Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Brain On Art

According to a research study that indicates artist's brains are structured differently is interesting for further investigation. The study suggests that the artist is born with innate talent. However it is still very unclear what part of nature or nurture is responsible for the making of the artist brain.

I was about ten when I realized I had a great desire to draw. My parents were creative, and always encouraged me. Fortunately, I also had two art teachers in elementary school, which made a great deal of difference in fostering my creativity.

 As an art educator of children in the past, I have learned that children are born creative. They naturally are inclined to mark making and drawing. Sir Ken Robinson explains this much more succinctly and eloquently than I.

" Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. "
                                                                                              -  Pablo Picasso

 Unfortunately adults and our education system seem to find ways and means to pound creativity out of us by the time we leave school, and we have been educated generally in a stream lined fashion, reducing every one down to the lowest common denominator. It has been often referred as "dumbing down ".
Generally speaking, schools and in many Universities, having an education  means that it revolves around becoming employable, and perpetuating a consumer oriented  society, instead of enabling students to have a creative passion, a thirst  for knowledge and learning in creative ways, and taught by creative teachers.

Victor Lowenfeld, considered the father of Art Education states in his book, Creative and Mental Growth.

"  The values that are meaningful in an art program are those which may be basic to the development of a new image, a new philosophy, even a totally new structure to our educational system. More and more people are recognizing that the ability to learn differs from age to age and from individual to individual, and that this ability to learn involves not only intellectual capacity, but also social, emotional, perceptual, physical, and psychological factors. Altogether learning is very complex. Therefore, there may be no single best teaching method. Our tendency to develop the capacity to regurgitate bits of information may be putting undue emphasis on but one factor in human development, that which is now measured by the intelligence tests. Intelligence as we now know it does not encompass the wide range of thinking abilities that are necessary to the survival of man-kind. The ability to question, to seek answers, to find form and order, to rethink and restructure and find new relationships, are qualities that are generally not taught; and in fact these seem to be frowned upon in our present educational system. "

We don't all develop into artists regardless of our innate capabilities, or how we have been exposed to art and creativity. It is however crucial I believe that our educational system need a major overhaul, and a paradigm shift in how our children are encouraged to think creatively and to reflect values that can develop fully developed human beings, in all aspects of their personalities whether or not they have been born with an artist brain.


Unknown said...

I remember being reprimanded in school for doodling in the margin of my scribbler (Scribbler is what we called notebooks when/where I grew up). Recently I read in the GOALS book by Brian Tracy that "According to Dr Howard Gardner, Harvard, we possess at least 10 different kinds of intelligences in any one of which we could be a genius. Only 2 of these intelligences are measured in school"!!! And you can be assured that art is one of the ones left out in the dark. :o(

Unknown said...

Oh boy I couldn't agree with you more Chickadeegirl!

Ah yes scribblers, I remember them well!
I spend a lot of my time in school doodling and drawing pictures of evolving creatures. I am hopeful our educational system is evolving too, but sadly it is in desperate need of the paradigm shift the Sir Ken talks about. It can't happen fast enough!

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your great comment Chickadeegirl!