Jan Kells

Educator, Good friend to dogs, Maker of really cool things

I think the thing I like most about art is it is not just one thing. It is so many things. Just looking out my window is Art. Nature is Art. Where I live and the kind of life I have, there is not an endless list of museums down the road where I can go and look at art. Let’s be honest, I like that to a degree. I think that ultimately bores me.  I think it is far more fun to look out your window.

Where I walk the dogs, there is this big, big hill and right now it is starting to take in that patchwork of colors. Within the next 2 weeks, it’s just going to burst. Not like back east, we don’t get the reds and oranges. But, after 4 or 5 months of blue sky, which I love, but brown, dry dirt, seeing that splash of color, that to me is art. To see the twisted burley Manzanita… I can’t draw worth shit. It’s just stick animals and stick figures, but I can take a pretty damn good photograph that is pretty artistic.  To me, it is very much a nature-based thing.

I think it is really easy for kids to say “I’m not artistic” because they can’t draw or paint. I can’t draw or paint, but I know that I have artistic avenues open to me. I think making them realize that art is not just going to a dusty old gallery and sitting in front of a painting that bores them. It is a way for them to start to open their eyes. If they can open their eyes to something like that, then hopefully they can open their eyes to the world and it will allow them to get on. I think it is a great door opener to a whole bunch of stuff.

Having grown up as a child who did not particularly like art, because of the way it was taught in school—we had to draw a bowl of fruit and we had to do this and that. I sucked. I truly, truly sucked at traditional art and I had no way out of it. That was what we had to go through. It was a very traditional format and it was painful. There is this much wider vision (now) of what art is. Digital media adds to that, too. I like to put together little mini movies, very easily. I have fun doing that. People (think) it is simple and easy and not artistic, but it is. I think anyway we can help kids to understand that art is this big, wide open expanse of different stuff. Not just painting fruit in bowls, that they realize that everybody has something artistic in them. I truly, truly believe that.