A couple months ago, i put a shout out on my facebook page asking for some kiddos to try out a collaboration idea i had. i got a few takers and embarked on a sort of “art pen pal” project. What happened next was maybe the best experience in my art business so far. SO much joy and experimentation and fulfillment and surprise.
Basically, i mail out a blank canvas to each participant with some simple instructions, examples and tips about how i like to work. But i also encourage the kids to experiment and am sure to tell them “there is no wrong way.” Then i wait for the white canvases to come back to me with color! It’s like christmas when i see a manila envelope in the mailman’s hand!
Here is an example (left) of Layer 1 as it was sent back by one child (actually 3 siblings) and then the layer i added for my part (right). i then mailed the canvas back with more instruction and examples for round 2. Below (left) you see the kids’ next stage painting with their doodles added. Then (right) you see how i finished it off with a few of my own doodles and some colored in areas. i mailed the final back to the kids with my signature on the back and encouraged them to sign their names on the front or sides of the canvas, That’s it!
The whole process has been such great fun for me and getting to be part of an artistic journey with kids is so rewarding. Some of the moms have told me the kids feel nervous at first to “ruin” it all. But i hope they come away with the confidence to realize that they can’t possibly ruin their own art. Any mark they make speaks to their own creative eye and hand. It’s authentic and so (to me) it is good!! i’ve gotten such a variety of color combos, shapes and forms back. Some paintings feature neat, tidy brush strokes and some are made with wild abandon. It is just so awesome to see.
Here are some more in-progress images that have been coming out of this project.
The above is stage 2 and completion….
This one is stage 1 from my kiddo collaborator and then my additions – all ready to be shipped back through the mail.
…another stage 1 then my additions all ready for my partner to tackle stage 2.
…one last example of how they look when they first arrive back to me and then go back out for step 2.
In the course of creating these artworks, my wheels started turning, and one day i had a shower idea. Do you get all your best ideas in the shower? What is it? The smell of shampoo? The steam? Aaaaaaanyway, i thought; wouldn’t it be great to sell prints of the finished art in my etsy shop and contribute the proceeds to other kids? Maybe kids at CHOP? or a local arts program?
Kids helping kids through art!! AGHHHH!!! Do you love it!?
Of course, the kids would have to all give a thumbs up. i would never sell their work without permission or recompense. But the few i polled so far all seemed on board. So, when i have a collection of completed works in hand, i will be calling around to find a cause that will be a perfect fit. Oh happy day : )
For more information on these collaborations, take a look at the listing in my etsy shop! Or just follow along and try collaborating with your kiddos at home! You don’t need me! Trust me. You will surprise yourself and your kids will get a confidence boost times a jillion.