Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Ownership of Art

My daughter is an artist.

I think she's a good artist.

Remember here that she is only four years old. I am 43 and the best thing that I have produced so far is this:

I made the picture and then she took it off the fridge, where it had been hanging for months. She then stapled a whole bunch of pages together, glued my picture on the front, put a blue border around it, glued on a big green heart and then "wrote" (in brightly coloured seagull squiggles) a book about the picture (that's her and me under an apple tree, btw).

I was immensely flattered.

Since the day she was born

she has had a vote in our family decisions. Not always a full vote, because really, dude, sometimes you have to go to the dentist instead of watching Scooby Doo and then going for ice cream at the Quay, but her voice has always been heard. Often stridently. Nearly always (I hope) with respect and consideration.

She knows what belongs to her and what nobody can mess with. This philosophy of child-rearing has caused us grief in the past and likely will cause us far more grief in the future, however I believe it's the only possible way to raise a person who has a chance of being a whole, healthy, happy human being.

Last week at daycare one of the daddies said to me "There's a really good piece of art in xxx's cubbie. Eleanor made it and gave it to him." I said, "Oh cool, that's great," not knowing where this was going. He then said, "You should take a look at it." I said, "Sure, I'd love to, I adore what she makes." He then said, "I think it's her best work to date, it's really beautiful, and I want to know if it's ok for xxx to take it home."

I was impressed that he acknowledged her talent by calling it "her best work", but really, I was all W.T. Fuck? and responded with "Of course it's OK. She made it, it belongs to her and she gave it to him. It's his now and he can take it home, it was a gift."

But still this father seemed to think that I should have a look at it (and frankly it was just a bunch of flowers and glitter glued on to something in an attractive manner) and give permission for my daughter to give it away.

Is it just me? This concept was so strange to me. Art is so personal and what she makes, I do not under any circumstances own. How could I? I didn't make it.

Am I missing something here, or do I need to start saving now so I can contribute to the cost of his kid's therapy?

She left an incredible metallic rainbow in his cubbie as we left today. I expect to have to go through this routine again on Monday.

Fuck. It's hardly a concern, as she is far too pretty to be out and I'm sending her off to the Carmelites next month, but why can't my kid fall for boys whose parents are artists?

Send help.

LOL. I hear ya. What was UP with that uptight guy? My daughter is 20 and involved with a guy whose family also has NO appreciation for the arts. Which really sucks, since both my daughter and their son are accomplished actors who feel their lives are not complete unless they're acting.....You sound, in parenting, exactly the way my husband and I have always tried to be.... keep it up!
You have an opportunity to teach this father. Slowly and gently over a period of time (so he is not traumatized) show him that children are people too......not possesions.
Parents can be extremely uptight; he is just trying to be politically correct; but he also a appears to be in awe of your daughter's creativity and generosity, she is like her mama I suspect. Kindness is something we should never quell in our children...keep up the good work! Love the wee baby picture of you and her together for the first time. You look like you are in sheer amazement and wonder of Her Most Royal Highness.

I do really like the second pic..the blue flower with the yellow and orange centre.

If it isn't in the pasted book, I'd be honoured to hang it on my wall. I would frame it and cherish it..I do mean that.

Damn, I have a talented niece! Must be her upbringing on the maternal side..

the brother (Stuart)
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