Now that I’ve been visiting Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art museums at a fast pace since taking on a degree in Creative Therapy (Visual Arts), I decided to find out more about artist inspired art projects for kids.
Now, let me tell you the internet does not disappoint! There are A LOT of kid art projects based on the masters of modern and post-modern art and in itself that is a good thing. You simply can not start early enough introducing big art to small people. The tricky thing is finding your way through all these images, websites and blog posts that not all lead you where you want to go.
So, me being me, I’ve organised them for you. You’ll find them neatly structured by art movement and on a semi-correct time line. Then I couldn’t resist adding a bit of background information so it all makes more sense.
It only took me almost a week to work through it all and you’re most welcome. If there is ever a creative way to study your modern, post-modern and contemporary art history, this is it!
In trying to organise the artists and the art movements they were part of, I based myself on my Modern Art encyclopedia by TASCHEN. As you’re browsing through this comprehensive list, you’ll notice that not all artists only ‘belong’ to one art movement. Some (like Pablo Picasso) had lengthy careers and made different styles of art over the years.
That and keeping in mind that I’m not an art historian, you’ll be fine. Enjoy!
“painting with light and colour”
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy. That philosophy was to express nature as ‘impressions’. Impressionists started painting outside, with quick brush strokes so they could capture ‘the moment’. Until that day, all art was painted in art studios inside.
George Seurat was slightly obsessed with the colour theory and discovered that if you place dots of primary colours close together, the eyes will do all the work of mixing them for you. And so pointillism was born.
Vincent Van Gogh took impressionism to the next level and is more known as a post-impressionist as he moved away from the ‘sensibilities’ of the impressionist through his bright colours, outspoken energetic, impulsive movement and emotion in his paintings.
Henry Matisse took it even a step forward and revolutionised early 19oo’s art through his ‘fauvist’ art movement. Fauvism (fauve = wild beast in French) was all about painting with wild emotion often without regard for the subject’s natural colours.
“eye to eye with the sfinx”
Gustav Klimt was a very controversial painter in his day. The Vienna high society thought his work was too erotic, but many of them commissioned him to paint their portraits. He is famous for his ‘golden’ phase and being a mentor to young Egon Schiele. Most of the inspiration for his symbolic paintings came from Japanese art.
“a new pattern of thinking”
Pablo Picasso must have been one of the most interesting people you could meet in those days. He had an amazing artistic career as a painter and sculpture artist. One thing I read about Picasso is that he was very competitive and as new art movements followed each other at a rapid pace in the modernist time, he was driven to be the best and one step ahead of his colleague avant-garde ‘competitors’.
Sonia Delaunay was the wife of Robert Delaunay and co-founder of the Orphism art movement, known for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. She was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964. We love that!
He is known for portraits and nudes in a modern style characterized by elongation of faces and figures, that were not received well during his lifetime. Believe it or not, but he was so poor, he gave away much of his work in return for meals.
“art + action +life = futurism”
Wassily Kandinsky was a Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting one of the first recognised purely abstract works. Kadinsky wasn’t immediately granted admission to an academic art school so he started learning about art on his own.
Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually deeply explored color theory, writing about it extensively. His lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory, published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks, are held to be as important for modern art as Leonardo da Vinci’s A Treatise on Painting for the Renaissance.
Piet Mondriaan is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th century abstract art, as he moved from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his art was reduced to simple geometric elements: basic shapes and primary colours. He was a contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group who believed this basic abstract art form was necessary to create universal beauty and a more peaceful world.
“before there was dada, dada was there”
“the truth of the visible”
Georgia O’Keeffe is an American artist, also known as the “mother of American modernism”. She was best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. About the one New Mexico mountain she painted over and over again she said “God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.”
Max Beckmann is known for the self-portraits painted throughout his life, their number and intensity rivaled only by those of Rembrandt and Picasso. Unlike several of his avant-garde contemporaries, Beckmann rejected non-representational painting. Instead, he took up and advanced the tradition of figurative painting and reinvented the tradition of religious tryptich painting and bringing that type of medieval art into the modern time.
“living the dream”
Joan Miró was a Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona. His work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike and a manifestation of Catalan pride. In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an “assassination of painting” and in doing so re-defined what people at the time though of as ‘beautiful’ art.
Calder was an American sculptor known as the originator of the mobile, a type of moving sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended shapes that move in response to touch or air currents. Calder’s monumental stationary sculptures are called ‘stabiles’. He also produced wire figures, which are like drawings made in space, and notably a miniature circus work that was performed by the artist.
