Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Artist Series- Andy Warhol Monster

Being a mother, a teacher, a therapist, and an artist all at the same time is quite a feat.  I don't think that I am always as successful as I would like to be, but that doesn't keep me from trying.   Today was one of those rare days where I felt like I was really good at being a mom.  So many times, stress, overwhelm, and a need for perfection create some serious obstacles to being the mom that I know I want to be.  But today felt different.  My daughter had a melt down at a local restaurant.  Instead of being angry, nervous, and reactive -  I was calm, nurturing, present, and at the same time firm.  I didn't give in, but I also allowed her to be sad.  She cried, I offered her a hug, and she accepted.  She then sat next to me and we enjoyed our meal together.   I have been holding on to these two sayings:

"Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I most need it"
-Swedish Proverb
People need loving the most when they deserve it the least.
-John Harrigan

So in those moments where my beautiful little daughter is melting and acting like a completely wild little one, I remind myself of what she needs- and it makes me feel better and act in a way that makes me better as a parent.  Parenting is such hard work!

Onto my newest little monster
This little monster is inspired by
Andy Warhol.
Andy Warhol was born in Pennsylvania on August 6th, 1928.  His parents were working-class immigrants from what is now Slovakia.   When Andy was still in grade school he developed Chorea, a disease of the nervous system which caused him to move his extremeties involuntarily and skin pigmentation blotchiness.   Because of his sickness, he was often bedridden as a child and did not feel that he fit in with other children.  In bed, he would often draw to pass the time.  His father passed away when he was only 13 years old. 

Andy studied commercial art at the School of Fine Arts at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh.  He was always interested in blurring the lines between what was seen as commercial art and that which was fine art.  His images often included cultural icons - such as Elvis Presley or Elizabeth Taylor and images from everyday culture that he would elevate to the level of "high art".  He was highly influential to many young artists.  He died in 1987 at 58 years old.
There are lots of children's books inspired by the work of Andy Warhol. 
A few of the favorites at my house include the following:

 This book is a children's book and talks about colors using the art work of Andy Warhol.  The pictures are vivid and it definitely captures a little one's attention from beginning to end.

This book was actually written by Andy Warhol's nephew, James Warhola .  It talks about visiting the artist during vacation.  I really enjoyed how it made the artist in all his eccentricities - a real person- and not just the icon that we all know him as.  And I loved how it opens a discussion about how art can be anything and art is everywhere!
This book is on my wishlist.  The reviews state that this book looks more at how Andy used art to overcome his social difficulties.  As an art therapist,  this book seems right up my alley!
I love the cover.

Ideas for next steps:
  1. Art Projects for Kids has a wonderful art project using self portraits and acetate done in the spirit of Warhol. Click here
  2. Find a photograph of your child and make four xerox copies.  Have your child color each one a using different colors.  Tape them together to form a square.
  3. As with Basquiat and Kahlo, Warhol used art as a means of coping.  Continue the discussion with your child around what skills they have that they could use when feeling upset or discouraged.  Encourage your child to have an art journal if drawing is something that they notice helps them to feel better.
  4. Show your child images of Andy Warhol's food series and have your child draw and paint their favorite food.  Having your child draw with a pencil first, then outline with a permanent marker, and then color the image in, will give it that "pop" art look.
Hope you have some Warhol Inspired Fun!

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