Sounds lame right? What if you had a terrible or even boring childhood?
Plus, everyone says to pull from your childhood experiences so that you can create your art.
You may be right. Maybe it’s a total waste of time.
Or maybe it’s something that you can consider for just a moment?
In modern mythology there are several examples of the power of children’s experiences. Wendy and her siblings go on adventures with Peter Pan in Neverland. The baby Hercules subdues two poisonous snakes in his crib. Alice makes friends and journeys through Wonderland. Hansel and Gretel defeat the witch in the woods, before she can make a meal out of them. Childhood experiences and perspectives can be very powerful. And even your simplest experiences as a kid, can help add another dimension to your art.
Try to imagine what it is like to be a kid again. Visualize a time when you didn’t have a cell phone, car, rent, or mortgage payment. This might help you remember long forgotten experiences. Sometimes these simple joys can help you discover playful concepts that you may be able to incorporate into your art. Also it may help momentarily free you from the blocks that your adult life may have imposed on you. Our adult worries may hinder our creative processes.
Think of your favorite athlete, musician or actor. Do you think when your favorite musician is performing at his or her best they are thinking of all their everyday problems? No! Their mind is in a simpler state. They don’t have a care in the world, other than the task at hand.
In The Rise of Superman Steven Kotler studied world-class athletes such as Olympic medal winning skiers and divers. He found that these athletes were able to break world records and reach new levels of human peak performance. Not when they accessed more of their brains, but when they were able to quiet the part of the brain that is responsible for over worrying. In this state it was easier for them to combine past knowledge and memories. And, dynamically come up with innovative decisions to perform at their best. Because kids don’t have as many worries as adults, they are better able to tap into their creativity.
For this photomontage, I remembered what it was like to play games with my brother and sister. Sure we played tag and water balloons, but our favorite game was hide and seek. One of us closed her eyes, counted to 100, while two of us ran to hide in one of the secret and dark places around our home.
The feeling of mysterious joy and anticipation filled me as I tried to remain hidden behind one of the many fruit trees in our yard. This is one of my fondest memories. And it helped inspire my art.
So I encourage you, spend half a day, and pretend to be a child again. If it helps, find some of your old toys. If those are lost forever, then Google images of them. Notice how they make you feel. You can also try searching for your favorite cartoons on YouTube. I found one of my favorite cartoons, which involved the Muppets, exploring a surreal world. I was reminded why I started creating or how I was inspired to create surreal art in the first place. Thirdly, go find and old photo album. Your old childhood photos just might inspire you.