Happy Pride Month! by Lex Gjurasic

I like it beg the question, do you know what the first rule of being oppressed is?


This cultural and personal philosophy I live my life by. No matter how shameful they want you to feel, never stop being your outrageous self. Never let anyone take away your joy of life.

 We felt it at Stonewall which birthed the Pride parades we see now in our streets today. We hear it in the heavy bests of the club kids that found solace in chosen family of otherwise outcasts. And we saw it in Orlando where grief was danced to the ground.

For me, Pride Wreath, inspired by door hanging Christmas wreath, is symbolic of the triumphant  spirit of celebration over oppression. As the stories we tell become more inclusive and the voices we hear are not just the familiar there are more to celebrate, more people at the party. 

Also I have a new Instagram to follow along to, @lexgjurasic

  Pride Wreath , 14x16x1.5 inches, mixed media on wood including tinsel, 2016

Pride Wreath, 14x16x1.5 inches, mixed media on wood including tinsel, 2016

Special Reception by Lex Gjurasic

You are invited this Saturday for a special reception for the opening of Deep Time. The Scottsdale  Public Library  at 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd. will be open after hours from 6:30-8:30pm for this event that includes, amazing refreshments, fun kid-friendly activities and lots and lots and lots of art.

More info here.

Deep Time the exhibition will be open during regular library hours through out the long hot summer closing on August 24! Creative and infomative workshops will be held in conjunction with the exhibition for adults and children alike, with a special closing reception with music by Tucson based musician LANO on August 11, 6:30-8:30pm.

If you aren't able to make it to this temporary immersive exhibition you can follow along on my IG account where there are lots of photos to enjoy!

And to top off the excitement of this week, Deep Time got a shout-out in This Is Tucson/Arizona Daily Star as a MUST to do when up Phoenix this summer. 



It's Almost Time for Deep Time! by Lex Gjurasic

Here is everything you need to know about the exhibition, opening reception, workshops all summer long and closing celebration!

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — DEEP TIME: Imagining the Ancient Inland Sea is an immersive, family-friendly experience running May 26–Aug. 24 at the Gallery @ The Library, Scottsdale Civic Center.

Presented by Scottsdale Arts, DEEP TIME takes visitors on a journey to the prehistoric ocean that once covered the Sonoran Desert, as imagined through the eyes of Tucson-based artists Lex Gjurasic and Rachel Slick. This sculpted environment uses color, pattern, light, texture and experimental materials to create an ocean-bottom experience of being surrounded by fanciful sea life, including kelp towers, coral reefs, an underwater garden, a bioluminescent tunnel and a large sea beast.

Gjurasic said she has reoccurring dreams about seeking and collecting. Her interactions with the desert follow a similar pattern as she finds herself consistently looking for treasures.

“Once I looked down to find a shark tooth fossil at my feet,” she said. “In creating DEEP TIME, I was able to draw inspiration from my curiosity for the desert's clandestine past and indulge my imagination in what it still might hold.”

Gjurasic has shown her work across the United States, from Seattle to Pensacola. Her art can be found as part of the Woman’s Building permanent collection at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Among her public art experiences are site-specific installations for music festivals.

The two artists previously collaborated on the mural Sagrado Corazon de Tucson in downtown Tucson.

Slick is represented by galleries in Scottsdale, Albuquerque and Santa Fe and has shown her work throughout the nation, from Los Angeles to Chicago. Among her public art commissions are murals in Tucson, interpretive signs in California and a sculpture in New York.

Slick’s inspiration for DEEP TIME, is connected to a family story about desert mermaids. “Over the years, the story has changed with the teller, but the themes of metamorphosis and magical reality remain a constant,” she said. “I have wanted to create an installation about the ancient inland sea and that magical reality of the desert for quite some time, and I am very happy it’s finally happening.”

The exhibition also incorporates anthropology, paleontology and geology alongside folktales, legends and myths, providing opportunities for children and adults to learn about the creatures who lived in the prehistoric ocean through a mixture of science, fantasy and imagination. A variety of free activities throughout the summer will enhance the experience with creative workshops and visits from scientific experts.

