Across the hall from me is a little class of sweet 1st graders who go to the other art teacher for instruction. Usually kids who don’t come to me take no notice and are really shocked in that moment they look up at my sign and realize “hey, this weird random lady with paint on her face across the hall teaches art too. . . hmmm” So when *Spencer came to visit me at the beginning of the year I was delighted to know a student who I didn’t have to boss around for 45 minutes every week — we could just chill.
He would peek into my room in the afternoons during dismissal and tell me “Hello Mith Kathin” with his big blue eyes and lisp and eventually he started to bring me pictures and artwork he made. This kid is EXTREMELY talented. I will be the first person to gush and rave over some art even if it is just some random scribbles (these kids really need someone to support them in something after all). But Spencer is a whole ‘nother story. His work is reminiscent of an emo band’s cover art with a little bit of Tim Burton thrown in and a dash of Salad Fingers. He has told me that he is inspired by horror movies but they don’t scare him (his college aged siblings let him watch movies with them.)
Most other teachers see his art and about a billion red flags and alarm bells go off in a cacophony of worrisome concern. But once you get to really know Spencer you understand that his expressive artwork is not some metaphorical or figurative way of showing that he is somehow “not right” or “disturbed.” Rather, it is his way of responding to the world he lives in and experiences.
Somewhere during the year we decided to collect his work and make a book at the end of the year. Well, the end has finally arrived and today was the day that I borrowed him from class and we sat down to put his retrospective collection together.
The Cover: “My Art Dook 2013 and 2014”
The illustration is depicting him creating the book.
A letter to the readers I put in the inside cover:
I told Spencer that I hope he keeps this book forever and when he is older and thinks that nobody loves him he can look at it and know he is special and amazing and good at something and someone does love him. He is definitely the kind of sensitive soul who will be faced with emotional obstacles in the future — a.k.a. an artist.
Different makes and models of cars:
A neighborhood. . . can you even handle how he made the houses 3D and there is a background horizon line!? The writing is of cource absolutely indecipherable or else in a language that only Spencer knows. . .
The Three Little Ms. Katzins:
A Tree House:
A Frog Princess in a Hoodie:
Princess Fiona from Shrek:
A Tired Woman:
Okay so here is one that might be seen as a bit scary but dont worry its not blood its just ketchup and hes holding jelly:
A Flower Dripping Jelly:
Me hanging artwork up all around the school:
The Cat in the Hat with some Goth Friends:
People Dancing at a Party — check out how expressive the lines are and the amazing figurative poses!:
A painting created especially for the back cover:
This artwork is made so much better when I finally got to experience his process and see him in action! Look at how he holds that paintbrush what a maverick.
I really hope Spencer is here next year and if he is not I hope he is somewhere in this wide world surrounded by people who accept him for who he is and embrace his weirdness and creativity. Maybe one day I will see his name during the credits of a movie as the special effects correspondent or the creator of make-up and costumes for a zombie flick. In the meantime, shine on Spencer!
*Name has been changed