Messy is good!

Working at YCS as an assistant teacher for 4+ years and being active as an artist for about 14 years, there’s something I’ve noticed (though this is purely my own observation and thoughts). Maybe, acquiring art skill is similar to acquiring a new language.

I wonder, for you as a parent, do you wish your child to make neat and clean artwork? And if that’s the case, what we send home can be a disappointment for you? Even at times, we teachers wonder if a work (so messy) is worth sending home (which we do most of the time). But then I thought about it as something similar to the language-acquiring process. It’s often said that children need to spend a lot of time listening to a language before starting to speak the language. Maybe it’s the same thing with art. Children needs tons and tons of messy works before they start to make their own special works! Messy is good, because that means they are enjoying the materials. If they skip this “enjoying the mess” process (which artists might also call “become friends with the medium”), I think their artworks will be timid and unconfident expressions. If the experience is fun, it will naturally lead them to a desire to be better, then there’s skills and techniques to learn (as how a language should be acquired!). So please let them have messy experiences as much as they can… and be generous about the stains on their clothes!