In a past post, I recommended remembering what it felt like to be a kid, so that you can bring some of those elements into your art.
You may be thinking, what if all the moments I had in my childhood were crappy? That’s the beauty of art! It doesn’t have to be about your warm fuzzy experiences. You can also make it about those times you were scared or sad. In some circles or galleries, this type of art is even more welcomed than work that is purely happy all the time.
The point is, you can take from the bad times as well as the good. Some artists believe that by expressing these unpleasant moments through their art, they are also facing and on some level purging their demons. But of course it does not have to be always that dramatic.
For example, when I was a kid I had a reoccurring dream, which back then I felt was a nightmare. I was about five and I kept finding myself in a world completely devoid of people. I wandered this world and explored the empty cities. At some point, I realized that there was a dark and alien figure that was the only other inhabitant of this world. And he was looking for me. The feelings of loneliness and terror that I felt in those dream worlds were a lot to handle.
Over time I developed my courage. I have since been able to associate the solitude of being in a strange empty world with adventure and possibilities. But it’s that idea of the lone hero or heroine exploring beautiful, sometimes bizarre worlds that I have kept with me and now enjoy incorporating through my art.
If you have any unhappy child hood memories, I encourage you to learn from them and add some bite to your art.
Suspension of disbelief
As kids we have the potential to see the world as more magical. In a past interview with fine art photographer Michael Bilotta he talks about the need for “suspension of disbelief”. I asked him, if the light source in his photo were in the middle of the scene how then how should the light fall upon his character? He said that’s where the suspension of disbelief comes in. Aesthetically the character is much more beautifully lit from the side even though the light source is coming from the very middle, so it’s acceptable to have a little inconsistency in lighting.
And that opened my eyes.
It is these suspensions of disbelief that you had when you were a child that can help bring whimsical, dark, or magical elements into your art.