Updated: Jul 27
Just like every great movie has a theme and a purpose, the best art tells a story and carries a message.
As you design your next art piece, consider asking yourself:
Is there a story I can tell with my art?
Is there a message I can demonstrate with my paint?
What experience do I want for the viewer?
In this mural, the story is any adventure one can imagine, and the child is the hero. The message is that she is brave, she is strong, and she is bold. The experience is fun and exciting.
As a child walks through this mural, he feel like an adventurer. He exercises not only his body but also his imagination. He is developing a love for nature and animals. He is learning to see himself as a brave explorer, as he hops from painted rock to rock, navigates a tight rope, and splashes into the water.
The purpose of the mural is more than just encouraging students to take a new route to school to improve traffic patterns. We transformed a once-creepy sidewalk into a whimsical forest scene so that kids can feel excited to walk to school as they develop their identities and their confidence!
Another thing you can do to add more impact to your art is to create a piece in collaboration with others. When we dream and draw together, we can reach new levels of creativity.
Before painting, I brainstormed with my mentor Theresa Dedmon and artist Zoey Rosenthal to create a design that would delight students.
I painted this mural with the help of the Arts Transformation team that I led as well as volunteers of all ages.
The original plan was to allow some of the school children to stencil animal tracks on the painted grass, but we ended up skipping that due to the school's scheduling. I'm mentioning this by way of example of things you can try.
When you collaborate, people of all skills can join in, and the younger or less experienced artists can take the easier (but equally important) tasks such as blocking in base coats of colors.
Not everyone will love your creativity every time, and behind every piece of art there is a critic shaking her fist. One morning when we arrived to paint, we found out that a grumpy neighbor had dumped muddy water on our half-finished mural! Thankfully, the neighbor on the other side helped us clean it with her hose.
Art is about more than creating beautiful pictures. Art is about bringing people together, nurturing creativity, and impacting those around you in a meaningful way.