Artist speaks to students about creativity

  • Thursday, November 7, 2013

Staff Photo by Scott Rodgers Artist Jim Harrison asks students what they feel looking at one of his paintings.


Hammond Hill Elementary students were in for a treat on Friday afternoon.

Artist Jim Harrison, whose gallery is not too far away in Denmark, visited students and spoke to them about art. The event was organized by new art teacher Meredith Leopard.

“We would like for them to have a little better understanding of how much art is around them,” Harrison said of the goal of his visit. “We want them to be aware of things that are art. Hopefully if any of them are thinking about art as a career, I’d like to reinforce that it is possible to make your living through painting. If you want a little bit more structure, then there are plenty of opportunities through design.”

Harrison pointed out that sometimes he struggles with what to say to students. He said he’s not “in tune” with what they’re thinking, but he hopes to make a difference through his art and by taking the time to listen to them.

During the presentation, Harrison held up a number of his paintings, asking the students what they felt. All of the answers were positive, including “happy” and “joyful.” He also let the students know that as they get older their mind tends to be less creative, focusing more on facts.

One story in particular included telling them that he could ask them to draw a gamecock. Likely in 15-20 minutes, they would have one drawn. Meanwhile, for him personally, he would agonize over details for days trying to get every detail perfect. That said, both pictures would be works of art.

“I’m well aware of the fact that simplicity is better than over thinking it,” he said. “Speaking with a group like this reinforces that because it’s really true. They speak without giving a lot of thought or asking themselves why. Some research is being done on the fact that the more youthful we are, the more creative and spontaneous we are. Education and longevity of life may, in fact, take away from that. I hope that isn’t true and that we have to develop an analytical way of thinking about things. For the creative process, it’s good to think outside of the box.”

Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.

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