Inspiring a new generation of Artist’s
My Weekly Preview chats to author, illustrator and motivational speaker Peter Rowe about his love of art.
What is the value of art in children’s lives? I believe art is incredibly valuable in children’s lives. It allows them the opportunity to tap into their natural creativity, without fear of judgment, boundaries or expectations. Art is an extension of who you are, a form of expressing emotions, and when children are given a safe space in which to play and create, they are also given an opportunity to be their own unique selves, which is a very important and precious thing indeed.
Why do you create art for children? I have never really felt that I created art specifically for children except with my illustrations for my Josh the Robot children’s books. Perhaps it is more about creating art that brings out the inner child in everyone. My artworks are often abstract colourful explosions of thoughts and stories and sometimes simply a moment of enjoying certain colours and textures. I have previously enjoyed painting a variety of playful colourful pieces capturing happy faces and robots, which while can be seen as aimed at children, I have found that they are enjoyed by all ages. Naturally children will be drawn to certain works, however, my wish is for every piece I create to hopefully connect emotionally with people, children and adults alike, for my art to bring joy and encourage everyone to get creative and share who they are. If I am able to inspire children to share a love of art as I do then I will be very happy.
What feedback have you received from children about your art, especially the Josh the Robot books? I could not be more thrilled about the feedback I have received and continue to receive about my Josh the Robot children’s books, it is incredibly special to me. Josh is a character I created who understands what it is like to be treated differently and sometimes excluded, simply because he is different to others. I love hearing that parents enjoy reading my books to their children, knowing that they are learning about the importance of being kind, including others and that it is okay to be different. I particularly enjoy when parents share how their children have embraced Josh and have even taken my books to school to share the messages within the pages. One young boy even dressed up as Josh the Robot for Book Week. Nothing brings me greater happiness than knowing that something I have created brings joy to others.
Was art important to you as a child? Any creative means of expression I could find was important to me as I was not able to communicate verbally. I adored my puppets and drawing and would often put on puppet shows for my family with my varied collection of noises for each character. I am so grateful to my family for allowing me the space to express myself so creatively as it was also a means in which for me to communicate with them. While it was not until later in life that I discovered art as a means of therapy to assist with PTSD, it has grown to become a great love and source of happiness for me.
What’s the most important thing children should remember when they are creating art? Art is an extension of who you are. It is an opportunity to share what you have to say, so be true to who you are. Art should not have limits – have fun, play and most of all enjoy.