fiction and instructional writing. Recently I’ve been inspired by all the creativity shared in the blogging community and on Facebook, so I think it’s important to keep coming back to the arts and looking for new ways to interact with the creative process to discover your personal strengths. I also think it’s okay to say “That’s not me!” and keep an open mind about what “being an artist” means for you.

  4. says

    I think Pablo Picasso was really right with his statement. I recently read this statement in a book (Creative Children, Kreative kinder)by Rudolf Seitz (German Language)love this book…such true words.
    I think, we as adults, are rarely able to be creative as (our) children or at least not creative as they are in their way. This is why I think that we can learn so many things from our children!
    (I am sorry, I am not a native speaker)

  5. says

    I distinctly remember being told to drop art (which I loved) in high school to undertake more ‘academic’ classes, that there was always time to be ‘artsy or find a creative hobby’ once I finished school. Fortunately, I maintained my personal creativity but not without my artistic confidence taking a beating. It is part of the reason I strive to share the message that art is such an important part of learning, everyday, and best not left for another day.

  6. Tristen says

    I really do feel this way. I’ve always drawn, always painted, always danced. I hope I always do and that my son does as well!!

  7. says

    These 2 quotes are so true! I am all for encouraging and supporting a child’s interests, especially the artistic ones!
    I am thankful to have had access to crayons, playdough, pencils and paper, paints etc growing up!
    Watching my grandson (only 2) discover his love for watercolors and playdough is like being a child with him.

  8. says

    I’ve always felt that every person is creative, children are just especially uninhibited in their exploration of art (and everything really). I find that creativity shows itself in different ways and some people enjoy using their creativity to produce art, music, dance, etc. more than others. Those others may find satisfaction in using their creativity in, say, accounting or economics, the way an artist would in producing a work of art. Art, like any other skill, must be practiced and nurtured — something which I think you encourage us all to do here at the Artful Parent!

  9. says

    As a “grown-up” working at a toy company, the child in me is alive and well… and needs to be for meetings that involve laying out salad spinners and marbles and figuring out the next great game! I absolutely believe innate creativity is a critical thing to nurture, and i think a great deal is lost later in life when kids are made to fear taking risks and exploring different means of expression. While I’m always devastated to see the arts slashed in schools, parents can do a great deal at home to support their creative kiddos, fostering the spirit of curiosity, encouraging inquiry, imagination, and exploration!

  10. says

    I think it is true too. Every child is an artist because they have not yet learned either to judge what they do, they just do it. As adults we have instilled the idea in ourselves that there is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and if we don’t think we are ‘good’, haven’t had the practice over the years, are too busy…we will drop our art.

  11. Sheau says

    Thank you for sharing these power quotes. Yes I really think that every child is an artist and master of zen. Their state of mind allows them to freely explore and immerse in the present moments. Really art has so many forms. I strongly believe that the state of mind guides our creativity and energy in creating.

  12. tasha says

    This definitely touched a nerve for me! I always loved creating as a child, and as a teenager with a lot of “issues” I found refuge in the arts. I was totally obsessed with every form of creation at that stage. I grew up very quickly, dealing with hardships. I have never related art as having kept me more youthful, though. Since I became a mother, my creativity has surged because of how much more I pay attention to all the beauty. Unlike my art when I was younger, my art now is much more free, less limited, and how I wanted it to be back then. I feel my children have helped me evolve into an even more creatively open-minded person, so it’s not that my inner artistic child has survived, it was literally was reborn, reincarnated.

  13. says

    I agree! People can be creative in all areas of life, not just the arts. And children are especially uninhibited in their approach to art and life. As we get older we judge ourselves more and worry about what others are thinking more.

  14. says

    You’ve changed the way I see art for children. I love art and you having this blog has helped me with a lot of new ideas to keep my little ones entertained and talented. Thank you, thank you for sharing!

  15. says

    Somehow I think that this is quite true; children are always so spontaneous. But as adults, we are bound by rules and regulations, dos and don’ts …