Chris Padilla/Blog / Books

Childhood's End

Thinking a great deal lately about the obstacles to play in art. Namely, though, how they aren't so much obstacles as much as they are just part of the journey.

From Stephen Nachmanovitch's Free Play:

Everything we have said so far should not be construed merely as an indictment of the big bad schools, or the media, or other societal factors. We could redesign many aspects of society in a more wholesome way—and we ought to—but even then art would not be easy. The fact is that we cannot avoid childhood's end; the free play of imagination creates illusions, and illusions bump into reality and get disillusioned. Getting disillusioned, presumably, is a fine thing, the essence of learning; but it hurts. If you think that you could have avoided the disenchantment of childhood's end by having had some advantage — a more enlightened education, more money or other material benefits, a great teacher — talk to someone who has had those advantages, and you will find that they bump into just as much disillusionment because the fundamental blockages are not external but part of us, part of life. In any case, the child's delightful pictures of trees mentioned at the beginning of this chapter would probably not be art if they came from the hands of an adult. The difference between the child's drawing and the childlike drawing of a Picasso resides not only in Picasso's impeccable master of craft, but in the fact that Picasso had actually grown up, undergone hard experience, and transcended it.