The exhibition will open Saturday, May 26, with a reception from 6:30–8:30 p.m. Slick will take young visitors on a visual journey within the installation from 7–8 p.m. that evening, using an illustrated treasure map. The first 30 participants will receive a signed, special-edition map.


Other DEEP TIME events include:

DEEP TIME Slime — Friday, June 8, 10:30 a.m.–noon. Learn to make three different types of sea slime. Participants can even take the slime home with them. For ages 8 and older.

 Create a Mystical Sea Creature — Saturday, June 23, 1–3 p.m. Use recycled materials to create your own fantasy sea creature with artist Tania Radda. All ages.

 Super Corals! — Saturday, July 14, 1–2 p.m. Scientists are learning how corals can withstand challenging environmental conditions, like warming seas. Learn how “super corals” may save the reefs in this lecture by oceanographer Franklin Lane.

Meet a Paleontologist! — Friday, July 27, 2–3 p.m. Discover Arizona’s past as an ancient sea and meet paleontologist David Gilette in this family-friend discussion and workshop, where participants paint replicas of dinosaur teeth to take home.

Closing Reception and Performance — Saturday, Aug. 11, 6:30–8:30 p.m.  Celebrate DEEP TIME with the artists, light refreshments and a performance by Lano, composer of the exhibit’s soundtrack.

For more information, visit ScottsdalePublicArt.org/temporary-art/exhibitions/gallery-civic-center-library. Questions about the exhibit: emailWendyR@ScottsdaleArts.org or call 480-874-4679. Questions about the workshops: email LHales@ScottsdaleArts.org or call 480-874-4642.



Otherworldly///Final Days Soft Spring by Lex Gjurasic

  Neptune , 39x40x2 inches mixed media on panel, 2017   

Neptune, 39x40x2 inches mixed media on panel, 2017


My heavenly painting Neptune from my Otherworldly series, which was on display last year at Tucson International Airport, was chosen by Tohono Chul Gallery to be a part of their exhibition of the same name!

Neptune will be on display in the exhibition Otherworldly at Tohono Chul April, 26 to August 12 in the Main Gallery. An artist reception will be held on Thursday, April 26th, 5:30-8:00pm. 

Tohono Chul Gallery is located at 7366 Paseo Del Norte, Tucson AZ 85704

To view all of my Otherworldly paintings follow this link.

And it's the last week to see Soft Spring at TMA Museum Store.

Go by before it's ends!

 Images by Tamara Wood

Images by Tamara Wood

Thank you! by Lex Gjurasic

Thank you to everyone who came out last Thursday night to the TMA Museum Store for a celebration of Soft Spring!

It was a great evening to revel in springtime energy while enjoying 3 beautifully floral vignettes within the gallery. If you weren't able to make it enjoy these photos below from the event. Do note that Soft Spring will be on display through the end of April in the Museum Store, so it's FREE to visit. View Soft Spring online here and if you see a piece you dig call the TMA Museum Store for availability and pricing. I'm sure they'd happy to ship it to you!

 All photos courtesy of Tamara Woods

All photos courtesy of Tamara Woods

This Is Tucson by Lex Gjurasic

Recently I welcomed This Is Tucson into my studio for a chat. The result is this lovely profile and photo essay about my work and the million projects I currently have going on right now.

Yes, I am really working on art in these pics and OF COURSE I always do so with glitzy oversized earrings on!

Read the full post here A Glimpse Into the Fantastical World of Tucson Artist Lex Gjurasic

 Photo courtesy of Angela Pittenger/This is Tucson/Arizona Daily Star

Photo courtesy of Angela Pittenger/This is Tucson/Arizona Daily Star

Soft Spring by Lex Gjurasic

Please come join me on Thursday, April 5th for the opening of Soft Spring!  I'm thrilled to be the featured Artist in The Museum Store at the Tucson Museum of Art & Historic Block and showcase this new work which is avaiable for purchase. The reception will be in coordination with other events that evening at TMA from 5-8pm. Soft Spring will be on display April 3-28.

