Even the most imaginative of adult artists can’t compete with some of the effortless and strangely brilliant doodles of a child. Admit it, no matter how many art classes you take, it’s hard to capture the wild imagination and unbridled confidence that come so easily with youth. Most often the doodles of magical creatures, wild beasts and illogical shapes that filled many a child notebook are sadly lost to time or buried in the murky depths of your parents garage.
For Telmo Pieper, however, things unfolded a bit differently.
The Rotterdam-based artist discovered a box of his childhood drawings hidden in storage, and decided to see what would happen if the doodles, like Pieper himself, had the opportunity to grow up. The resulting series, titled “Kiddie Arts,” juxtaposes artworks made when Pieper was four years old with his contemporary, and technologically advanced, reinterpretations. Pencil scribblings of snails, sharks and butterflies are placed alongside their fully realized selves, made using a spray can or Wacom tablet.
“I was fascinated by how strange and great the line drawings were from when I was little,” Pieper explained to TIME. “Surrealistic feel with a realistic subject — impossible to copy the style but possible to work it out further. So I did.” The series feels like a form of artistic time travel, merging past and present in a playful yet profound way. Also, we just love little Pieper’s smooshy interpretation of a grizzly bear.
Pieper isn’t the first artist to draw inspiration from a child’s creativity. Artist Wendy Tsao took a slightly different approach, transforming childhood creations into three-dimensional stuffed animals. Nevertheless the sentiment remains the same. As Pablo Picasso put it: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Take a look at Pieper’s magical creations and let us know if you’re inspired to revisit your pre-K masterpieces in the comments.
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