"Children's creativity is raw and untethered in a way that no adult artist is quite capable of."
Artist Alexander Deschamps on drawing superheros and the afterschool art program that charted his path as a artist.
Click to expand media gallery.
Great artists make artists. And to prove that point, over 70 of today's greatest have contributed their work in support of Children's Museum of the Arts' Emergency Arts Education Fund, establishing utterly ambitious art programs in New York City schools that need them most.
Bidding for the online auction concludes Thursday, October 19 at 12 PM EDT. Bid now. Bid often. Bid here.
Below, meet auction artist Stephen Deschamps.
Alexander's childhood artwork
Do you have a favorite memory of making art as a child?
I remember having an epiphany when I was 8 or 9 that I could draw my own superhero and customize him with all the guns and swords and lasers and such. My first loves were cartoons and comics and action figures. Realizing I had creative agency in that realm was big for me and for the development of my drawing skills.
What advice would you give to young artists who wish to pursue an art practice?
Just keep making stuff! Follow your intuition and find joy in honing your skills. Good art takes practice and there's no way around it.
How does working with children inspire you?
Children keep it real. They're not [usually] concerned with money or personal gain or delusions of grandeur, and so their creativity is raw and untethered in a way that no adult artist is quite capable of.
When did you first know you were going to be an artist?
I realized I was better at drawing than my peers pretty early on, maybe kindergarten. I was hooked, and I still am. Being an artist is a complicated thing – I sometimes struggle with what that even means, especially in the contemporary context – but I WILL NEVER stop drawing.
Can you describe a formative experience visiting a museum or gallery
In high school, I was a volunteer docent at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, which is near my hometown of Danbury, Connecticut. I never fully realized the limitless nature of what it means to make art until I spent significant time there. You can do anything with art – it's not just marble and oil paintings. The hard part is to get people to pay attention...
I would also like to shout-out Escape to the Arts, an after school art program from my middle school years. It took place in an old house near the Danbury YMCA where we would hang out and take different kinds of classes, ranging from figure drawing to pottery to airbrushing. Those were my first real art classes and they were wonderful. The teachers were weirdos and eccentrics and queer folks; the kind of people that I felt bonded to, even at that young age. They seemed so old and mature (in retrospect I bet they were in their early twenties.) I think every town in the world should have this type of program and that is why I am in lockstep with the spirit of this charity.
Miami Mighty Mouse Motel
soft pastel on burlap