Lex Gjurasic’s Soft Spring is new work that includes paintings, sculpture and wearable art. With Soft Spring Gjurasic embraces her synesthesia, allowing it to be involved in the creative process much like a divining rod, as opposed to treating the blending of sensory perceptions as a side effect of making art. The result is a wonderfully experimental body of mixed media work that draws its structural inspiration from botanical shapes, while having the textural quality and colors of edible confections. Gjurasic's synesthesia, in which colors have flavor, is even present in the title of this new work - Soft Spring; a play on words that speaks to both the floral motif and the texture of a perfect piece of cake.

More information here.

Facebook event.

 New sculptural hangable mixed media works...

New sculptural hangable mixed media works...

 ...as well as wearable leather flowers embellished with pearls, sequins and crystals. 

...as well as wearable leather flowers embellished with pearls, sequins and crystals. 

Update: DEEP TIME by Lex Gjurasic

I am having a lot of FUN working on DEEP TIME. We are deep in the thick of creation for the exhibition which will be on display May 29th-August 31 2018 at the Scottsdale Public Library.

You are invited to attend a special reception for DEEP TIME which will be held on the evening of May 26th.

You are also invited to follow along with this journey of Deep Time on my IG, @gjurasicpark

 Part of a super coral sculpture in the studio with Moonpie the cat.

Part of a super coral sculpture in the studio with Moonpie the cat.

 Super coral sculpture work in progress.  Magic Mountain

Super coral sculpture work in progress. Magic Mountain

Major Announcement! by Lex Gjurasic


 Myself and a collaborator have been tapped to by Scottsdale Public Art, the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale library to create a large scale temporary installation at the Scottsdale Library. Deep Time is the scientific term used to describe a time before man . For three months during the summer of 2018 Deep Time will be hosted by the Scottsdale library so you will be able to explore our imagined vision of the primordial seascape that once was the desert southwest.

Deep Time runs May 26 – August 31, 2018 

With an opening reception to be announced.
Scottsdale Public Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

There will be multiple events and workshops in coordination with Deep Time. More info to follow here on my blog!

Witness my work on the project on social media here, with #DeepTime.

We welcome any helping hands through volunteer oppertunities. 

Email me directly if you would like to get involved. 

I hope you make the time to come enjoy this experimental and encompassing exhibition.

See you in Scottsdale!


Spines @ DeGrazia by Lex Gjurasic


  The DeGrazia Foundation and Lex Gjurasic invites you to Spines, an exhibition of recent work inspired by the found objects of the borderlands, on display at The Little Gallery at the Gallery in the Sun from November 5th to November 17th with a reception on Saturday, November 11th 12-4pm at 6300 N. Swan, Tucson AZ 85718.

Spines is an exhibit of exuberant mixed media sculptures and paintings by Tucson-based artist Lex Gjurasic that draws inspiration from the desert environment and the enduring creative spirit of Ted DeGrazia.  For the duration of the exhibition Gjurasic will be present in the exhibition space daily during regular hours 10-4pm. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a mixed media sculpture also entitled Spines on display to the public for the first time. Spines is a 4 foot tall found calf spine, coated in beeswax and painstakingly covered in seed beads and embellished with quartz crystal points as to give it a holy glow. Gjurasic’s signature vibrant and inventive, and often experimental, works will include paintings and sculptures, works on wood, paper and bone as well as her charming handmade items available only during the Holidays.  

Says Gjurasic about the unveiling of Spines the sculpture, “This piece draws influence from Huichol indigenous traditions and is comprised of found objects collected in the desert. Spines pulls energy directly from the desert and plays upon the ancient and scientific idea that the spine is the spiritual energetic center of the body and biologically the nervous system. It is also a play upon words as the every cactus employs spines that protect it. Spines the sculpture was arduous to create taking over a year and a half. I’m proud to showcase it in such a holy place as the Little Gallery at the Gallery in the Sun.”