Karel Appel was one of the founders of the avant-garde movement Cobra in 1948. CoBrA artists cooperated by collectively painting the insides of houses. They painted typical ‘childish’ and spontaneous picture language that wasn’t very popular at the time. Appel used this very intensively and his 1949 fresco ‘Questioning Children’ in Amsterdam City Hall even caused such controversy that it was covered up for ten years.
“a constant search for one self”
Jackson Pollock was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was well known for his unique style of drip painting, which was on HUGE surfaces which were on the ground. Pollock talks about painting intuitively and being part of the painting as he walks around and even over it. He also preferred using sticks, trowels and anything else at hand over traditional materials.
Mark Rothko began writing a book, never completed, about similarities in the art of children and the work of modern painters: “The fact that one usually begins with drawing is already academic. We start with color.” For Mark Rothko, looking at a painting should be an emotional and spiritual experience. To allow maximum interpretation by the viewer, he even stopped naming and framing his paintings, referring to them only by numbers.
“the tension between art and reality”
Johns is best known for his painting of the American flag. His work is often described as Neo-Dadaist, as opposed to Pop Art. Still, many compilations on pop art include Jasper Johns as a pop artist because of his artistic use of classical iconography.
Andy Warhol’s screen printed images of Marilyn Monroe, soup cans, and sensational newspaper stories, are synonymous with Pop art. He emerged from the poverty of an Eastern European immigrant family, to become a charismatic magnet for bohemian New York, and to ultimately find a place in the High Society. For many his ascent echoes one of Pop art’s ambitions, to bring popular styles and subjects into the exclusive salons of high art. His crowning achievement was the elevation of his own persona to the level of a popular icon, representing a new kind of fame and celebrity for a fine artist.
Roy Lichtenstein is well known for his comic strip based art, which he enlarged and painted in the large pixels of the newspaper print. His work defined the point of pop art through parody.
Did you know that Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” print was first created for the Museum of Modern Art’s Christmas card in 1965?
James Rizzi came up with the idea of 3D multiples now mostly associated with his name. When he was taking classes in painting, printmaking and sculpturing, he had to hand in grade work for all three subjects, but only had time for doing one. So he created an etching, printed it twice, hand coloured it, and mounted parts of the one print on top of the other, using wire as a means of adding depth. Having received good grades from all three teachers, he stuck with the idea and developed it further.
Gerhard Richter is one of te few artists who has a long lasting career and has almost continuously been at the top of his game. He moved graciously through numerous art movements and stood up for traditional paintings as artistic value when in the 1960’s and 70’s it was thought to have become redundant.
“what you see is what you see”
“ideas, systems, processes”
“a more human world than the old one”
Mike Kelley is an artist that used a variety of different media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, video, and writing. In the 1980s he became known for working with another type of material: crocheted blankets, fabric dolls and other rag toys found at thrift stores and yard sales. Which made for rather interesting art!
When someone says Yayoi Kusama, most people immediately start thinking of dots. This eccentric artist was a little obsessed with dots and used them in a variety of art work, sculptures and installations. Her ‘obliteration room’ is an interactive, family friendly art happening kids will love!
Motoi Yamamoto makes art out of salt. Yes, he does and it’s amazing. Prepare to be mind blown.
Andy Goldsworth is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings.
Banksy is an anonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist and film director. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world.
Huntertwasser is mostly known for his building designs. As an opponent of straight line and any standardization his creations and personal style are quite unique. He is a symbolic figure for a non-conformist way of life, a forerunner of environmental protection and an ambassador for a self-determined existence. Huntertwasser was a great supporter of outsider art even though he did not quite classify as an outsider artist himself, in many ways he was.
Judith Scott is an artist with Down syndrome, who spent her days at a creative art center where she created sculptures by wrapping items with fabric and yarn. Her life story is both sad and inspiring. Judith Scott is a beautiful example of outsider art through her innate genius and desire to create art in her own non compromising or conforming way.
Art as it is created now, today, by artist who may not be famous worldwide (yet) but are nonetheless very talented and inspirational. We cheer you on!
Ever Evolving Art
Art is ever evolving as so will this article be added to as I discover new and exciting art projects that would be a great addition. Thanks for sticking around, it is a bit of a monster article, so I appreciate you being here.
Enjoy getting creative and all feedback plus suggestions are most welcome,
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