What would a child’s drawing look like if it were painted realistically? For the past several years, Kidspace artist Dave DeVries has been on a quest to answer this question. Dave’s project Monster Engine re-interprets kids’ drawings of monsters — a subject that kids can often get frustrated drawing, because no matter how terrifying something is in your mind, it never seems scary enough on paper. But Dave uses skills he gained with years of training as a comic strip artist and painter at Universal Studios to amp up any creature from a young imagination.
Dave has told us that an important step in his process is double-checking with the original young artists that he got the details right. He has made it clear that his paintings are collaborations, and wouldn’t want to overshadow the fact that these kids are artists too.
Dave’s paintings are collected into a book, which also gives some background about how he got started on this project. Even more exciting is that Dave travels to schools all around the country to give demonstrations, turning kids’ drawings into shaded, textured, realistic monsters before your very eyes. And Dave is coming to MASS MoCA to give one of those presentations to local school groups on March 15th. Students from our six partner schools in grades 2-4 have been asked to draw their own monsters, and Dave will choose a couple to transform during the presentation. He’ll also speak a little bit about his career as an illustrator, and invite kids to come up and help him complete the painting. At the end of the presentation, these paintings are donated to the school. Dave uses lots of paint, so let’s hope those kids are willing to get a little messy!
Come by the Kidspace exhibit Curiosity to see three of Dave’s paintings currently on display. And you can learn more about the Monster Engine project here.