I’ve been holding on to this post for quite some time now, waiting for the perfect moment to release its awesomeness– and today is the day.
I’ve worked with children for almost 10 years and there is nothing I love more than HORRIBLE KID’S ART. It’s rare comedic gold.
Children have the best intentions, but it is incredibly hard to hold back the laughter when you get self portraits you pray you don’t resemble.
Yes, at some point we’ve all been guilty of this. For me, I found my “horrible art phase” later than most. I remember drawing pictures of my friend in high school and when I presented them my hard work they were… less than ecstatic. (I’ll still draw you if you ask really nicely)
Anyway! When I came across the Monster Engine I was immediately captivated. Dave Devries has turned a laughing matter into something truly beautiful and never before imagined.
I enjoyed looking through his gallery (before he got smart and took most of it down) creating stories that could accompany his images. When looking at his photos ask yourself: How was the monster created? What does it eat? Who does it scare the most?
Hope you enjoyed his work too, his Video and Artist Statement are in the “read more” section.
“The genesis of The Monster Engine project began at the Jersey Shore in 1997 when my 7-year-old niece Jessica snatched my sketchbook and filled it with images. Her drawings were unselfconscious and possessed an intuitive understanding of the creative process, unhindered by convention. Others have explored this intuitive process that children grasp instinctively—the idea that an artist can “unlearn” adult convention to draw instinctively like a child. However, my goal is different. In The Monster Engine, I combine adult experience with childhood creativity, using a collection of paintings that stem from children’s drawings.
In my illustration career, mostly the comic books and video game markets, I draw and paint without reference, often inventing light, shadow, and texture to render imaginary people and settings. This technique allows me to visualize simple ideas that many people can grasp. The goal of illustration has always been communication. A child, however, ignores the idea of mass communication by creating images solely from his or her mind. Often, a parent must ask the child to describe what exactly the young artist is drawing.
Combining these two diametrically opposed approaches to art creates a synergy of tension—tenuously linked by a lack of reference. This is crucial because imposing exact reference destroys the common language between them.
In The Monster Engine, I visually map that language.
The process is simple. I project the child’s drawing with an opaque projector and faithfully trace each line. Applying a combination of logic and instinct, I then paint the image. My medium is mixed—primarily acrylic, airbrush, and colored pencil. In addition, I have conducted interviews with each child about the paintings created from their drawings. All rights have been transferred through proper legal documentation signed by each parent.
The resulting show would contain the paintings, the child’s drawings for comparison, recorded sound-bite interviews, and each child’s photograph. Painting sizes would vary.
The main draw for this show is seeing the process in action. To this end, I have been able to distill the entire painting process down to a half hour session followed by a interview period with the child who did the drawing—this is all in front of an audience. Ancillary promotional demonstrations prior to the actual gallery opening can be done at schools in the area to drum up interest. The demonstration element to the show plays well with newspapers and TV as it is visual and action oriented.
My eventual goal with The Monster Engine is to create a viable property that allows me to roam in unexplored artistic territory yet can reach many people through gallery shows, books, TV and digital media. “
If you’re interested in purchasing The Monster Engine you can buy the book here.