 Spines, detail, 36x16 inches, mixed media on bone, 2015-2017

Spines, detail, 36x16 inches, mixed media on bone, 2015-2017

Local News by Lex Gjurasic

 Two bits of news worthy local recognition...  LeadLocal honored me by naming me their Artist in Residence. I've been hanging work in their beautiful adobe building in the Barrio Viejo for over a year now, so we decided to make our mutual love official! Stop by to see what's on the walls and to find out more about what LeadLocal does for our community or your organization or businesses.    More about LeadLocal   #ThisIsTucson included a profile of me in their list of Riot Grrrls You Need To Know. I owe a lot to the Riot Grrrl feminists movement in the Pacific NW for allowing me as a teenage girl to find the voice that makes me the artist and woman I am today.   Read the full article here

Two bits of news worthy local recognition...

LeadLocal honored me by naming me their Artist in Residence. I've been hanging work in their beautiful adobe building in the Barrio Viejo for over a year now, so we decided to make our mutual love official! Stop by to see what's on the walls and to find out more about what LeadLocal does for our community or your organization or businesses. 

More about LeadLocal

#ThisIsTucson included a profile of me in their list of Riot Grrrls You Need To Know. I owe a lot to the Riot Grrrl feminists movement in the Pacific NW for allowing me as a teenage girl to find the voice that makes me the artist and woman I am today.

Read the full article here

The Value of Unsupportive Parents by Lex Gjurasic


There is nothing more annoying than listening to some other artist talk about how their path is adorably supported by their parents. They don’t have student loans, Mom and Dad footed the bill for school, no sad trips to Hobby Lobby to use a 40% off coupon on supplies. Only the BEST for Junior! Not to mention Mom and Dad absolutely love ALL their art. They are just SO PROUD!

And home, home ISN’T NYC! They are just interlopers till acclaim comes their way. Home is still home with Mommy and Daddy. Who are both still married, to each other, by the way.

Immediately, I started protest hopping, worshiping the devil, and making drawings based on hairless Japanese pornography.

Don’t discount the value of unsupportive parents.

You are going to SHOW THEM when you make it BIG!

As a result of your folks’ lack of believing in your dream of becoming a regarded artist, you have a burning fire in your belly. The fire to show them that they are wrong.

You have a desire to make art at any cost. Sure, it’s nice to have Mother show your work proudly to her church prayer group, then pray for your success through JESUSCHRISTOURLORD’SNAME AMEN. But you have been blessed with nothing left to lose. You are so hungry for success. Through their lack of support, you are more self-reliant and therefore more creative. Any piece of free flotsam on the side of the road is absolutely wrought with unlimited potential!

You are not a well-kept lapdog; you are an artistic dingo scavenging the city for found objects.

Not only have your parents not believed in your dream, they never will. They never understood you anyway. You have always been so much deeper than them. You have never fit into their suburban dream.


The benefit of your parents not giving a shit about your art is that you don’t have to give TWO SHITS back. You don’t have to care what they think of what you make. You are like a young Robert Mapplethorpe once he shook off the shackles of wanting his father’s approval and began to give ZERO FUX.

Better yet, you may not even know your dad! You are lucky to reside in good company with other great creative pioneers such as Jobs, Bezos and Superman.

You DON’T NEED THEM anyway. You are an autonomous individual who makes whatever you want. Sure, those other patsies whose parents love them make art, but it is privy to their parent’s approval.

Do you know what happens when your parents pay $200K for art college? They are so invested in your work that they expect results they can show the neighbors AND that matches the couch. Basically they own your ass.

The best advice I got from my mentor was that if your parents aren’t paying your way, they can’t tell you what to do. It was a light bulb moment.

Immediately, I started protest hopping, worshiping the devil, and making drawings based on hairless Japanese pornography.

Who was to say no?

Who would disapprove of my new artwork?

Who would cast a shameful eye on me? Not my boyfriend at the time, I’ll tell you that.

When I went to Mexico City for a protest I was participating in, I met with a radical arts collective in DF and naively asked them if they had financial support from the government for their work. They scoffed, “NO WAY! Then they would tell us what to do!” Not to mention the Mexican government had burned their printing press the year before….

Returning to the US, I had a revelation. Any artist who made the public even the least bit uncomfortable and was funded through the NEA or through any other governmental organization was pretty much fucked.

David Wojnarowicz’s ant-covered Jesus video made ME feel uncomfortable; I can’t imagine how his parents must have felt. But I’m sure they don’t really care. If they had cared, he wouldn’t have been able to work so wildly and untethered. He would have backed away from the edge and ruined the nature of the sublime rawness of his art.

