Reub's journey

08 January 2012

Bag o' chaos

Last week was the first week back at school after the eagerly-awaited winter break. One of my art classes was divided between kids who needed more time on their art work from December, but the other half was done and ready to move on. The ones who were finished were told that they would have a quiet day in which they could do a drawing of their choice, and that I would collect their work afterward.

Usually on a day like that I get lots of happy little drawings.

But not last week.

Almost all of their free-choice drawings were dark.

Some were threatening.

Scary narratives from inside the heads of 12-year-olds.

 Even this picture of a kid's watch gives me the creeps: the time is set for the exact moment of the new year.


I was a bit shocked.

 This one blew me away:

 It's a jigsaw puzzle of a girl's "perfect life,"  a sort of Venn diagram about to be destroyed by a big bag o' chaos. "Some one's got to ruin it" says the caption.

From what well of melancholy did this all come? I asked them the next day. They shrugged and smiled, seemingly pleased by what an impression they'd made.

"Oh, it's just the post-holiday blues" one of them said.


  1. wow. that's really something! worrisome!

  2. Possibly much of that was inspired by electronic games received for Christmas? I don't see the watch drawing as threatening.. just the marking of the New Year. Some of them truly are sad though.

  3. Evocative. I think you can tell a lot about people from their drawings.

  4. The one that got me was the one saying please come back home.

  5. absolutely!
    the child's explanation was my first thought too. the effects of a prolonged spell of 'happy families', TV and indigestion.

    Thanksbe, it's all over.

  6. twg: Pretty dark, but I think they'll be alright.

    Hilary: Some of these are definitely games/pop culture related images. The watch seemed a pensive sort of topic more than scary.

    Laoch: Sometimes I have no idea what's going on in their minds, but then sometimes their drawings tell a real story. I think that as a group they were sown in the dumps for a day or two.

    Ellen: that one gets me too. He even spelled out the message on the back of the paper in case I missed it hidden in his drawing.

    Friko: It's nice to move on into a normal rhythm after the holiday season. Healthier, and for many, happier.

  7. post holiday blues? at age 12? poor kids - they should still be kids.

  8. Disturbing. Is that what spending holiday time at home does!? I sure hope not.


  10. Pauline: I know, right? Just the fact that they know the phrase is striking.

    Rebecca: Well, at least it was just a passing mood. They bounced right back after a couple of days.

    Laoch: Verrrry interesting. This must be the kind of thing they study in Art Therapy programs.

  11. So fascinating, Kerry. I'm left with gratitude that these kids have an outlet with you for expressing the dark thoughts that so many kids these days must have.

    Bless you for allowing a little of their pressure to escape for a while.


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