Art Phobia….many adults have it, but it doesn’t seem to be something we’re born with. Have you ever seen a three year old intimidated by a big piece of white paper and a huge brush loaded with gloppy paint??? Art Phobia appears to be an acquired deficiency, something we pick up somewhere between blissful childhood innocence and an over-active adult self-awareness. Thankfully, a fear of expressing yourself through Art doesn’t strike everyone, but for those who are most susceptible it often begins to rear it’s ugly head somewhere around third grade. So, the question is, “How do we keep this monster at bay?”
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Entire books have been written on the subject of art and fear, but here are a few ideas….
Teach Art early and teach it often! Consistent art instruction from an early age provides a good foundation for building self-confidence. An encouraging and non judgmental environment is also a must. And since efforts at achieving “realism” can be a source of great frustration for a young artist, projects that are more abstract in nature are a good place to start until more confidence is gained. Developing in your students a willingness to embrace mistakes and a tolerance for uncertainty are also helpful in avoiding this pitfall. If you have other ideas, please feel free to share them in the comment section!I’ll end with another great quote….this one by artist and teacher Howard Ikemoto.
“When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her that I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, ‘You mean they forget?”