If your Ma and Pa have ever suggested that perhaps you have a “backup plan” to becoming an artist, like court reporting school, becoming a legal secretary, or getting a “real” degree—or if they want you to be a bit “more practical” and are straight up NOT willing to pay for a degree in Fine Art—you have been gifted with the blessing of parents who don’t support your vision.

The truth is that it’s just your art vs. the world. And be damned if you allow wanting their approval to make you fail.


10x10 by Lex Gjurasic

 Your first opportunity to see new works from my  Soft Spring  series of sculptural objects at Tohono Chul Gallery this fall. I have been invited to include a few pieces in Tohono Chul Gallery's 10x10 small works invitational.  All pieces in the exhibition are no larger than 10 inches in size and all are $100.  10x10 will on display in the Entry Gallery 10/6-12/17 with an opening reception on Thursday, 11/16 from 5:30-8:00.  This should be a fun and frenzied event!   More info at tohonochulpark.org

Your first opportunity to see new works from my Soft Spring series of sculptural objects at Tohono Chul Gallery this fall. I have been invited to include a few pieces in Tohono Chul Gallery's 10x10 small works invitational.

All pieces in the exhibition are no larger than 10 inches in size and all are $100.

10x10 will on display in the Entry Gallery 10/6-12/17 with an opening reception on Thursday, 11/16 from 5:30-8:00.

This should be a fun and frenzied event! 

More info at tohonochulpark.org

Southwestern Obsession by Lex Gjurasic


Endless inspiration, if you can take the heat.

Before moving to New Mexico, my only reference to Albuquerque was in  Bugs Bunny cartoons as the destination arrived at only when lost. Over the past decade, I’ve lived and explored a good chunk of the Southwest—everywhere from Abiquiu to Marfa to T or C to Sasabe.  And now I live in Tucson and like Bugs, I arrived in Arizona unintentionally, and fell in love.

For an artist, the Sonoran desert is beyond beautiful and infinitely inspirational.

When you are a transplant to any new place, you tend to gravitate towards other transplants. For locals, exploring is old hat. To them old haunts are uninteresting and patinated with history.

The desert southwest is everywhere and nowhere.

Then there are the intentional Southwestern transplants, those who actually wanted to move to the Southwest from New York to Los Angeles. They flock to the desert like members of a cult. You sit with them and begin to hear the fabled tales that motivated their move to the desert; the O’Keefeeian light, the Taos hum, the Sedona vortex, the Santa Fe energies all beckoning to them.

“New Mexico is very BIG in New York. It’s a thing,” a NYC transplant once told me.

Oh really?

For Los Angeleno transplants, the slight eastward migration is best explained a bit more practically. It’s the cost of living that can’t be beat. As an artist, you can live anywhere in the Southwest, make your art and make your rent. Arizona has everything SoCal, minus the beach (unless you count the 4 hour drive to Mexico.) Plus, it is only a quick hop on the plane back to LA, I mean civilization.

It’s true, the light is amazing. Not only is there no smog, there are also no buildings over 10 floors tall to clutter the landscape. In fact, the desert’s almost nonexistent humidity brightens the sky to a turquoise blue that Los Angelenos lust after.

Before you go renting a U-Haul in a fog of cactus infatuation, this is what you need to know about SWern lyfe.

If you have a family history of skin cancer this may not be the best place to take up plein air painting. Also, true locals WILL be annoyed by you and won’t care about your art. Do bring your art connections when you move, you’ll need them. Yes, the Southwest is a Mecca for artists, but come visit before you move, and visit in midsummer.

Remember no place is NYC except for NYC. No one wants to hear about how you can’t get a good bowl of ramen in Albuquerque. Get over it and embrace the green chile, and know that low-carb in the SW means not eating the flour tortilla on your breakfast burrito.

A great example of “Big City” culture clash with the Southwest is on the website for the Roswell Artist-In-Residence Program in Roswell, New Mexico. This residency is one of the rare family friendly residencies in the nation. The FAQs section on the site includes the question of educational options for artist spawn in the area, which is answered with: “Yes, but no fancy type schools. Just the old-fashioned public schools and a few preschools. There are a few church type schools.”

