Playing Pretend

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I realized today I reference my own childhood playtime constantly in my art...specific games and characters or feelings I'd made up with my sisters (semi-annual mud-day above!) I hold them (both pretend things and real sisters) very dear to me and consult them regularly. Can you remember those hilarious settings and characters you dreamed up? The way certain colors or sounds jumped out at you when you read a picture book, the utterly cozy way it felt to make a world of your own? While we twirled in crazy dress up, "moved out" into our own tiny houses in the corners of the living room, recorded radio shows, and played some serious Barbie games until late in the night, we were not only learning but developing a muscle that many people stop using as they grow up for various reasons.
It's a muscle I guess I'm childishly still using, and have been through adulthood with no intention of stopping. Now I make a living doing it too. It's helped me survive some dark times, encouraged me to stay enchanted, and help me focus on possibilities. I don't think I'd even be able to MAKE ART without still allowing myself to let go and "PLAY PRETEND". Imagining what could be. I'm doing it all day. Picture books are for children, ages 0-200.

There is also something transformative about how we are when we are pretending, isn't there? It levels every heart to that same ageless, joyful, simple and accepting state. Imagine the world, our relationships with more playtime. We really need to keep doing that in one mode or another, as grown ups, so we can remember how to imagine. Imagining lets us realize that we CAN shape our lives in any fashion we'd like; allows us to tackle the impossible, befriend the intangible, tap into a level of old magic that exists in the every day and push us forward. Children do it best only because they practice daily, grown ups can do it too! It's as essential as exercise.

I think there are few things more important for the human spirit at any age, than playing. So, let's! ♥

9 comments:

Aubrey Studebaker said...

Couldn't agree more.

Nina Crittenden said...

What a glorious Mud Day! Sisters are the best, I totally agree! Your playfulness shines through in your artwork! And Paris next year? How fantastic! :)

Julia Denos said...

Thanks! Et oui, Nina, we are brainstorming a trip à Paris this spring! fingers crossed.

TEakA said...

I so agree! Hip hip hooray to life long child play! :)

Caroline said...

I love your post! My younger brother and I used to "tame the wild west" in our own backyard. Bikes were horses, the woods our campground, the pool our pond! Haha! And we Loved us some mud pies! Yes, children's books are definitely fall in the "all ages" category! :)

Lauren Castillo said...

I love this, Julia. Perfectly said :) (and what an adorable picture of you and your sisters!)

AMW said...

hip hip hurray!

your imagination always shine's through in your work beautifully...probably one of my very favorite things about your drawings :)

it is such an immensely important thing to keep your mind playful, curious and inspired and frighteningly enough, ive read a few articles about how this presence is supposedly declining in children due to media and technology. We need an imagination renaissance! Perhaps starting with an international Mud Day? hehe

mai s kemble said...

grew up with 4 sisters, one of whom is my twin... and spent 16 years in our room drawing all day!
and playing!
I hold imagination and the imaginative dear to me as well...nothing has reminded me more than children's books and my nieces/nephews!
this was a nice read this morning... it is foggy and yet happy. thank you :)

anne said...

looking forward to Mud Day in a bookstore near me someday...