No two artists see the world in the same way. Ask a group of them to draw a flower, and you’ll end up with many different interpretations. That’s why learning about visual arts in childhood is so important — it gives your child a window into another person’s world. You can learn a lot from other people’s art. By exploring work by different artists, kids can learn about technique, style, and even subject matter. They can find inspiration in these works and apply this understanding to their own endeavors, both in art and life in general. Take these five artists, for example. Let’s take a look at the world through their eyes, and what your child can learn from their art.
Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941)
Take inspiration from your roots
Amrita Sher-Gil was a pioneer of modern Indian art. She was born in Budapest, Hungary to a Hungarian mother and Indian father, but moved to Shimla in early childhood.
At age 16, she moved to Paris to continue her artistic study and was quite successful in her early career. Though she was influenced by European styles, her artwork was undoubtedly Indian. Her paintings featured Indian subjects — often women — going about their daily lives. Her ability to capture subtle emotions, as well as her style and subject matter, has made her well known as “The Frida Khalo of India”.
From Amita Sher-Gil, your child can learn to find inspiration in the melting pot of experiences that shape their life.
M. F Hussain (1915-2011)
Find your style and celebrate it
Maqbool Fida Hussain (M.F Hussain) was one of India’s most eminent artists. After attending art school in Mumbai (then Bombay), he began his career painting cinema hoardings. However, it’s his original works that really capture the imagination.
His stylistic approach can inspire your child to experiment and add their own flair to even the most common subjects. He was greatly inspired by the European cubism style and was known for mixing history, culture, and his own personal memories into an eye-catching collage of vibrant color.
The result? A unique look that can’t be missed or forgotten!
Frida Khalo (1907-1954)
Let your passion shine through, no matter what
Frida Khalo is a Mexican artist known for her vibrant and surreal self-portraits. Frida had a very difficult life, from childhood disease to a debilitating bus accident, to a tumultuous marriage. But she didn’t let any of this stop her, and often drew inspiration from her pain.
Her paintings are often a contrast of bright colors, darker emotions, and classical techniques, and surreal imagery.
Frida Khalo’s life and work is a great lesson in doing what you love despite, or even because of, the challenges you face along the way.
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Find beauty in the everyday
Van Gough decided to become an artist at age 27, and he wasn’t particularly popular during his life. In fact, he only sold one painting while he was alive. However, today his works are considered masterpieces because they depict the world as he saw it.
Van Gough struggled a lot with both poverty and his mental health, spending much of his later years hospitalized. But he brought his unique perspective to the everyday sights of the Dutch countryside where he lived. His expressive brushstrokes bring these simple scenes alive and touch the heart of viewers even now, centuries after his death.
From Van Gough, your child can learn to appreciate and get excited about even the simplest facets of life.
Hayao Miyazaki (1941-present)
Believe in the unbelievable
Though Miyazaki is best known as the animation director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, he claims that he is “not a storyteller, [but] a man who draws pictures”.
Miyazaki’s childhood in post-war Japan comes through in his work, which often has anti-war and coming-of-age themes. However, he has pioneered a signature style that makes Ghibli animation synonymous with comfort, adventure, and whimsy.
It’s a lesson in embracing the fantastic and finding hope and magic even in the darkest, most dreary moments. Miyazaki combines the contemporary Japanese lifestyle and a cozy aesthetic with traditional folklore and magical elements to create fantasy worlds that appeal to people of all ages. And the best part? You can experience these worlds from the comfort of your own home — just turn on any Ghibli movie!
Faith Ringgold (1930-present)
All you gotta do is try
Ringgold is an american artist who has dabbled in painting, writing, media sculpting, performing arts and is now known by the world for her awe inspiring narrative quilts.
A proud risk taker, Faith Ringgold has taken paths in her career as an artist only few dare to even cross. Her early work brought to light pressing issues of racism and feminism that unnerved the audiences and while garnering a great deal of attention, made sales extremely difficult. Some of her works during this time were also politically based, speaking to the Harlem Renaissance.
Her work with narrative quilts also furthered her advocation of the feminist movement through the symbolism of independence displayed by the ease of rolling up quilts, therefore negating the need of any assistance from men.
From Ringgold, every child learns about the power held in the intolerance of intolerance.
Wassily Kadinsky (1866-1944)
It’s never too late
Born in Moscow, Russian painter and art theorist Kandinsky did not uncover his love for art until much later in life. Having begun his academic journey in law and economics, Kandinsky ended it with painting studies at the age of 30.
Generally credited as the pioneer of abstract art, Kadinsky introduced geometric forms, lines, and colors into the mainstream world of art and conveyed the idea that they represent the inner life of an artist through his own explosive paintings.
Through Kandinsky, young learners discover that it is never too late to pursue your passions.
Henri Émile Benoît Matisse (1869-1954)
Painting with scissors
A gifted French artist, known for his draughtsmanship, printmaking, and sculptures, Matisse is to thank for giving us a reason to break out the scissors and glue.
Widely regarded as the greatest colorist of the 20th century, Matisse is known for popularising the use of color to set the foundation for expressive, decorative and large-scale paintings.
From Henri, kids can learn about the value and strength of expression through art.
George Seurat (1859-1891)
Add some colour, or even a dot
A French post-Impressionist artist, Seurat is best known for giving the world pointillism.
In 1884 Seurat began to work on his masterpiece in secret. He used pointillism to paint a 6 feet 10 inches tall by 10 feet 1 inches wide painting called Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The artwork was made entirely with small dots of pure color and took him nearly two years to finish. Each morning he would go to the scene and make sketches.
From Seurat, young learners can understand the importance of thinking out of the box and exploring.
Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Eye to paper
Oscar-Claude Monet was a gifted French painter popularly known to be the founder of impressionist painting, an art seen by many as a key precursor to modernism.
Monet strived to paint nature as he perceived it. In addition to being the initiator and leader of the Impressionist style, Monet was also an unswerving advocate of it. His love for nature and putting it on paper made him a passionate artist known by many for saying “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”
Art is a gateway to empathy and imagination, a wonderful way for your child to showcase the world as they see it. These artists are just the tip of the iceberg. As they explore the wide world of visual arts, they can uncover more colors to add to the vibrant mural of their life.