How many times do you think they had to answer that question before they had to put it on the website?

Ever heard the saying “The First World falls in love with the Third World”? Well, I feel like this exact phenomenon happens with artists and the mythical Southwest. But there is so much more than Navajo fiber arts, turquoise jewelry, and gay rodeo cowboys to entice artists to the Wild West.

And forget about the damn the light; it’s the smell that’s intoxicating. Winter in the SW is typified by the smoke of piñon wood and magical fucking candles in paper bags. And the summer’s monsoon (rainy) season is just as fragrant with the scent of the creosote bush which basically smells like rain on the concrete without having to be honked at in the city.

Ok, the light here is incredible, except when it’s  not, like when the apocalyptic dust storms called haboobs engulf everything. And you better watch out because a flash flood can take out both you and your land art! New York may have rats and cockroaches but the Southwest has black widows, palo verde beetles, scorpions AND rattlesnakes. Oh, and they ALL will be in your studio.

Sure the Southwest is picturesque and endlessly inspiring for artists, but the idea of the Southwest can be starkly different from the reality.

New Mexicans playfully call the “Land of Enchantment” the “Land of Entrapment.” And rightfully so! If you are born here in relative isolation, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to leave. I heard an interview with Santa Fe-resident and actress Shirley MacLaine in which she said if New Mexico loves you here it will hold you here, but if it doesn’t love you, it will kick your ass!

For me the desert southwest is everywhere and nowhere.

It’s the only place I’ve lived where I’ve experienced both a deeply spiritual solitude and an invigorating cultural community. It’s definitely NOT for everyone. And it’s definatly not the landscape in the background of the Looney Tunes cartoon. It’s absolutely lunar and otherworldly and it won’t stroke your ego or kiss your ass. There is nothing between you and the prick of a cactus.

Plus, it’s hard to wear black here all the time, but you can try.

Welcome Summer! by Lex Gjurasic


As things get obnoxiously hot in Tucson my plan to deal with the heat is to be emerged in work in my cool studio.

I just wanted to remind everyone that if you do want to get out and see art this summer I have 3 floating paintings still on display in the exhibition Arizona Abstraction at Tohono Chul Park. Arizona Abstraction will be on display through August.

And yes, there is air conditioning!

My studio is as always avaiable for visits upon request.

Contact me to set up a time to come by and I'll make lemonade for us.



Spring Updates by Lex Gjurasic


Last week Arizona Spotlight's Vanessa Barchfield came to my studio and we chatted about art, robbing banks and Polar Pop cups. You can listen to the full interview online on Arizona NPR.


Muchas thank you to everyone who came out to the opening reception party for Stamp Out Reality! It was so much fun. Stamp Out Reality! is will be on display at Tiny Town Gallery, 408 N. 4th Ave, Tucson AZ 85705 thru April 30th. The exhibition was also mentioned in #ThisIsTucson as part of it's suggestions of 30 Things to do in Tucson this April. 


I will also have a few of my smaller cut-out paintings on display at Tohono Chul Gallery in the exhibition Arizona Abstract which runs 4/27-8/13 with an opening reception on Thursday 4/27 5:30-8pm. Tohono Chul Gallery is at 5366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tucson AZ  85704.

 Come by and say hi!


 Photo: Vanessa Barchfeild      

Photo: Vanessa Barchfeild



STAMP OUT REALITY! by Lex Gjurasic

I invite you to Stamp Out Reality!

Join me for an immersive exhibition of psychedelic paintings and conceptual sculptures hosted by Tiny Town Gallery, 408 N. 4th Ave, Tucson AZ. 85705.

Stamp Out Reality! is on display April 4 -April 30, 2017.

Opening party Friday, April 7, 6-9pm.

Tiny Town Gallery has invited me to install an art experience that Stamps Out Reality! The exhibition is composed of my Styrofoam conceptual cactus sculptures that were created for and installed at the inaugural year of the Dusk Music Fest as well as my levitating Otherworldly cut-out panel paintings that were previously on display at Tucson International Airport.

