CRAYONS TO CANVAS
A Collaborative Study by Longhua Xu & Han Xu
It has long been thought science and art are disparate fields, requiring different skills, occupying opposite sides of the brain. However, recent studies have found that the two are more related than anyone ever thought and that children can learn math and science concepts through artistic expression.
Crayons to Canvas demonstrates the importance of fostering creativity in our children so they are better equipped to become successful adults grounded in their own abilities and talents.
“To me, art comes from life.”
For this exhibition, Longhua Xu avoids the traditional position of art and artist for one that reshapes our perception. Dancing dinosaurs that fight with fire and chickens of pure color that seem to dash across the canvas are subjects which are quite unique from Longhua’s classically trained aesthetic.
The abstraction of creatures of these recent works emerges from the imagination of his five-year-old grandson, Han Xu. Together, they have presented to the viewer a move from idea to execution – a move from Crayons to Canvas.
Longhua and Han have connected our daily lives to a world of pure imagination and fantasy. As the viewer, we are met with a kind of art, which requires a familiar kind of attention.
The eye of the painting looks at us as we search the corners of our mind, perhaps imagining ourselves as maker. Suddenly the way we value creativity changes. The goal of an artist is not always to make the viewer gaze at the beauty of precise craftsmanship.
As Han’s drawings come to life, Longhua pushes us to think deeply about our history, our surroundings, and our once simplified and innocent perspective. He doesn’t ask us to think differently, or to see differently – he asks us to remember.
“I love to eat chicken wings! And dinosaurs are my favorite animal.”
While this exhibition has been greatly influenced by Han Xu’s whimsical drawings, it did not start out this way. Just as he was old enough to hold a marker, Han followed his fascination of his grandfather’s paintings and began to mimic his Yeye. Longhua’s turn towards an art uncorrupted by academic practices brings us closer to the source of imagination. There’s a certain honesty that is freed from self-consciousness or complex detail. There is no one telling Han where to put the eyes, the mouth, or which color to use – the purpose of his drawings is not to be something else. They just are.
What can you imagine?