Sustaining the Inner Artist

By Nur Afiqah Azizan. Nur, is from Bandar Baru Bangi, Malaysia. *Shortlisted!*

Art is a subjective field. With that said, the world is a huge canvas. In whatever industry one is involved with, there is art within. We are all artists. We have always been right from our early years. In the words of the famous Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist”. However, he added that “The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. The excruciating truth in the latter statement cannot be ignored.

An artist is not necessarily one who paints or draws. The term ‘artist’ is also not restricted to address those who produce creative art pieces nor is it limited to refer to a performer such as those who sing, act or dance. In fact, an artist, by definition, could also refer to one who is extremely skilful in a certain task.

An artist is one who grows up without letting go of his inner child flair.


THE place may be dim

But it isn’t so to him

His soul lights up

As he gets worked up

Doing what matters most to himself


PRECIOUS compliments, hurtful criticisms

Your words don’t get to him

He is out there to chase his dream

That when realized

Will create a big buzz


TRAIT of uniqueness is what he seeks

He is on a mission to find his identity

Some may just call him wacky

But he will not succumb to formality

For that is not who he wishes to be


LIVES his life as he pleases

We should dream big, they say

But not that big, says an anonymous

Well, he doesn’t just dream huge,

The fact is; his dreams are enormous


ON his ego and his willingness to learn

He has them both in his batter

It is true that he tries to balance

The two for the better.


Children are innocent individuals who possess exquisite raw personalities that over time, with the right technique, would mature into greatness. Unfortunately, growing up; they’d find their passion insulted, motivation deprived, creative juice running dry, ambition ridiculed and desire to continue learning becoming dull.

It’s a tough call.

The challenge begins at home.

Every parent insists on the best for their descendants. Therefore, many would push their children to take the safe road — even if that meant stopping these aspiring souls from pursuing what they truly love. They would discourage and demotivate their child if his/her field of interest do not convince them of a stable future.

Powerless — some simply obey and adhere to the demands without a fight. Others rebel at the idea of giving up on their ultimate goal in life. The forcing and curbing often kill the spirit. It is heart-breaking to see them lead a life they didn’t opt to — always lost in the thoughts of what-ifs.

The community can be a pain too.

Society can make or break a potential artist. When one’s yet-to-be-fruitful efforts are constantly mocked instead of respected, it demoralizes even the strong at heart. The youth years are especially harder with fellow peers belittling one’s passion because it doesn’t comply with the current trend. The pressure to fit in the masses can be toxic. It makes one forget their true roots. As time passes by, it gets more difficult to retract the lost artist because he drowned far too deep in the herd mentality. Artists and children couldn’t care less about such issues. They’re too busy being themselves, exploring the world for the next piece of inspiration.

Reality hits hard as well.

Whether it’s homework, office tasks or bills that require settlement, one could go ballistic over such matters. Overwhelming responsibilities are harmful when not managed systematically. The intense stress that comes with it can contaminate optimism — a significant attribute artists and children have in common. If not dealt with the right way, this situation may nurture destructive negativity in life that happens to be one of the reasons why many are so full of unhappiness and hatred.

However, the major reason that makes it so difficult for a child to remain an artist goes way back to those early days. No one cares about the positive attributes a child has. The duty to groom these young ones to be consistent with their positive qualities is paramount. Sadly, many choose to ignore it. Perhaps it is due to the vicious cycle that continues. Some feel that it is unworthy to dive into a child’s insight since they are ‘utter nonsense’. Change is pivotal.We need to realize the importance of sustaining the artist within us — with a great emphasis towards the children. It would be a great waste otherwise.

The 3Es concept must be practiced — establish, educate and encourage.

Establish a proper relationship and connection with children and help them to establish who they are. Understand and appreciate their interest. Assist them to do the same. It is crucial for them to find their passion, but it is even more important to help them maintain it. Give them the necessary push or a pat on the back when required. The result of what they go through today will affect them in the future. Hence, starting on the right foot will benefit them in the challenging years to come.

Educate the children on what lies out there. Sometimes, what they say may seem beyond reach. Instead of stomping down heartlessly on their thought processes, educate them on what the real world has to offer. This has to be done in line with their maturity level. You never know what lies ahead. You may belittle their daring dreams now, but someday down the road, they may just prove you wrong. Discipline them with logical thinking, but don’t restrict their creativity. Discuss the possible causes and effects of their vision. Talk to them about how they plan to execute their mission. These steps validate their ideas and cross-examine them with reality without damaging them. They may even practice the same method before sinking into their next big quest!

Encourage the children, for it is essential to keep them feeling motivated. Treat their suggestions with respect. They may be young, but they have emotions too. Furthermore, encouragements at a tender age could make a big impact in the long run. It sets them with high self-esteem. Give credit where it’s due. Expose them to the sector that they’d like to venture into. These encouraging acts provide them with the sense of belonging. A solid base of confidence and motivation is developed through this step too, thus preparing them for the whirlwinds of the world that awaits.

The 3Es concept does not only help the children sustain the artist in them. It is also an indirect method for youths and adults to seek the inner artist in them too. Just look at the twinkle in the children’s eyes as they speak excitedly of what appeals to them for that shall lead one to the door of the artist’s world once more. It is a universal notion.

Should they maintain the practice, what would happen to the inner artist of the child, youth, and adult? Hint: Check out the first word of each stanza from the poem above.

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