I have developed a great love for the artwork of children. It is spontaneous and free in ways that few adults can ever hope to be.
Pablo Picasso said "All children are artists. The problem is how to stay an artist when the child grows up."
My answer to this is to let children make the art. I started working with my children in my studio to give them something to do and have since fallen in love with the art they make.
I don't pretend to be uninvolved in the process. I typically present a limited set of tools and allow them to work for a short period of time before moving on to the next piece. We circle back around to works-in-progress over a period of months or even years to create rich layers and textures. We use studio quality materials.
Though I primarily work with my own children, I do include others when I can. I don't believe my children have special artistic ability that sets them apart from other children. I believe all children have an innate ability to create beautiful art given the right tools and parameters. I decide when a work a finished. I will occasionally add in an element they created (like a skin of paint from a pallet), but I do not make marks myself. That said, it is a collaborative process.
When I feel like a piece is complete, I then collage in black and white photos of children--some photos are of my children and their friends but most are found images across time and place.
Children create these worlds on the canvas, and then I place children in that world, interacting with it and each other. If there is a grand theme, it's just the exploration of children and childhood--mostly the wonder and joy, but also come of the the tears and the fears.
Appalachian State University, 2001