Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Kid Could Paint That

At the insistence of a number of people, we rented My Kid Could Paint That. The odd thing is that it's a documentary: A four-year old girl created abstract paintings on the kitchen table that sell for tens of thousands of dollars. The ambiguity is: did she really?

The movie is really more about art and adults, and the stupid things they do to each other, but there was a lot that resonated with me as an artist — particularly the frustration of the parents to prove to everyone that Marla really did do all the paintings herself. The work that gets captured on camera seems like the work of a normal four-year-old; a start-to-finish video of a complete painting is criticized for not being as "polished" as other works. Watching this, I could see why. Would I produce a great opus on a red canvas in a dreary basement while NBC secretly filmed me, and someone was egging me on to do something great? Probably not.

Even under ideal circumstances, I don't sit down and knock out a great book cover every time. Some of them stink. Some, I get no inspiration. Some, I start, and find something more interesting along the way. (Those are fun.) And some of them are good. The expectation that Marla produce an outstanding work every time is frankly unrealistic. I'll reveal some of my own bias here: I think some of those paintings look way too good. But most of them, the vast majority, I think she did.

My sister-in-law, Sara, was inspired by the film, and got out a canvas and paints for her son.

If you ever come across the works of Galahad Grey Gove in the future... that's his real name. But, like every other artist that ever made it big, it's all about the marketing. So. You saw it here first...

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