“ Stamp Out Reality! was a Vietnam era protest slogan on a button worn by my friend’s father. This phrase resonates even more so now more than ever in this time of infotainment, truthiness and alternative facts…why not get lost in the imagination of the artist?”

The exhibition Stamp Out Reality! will also be punctuated with a limited edition run of buttons printed by Tanline Printing. 

How To Raise A Creative Child by Lex Gjurasic



I had a play date with a mom who lauded the benefit of sports for children: “Life’s all about competition. That is just how the world works!” I nodded my head in agreement but this philosophy of child-rearing just didn’t jive with me. And I continued to contemplate it.

Is the whole world competing with each other?

Is competition the golden key to raising a child into a successful adult?

Besides the obvious Capitalist implications of her statement, it was a total turn off to me. Of course there are real benefits for children participating in organized sports such as exercise, learning cooperation, team work. And every one of these things, not just competition, does benefit a person into adulthood.

I’m not into sports for myself or for my child but that does not mean I’m opposed to them. My daughter has just shown no interest in sports. Of course if she showed interest or asked to play a sport I’d sign her up.

How will she EVER succeed in a competitive world!?

I can hear the chorus of soccer moms now: But she needs exercise! Children need to be active!

It’s hard for sports-minded people to understand that art is a process, not a race.

 Now back to the “fact” that the world is based on competition. Well, it’s NOT for artists as well as many other brave souls.

I tried to imagine framing my artistic endeavors within the context of competition. Unlike the myth of the free market, it wouldn’t result in “better” art. To have strong artistic results, you must compete, but only with yourself. When you enter into your studio you do it with the BANG of a starter pistol. You’re off and running, making art as if you are the lone athlete on a track in an empty stadium, with no one to witness your feats. It doesn’t even matter if you run in a circle or even cross the finish line. It’s hard for sports-minded people to understand that art is a process, not a race.

Sure, there is a facet of competition within the world of the professional art. We compete for grants, juried exhibitions, media attention, and (if you believe in the myth of scarcity) gallery representation. 

So how do you raise an inherently artistic child into an artist?

Well, you can’t.

Either it’s there or it’s not.

As a child, I was exposed to all types of art and given the supplies but never told how to use them. As a child, I needn’t be encouraged to be creative, I desired it and wanted to do it.

You can’t Tiger Woods or Serena Williams your child into art. Meaning, as an artist myself, I can’t coach my child to be an artist as well. That’s not how it works. It is a very American thing to take the slightest talent your child shows in something and focus everything on that interest and make it the nexus of their entire life. It’s also a very American mentality to think the whole world is competing with you.

You can’t achieve success in a child artist by standing on the sidelines of the classroom art exhibition and yell “YOU CAN DO IT! YOUR CERAMIC ASH TRAY IS THE BEST! CREAM ‘EM!”

If you try to raise an artist, you are bound to fail miserably. Art is a practice, not a game. Creativity, however, can be fostered in the right environment.

What does it take to be an artist? It takes sensitivity to the world. It takes the development of introspection that is the impetus to come to the studio with a desire to express one’s self.

Even if all the stars align and you’ve created the optimal home environment to raise, I mean prune, your little bonsai child into an artist—you might not get an artist. You might raise a stellar abstract thinker, a brilliant chemist, an emotionally intelligent stay-at-home mom, a rebellious Young Republican, or a spatially aware soccer player.

When you read about what is lacking in the American educational system versus what is valued globally in successful citizens the answer is always CREATIVITY.

Creativity cannot be fostered through competition.

Creativity doesn’t oblige rules, it breaks the rules. Creativity is an abstract thought that has been given the time and encouragement to be able to be brought to fruition. Where is the time to daydream in an average child’s day? Where is imagination encouraged in their schedule?

Creativity takes quietude; it takes a breath, a moment in nature.

It takes a mind to be on the verge of boredom in order to dig deep into imagination.

And it needs a parent who takes their hands off the wheel. A parent that stops molding, constructing, fostering and instead allows a child to immerse themselves in what looks, to an outsider, like nothingness.