I just read an interesting article by David Galenson, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago entitled The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity. In the article, Galenson discusses two artist types which he opines are factors in determining the course of an artist’s career. Some artists do their best work at the beginning of their careers; others in their later years of life.
Following that, I found the video above featuring child prodigy artist Autumn De Forest. The video is striking not just for this eight year old child’s artistry, but for her thoughtful responses to the rather inane questions asked of her by Today Show host Matt Laur.
This child is obviously exceedingly bright with parents who have exposed her to artistic and cultural influences. (Not many parents would see a Mark Rothko painting in their child’s doodles with a paintbrush).
As an artist, I see some fascinating characteristics in her artwork and in her discussion of it.
I find it intriguing to see her handling intellectual concepts such as the use of texture and color and light while, at the same time, expressing that child-like joy of spontaneous creation that all children have.
It is an odd juxtaposition – raw child-like joy in creation combined with very adult-like analysis of a process and product.
In light of the earlier read article, it leads me to wonder how this child’s career will be shaped.
Will her precociousness continue in it’s path of experimentation and exploration led by her intrigue and curiosity? Will she go on to create things that push the envelope in artistic and philosophical understanding?
Or will she be manipulated, pushed and pulled in various directions by adults seeking to maximize her early successes in ways that they envision for her?
My hope is for the former, and seeing her character displayed in this short video, I suspect that she will set her own course. It will be interesting to see.