It’s something we haven’t heard of in a while, but after surveying the aftermath of a recent “Baby in Frame” feeding time I was reminded of just how popular “child prodigies” used to be a while ago.
Little “Sebastian” or “Juniper” (they always seemed to have quite ‘alternative’ names – I guess “Jack” and “Jill” were too busy playing with their Lego, My Little Pony, or off somewhere “fetching water”) would just happen to have an incident involving pots of paint and a canvas / wall / pet hamster and lo and behold: It. Was. Art!
And not just your regular
“Hey Mum, look what I painted!”
“A horsey, that’s nice dear!”
“No, Mum, It’s Dad, you and me!”
Quite often these midget magnum opuses seemed to resemble minimalist impressions of Jackson Pollock or the like – to you and I random squiggles on a page that literally did look like a toddler painted them because, well, one did!
After a brief flare of popularity, like many artists, their light and work faded into obscurity, never to be seen or heard from again.
The “child prodigy” phenomena equally faded into obscurity. Possibly because artistic tastes changed, maybe because we’ve all become a bit jaded and cautious of such fads these days, or perhaps because with “reality” television and the world wide web, every pint-sized Jackson, Frida and Leonardo can have their work viewed from anywhere at any time taking a bit of the mystique out of it.
I can’t help but wonder how a child art prodigy promoter would cope with the modern world’s more cynical outlook on life. If one was to knock on our door, I imagine the conversation would go something like this:
“I see your baby was using quite earthy tones – were they influenced by Monet’s earlier works?
“Nope, that’s just poop”
“Oh. What about those gorgeous, verdant greens?”
“That’s poop too. She had a thing for kiwifruit, peas and broccoli that week”
“And the watercolours are…?”
“She was really thirsty that week too…”
There may yet be hope for our budding baby artist, though. The other week “Baby in Frame” had a big dinner of pasta and tomato sauce. We wiped her face afterwards and this was the resulting imprint on the face cloth:
I wonder if that’s how Dick Frizzell got started…