Last week I had the opportunity to get together with a handful of art-materials retailers from around the United States and Canada to discuss concerns about reaching the art-making world and to share what artists are purchasing and what materials they are shifting to. We discussed the recent survey that was co-produced by NAMTA (International Art Materials Trade Association) and American Artist this past spring. One of the biggest realizations prompted by this survey is the notion that people who practice art as their profession typically found their love for art before the age of 12. The numbers indicate that 63 percent of people who work professionally as an artist today got into art at a young age. This leaves me, along with the art-materials industry, wondering how we can encourage children and teenagers today to be interested in art. With the recession taking a toll on school art programs and on community and state grants for art, how can the passion for making art start in our younger generations?
Personally, I'm wondering how I can get involved in art making in my small town. Maybe it is going to start with the local art council, with teaching community classes after school, or with building relationships with local galleries to showcase young talent. It could also be about discovering what teenagers are involved in culturally. What can stir their interest in drawing with so much technology and widgets to distract them?
With so much focus on fantasy and sci-fi in movies, TV, comics, novels, and now graphic novels, it seems as though kids tend to take on those fantasical characters: vampires, dragons, beasts, superhuman heroes, etc. Artist Daily's part in the bridge between art and upcoming artists is to bring forward instruction and illustration that these young people might enjoy. NeonDragonart.com artist Jessica Peffer has been on this path for a while, providing instruction for anyone young or old who is interested in picking up skills drawing fantasy beasts. We've recently put some of her books, including DragonArt, on our website, and you can find out more about the content in our online store.
Regardless of how you reach out to those around you who are starting on their own artistic paths, the passion you carry as an artist for the art-making world will surely be catching. I'd be interested in hearing your ideas for the next generation of artists. Find me in our online forums, or reach me on Twitter @American_Artist.