Appreciating the potential in children’s art as source material

I was looking through a pile of old drawings and paintings made by my kids when they were little, and came across these two, that I liked a lot:

childrens art with a naive art twist
Two drawings made by my kids about 15 years ago.

There’s elements of both that made me think of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and in trying to explain it, I think some of the mark-making in the one at left and the way the color is applied made me think of Basquiat (I have a habit of making art-history associations on a regular basis). The one at right, with the simple arms, hands and teeth made me think of the style that Basquiat used at times. Granted, I know they’re not a match, I’m just saying my sons’ drawings acted as a trigger to thinking about Basquiat.

So, just for my own curiosity’s sake, I decided to utilize the images above and work them into a Basquiat-style background – all done in Photoshop, no paintings made yet – and came up with this:

contemporary art using kid art
My own composite mix of images using my kids’ art.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my kids’ art and enjoy it on its own exactly as it is. But I wonder what kind of interesting things I could come up with if I used some of it as source material for new paintings of my own? Is it bad to “steal” ideas from my kids? I’ll give them credit for inspiring me – I promise!

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