“If you continue to act like an artist as you get older, you’ll increasingly feel pressure. People will question your actions and ask you to act properly.” (Young-ha Kim, writer)
When people find out that I’m a writer and an illustrator, they often have something to say about it. Of the myriad oddball reactions I receive, the one that often saddens me is when they tell me that they once wrote, once drew, once made cartoons, once did this, once did that. In my mentioning something creative, they reflect, often with great fondness, on their creativity as children. My heart hurts for them because, in listening to their joy in being artists as children, I realize that the little artist has been dormant for far too long within them.
Recently, I heard a TED talk by Korean author Young-ha Kim that explored what happens to little artists when most of them face adversity (in the form of adults and adulthood). His delightful, inspiring, and humorous TED talk focuses on the spirit of play and creativity in children and what kills that joy in adults. He ponders aloud the battle that adults face to be creative.
Among memorable quotes from his talk…
- “Unfortunately, the little artists within us are choked to death before we get to fight against the oppressors of art. They get locked in. That’s our tragedy. So what happens when little artists get locked in, banished, or even killed? Our artistic desire doesn’t go away. We want to express, to reveal ourselves, but with the artist dead, the artistic desire reveals itself in dark form.”
- “It’s not the hundreds of reasons why one can’t be an artist, but rather the one reason one must be that makes us artists. Why we cannot be something is not important. Most artists become artists because of the one reason.”
- “When we put the devil in our heart to sleep and start our own art, enemies appear on the outside.”