My wife absolutely and unapologetically loves reality television, or at least the current BravoTV incarnation of storytelling that reality TV has taken on. While watching one of her favorite series she ran across a rather interesting and crafty idea to put a personal touch on decorating a room.
Not just any room, but our little padawan’s room.
Typically, modern nurseries are filled with a lot of store bought stuff that’s supposedly designed to stimulate imagination and jump start learning. Before little kids became big business though, parents found more personal ways to decorate and the idea of going back to that for our little one was appealing to both of us.
I was reminded of my own youth when she initially presented the concept she had in mind. My dad hand painted artwork on the walls for me. He created a nursery of cartoon characters that expressed both who he was as well as providing me with some of my earliest childhood memories of something that would become defining for me later – a love of cartoons. Sadly, when we moved from that house the artwork remained behind. Forever lost, save for a handful of photographs and the memories.
The concept for us was to create something that the little padawan could take with them for the rest of their lives, should they so chose. So, under my wife’s guidance, based on the idea she’d borrowed from tv, we’ve begun a pretty massive art project.
The first step was getting a whole bunch of 6-inch by 6-inch canvases as well as paint, markers and other stuff. Then, we had to corral the family and our friends and explain to them what to do. While the former was exceptionally easy the latter proved much more trying.
Not everyone is an artist so there was a great amount of trepidation – as if they might produce something that was “no good” or that someone elses might be “better” than theirs.
Then, there was concern that without knowing the gender how could they possibly know what was apporperiate to create. As if the whole gender neutral concept hadn’t been beaten to death previously. (I’m still inclined to believe most of them were angling to discover the gender by putting up a fight in completing their art).
Of course, in the end, for the most part they all figured it out.
The goal was for each of them to visually provide something personal for the little padawan.
Some of the family made art out of pull quotes like Dr. Seuss, other’s found their own inspirational words to paint, when others made pictures of hearts and sunsets and whatever else was in their mind’s eye.
Each is highly personal and unique and special in its own right. But what’s more, is none of them are necessarily or overtly juvenile. Sure, they are bright and colorful and playful but they could look just as at home in an adolescent bedroom or dormroom or twenty-something’s apartment hallway or my home office as they look right now in the nursery.
In creating mine, I wanted to combine a visual element with some lettering to provide some sage advice for later in life with something fun to look at for those early years. Being a percussionist, it was only natural then that it would come back to music.
I painted an old fashion field snare drum and some (backwards) musical notes and overlaid the phrase “March to Your own Beat.”
It’s reference to the idea of marching to the beat of a different drummer where the different drummer is you, a more poetic way of saying “be yourself.”
While I have no idea of music will hold the same kind of sway over the little one as it has for me, the concept itself I think is an important one. Perhaps in another post I’ll elaborate on it more, but the basic thought I have is that you are the only you you have so it’s important to be the you you are and not the person everyone else thinks you should be or wants you to be. Start your own trends based on what you enjoy, what you find interesting rather than conforming only to what other people tell you is hip and cool. I’m not advocating being a loner or trying to be different for the sake of being different. Rather, it is more an understanding that there will be times you are different and that difference shouldn’t be repressed. It’s ok to march to the beat of your own drum. If it weren’t for trend breakers the likes of Albert Einstein, Alan Ginsberg, Nicola Tesla, Charles Ives, Marie Curie, Frank Zappa, Billie Holiday, Helena Rubinstein and so many others imagine how boring the world would be today.