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Re: Crazy Kids...funky doo's, and the need for a "Voice!"

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From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Nov 02 2000 - 04:25:55 PST


> have you ever noticed how art 3 & 4
> attracts these crazy kids with multiple piercings and goofy
> haircuts?? Deb W

Deb...

have to laugh....but you are right, and there is good reason for this! Each
generation seems to do what it needs to do to get a rise out of its adult
population. To draw attention to itself, the "shock" factor. I heard a
statistic about 10 years ago that cited the average adult spending about
eight minutes in meaningful conversation per week with their teen. How they
did such a survey, I haven't a clue...however, teens are hungering for
attention.

Imagine...in a culture that has grown accustomed to piercings, funky hair
and color, tatoos... having survived the big hair 80's with torn jeans and
spandex, trying to find an identity and stand out in a crowd!

At any rate...such students become somewhat introverted, though their
outward expressions seem to suggest otherwise. The learn the arts give them
a voice. A voice that first speaks to themselves...then one they learn can
reach out to others.

Vincent Van Gogh went thru the same process. Rejection after
rejection....from his first advocations of failed ministry thru the church,
missionary ventures, his family, etc.... Some contemporary thinkers believe
he turned to images as a means to find a voice yet to possibly express
himself thru. When he discovered such, he became a prolific machine. In a
ten year period crankin' out 800 drawings and 900 paintings, and selling
only one all that time for about $80......!!

On the flip side, the students that find easy expression and gained
attention thru activities such as sports, ....seem proportionately not to
put as much value on their desire/need to explore the arts, for their need
for attention is being satisfied. I'm not saying athletes don't like making
art, for there is obviously a wide mix of those that enjoy art making...but
I'm saying the need is lessened by the attention they routinely get.

Art making and self-expression is very satisfying for many young people that
have faced hurt, rejection, and confusion. It has been my experience that
high school counselors tend to tap into the art department staff, knowing
that useful information to help particular kids often rise in the art room
envirnoment!

That art making tends to give the rejected a sense of empowerment is one
reason many prison inmates develop into some very fine artists, and IMHO if
the government were serious about their defense of punitive time being
rehabilitative, they would be wise to develop well staffed and supplied art
departments in all medium and maximum security systems.

Larry Seiler