Let’s say you could go back in time and see what artists created when they were just children. What would have shown up in Picasso’s work? Did Mondrian always love grids and primary colors? This month there will be a local answer to that hypothetical. Art appreciators will have a unique opportunity to see the childhood works of some of Dallas’ notable artists via the exhibition “Everybody Was a Kid.” Participants include Brian K. Jones and Brian K. Scott, an artistic power couple known as Chuck & George.
“I used to cut silhouettes and folded paper lace patterns all the time,” Scott says. “They were disturbingly accurate and would be given to my mother’s friends.”
The exhibition was dreamed up by Corey Johnson, a sculptor and teacher at Bishop Lynch High School, who pitched the concept to Rachel Muldez and Art Garcia of the Davis Foundry Gallery in Oak Cliff.
“I was going through old boxes and found a folder of drawings from when I was a kid,” Johnson says. “Then I started thinking about how the surrealists and the artists from the dada movement prized the art of children.”
It was an easy sell. “I thought it was an adorable idea and also really deep,” Muldez says. “I wanted to see where people have come from, if their ideas are the same, if they’ve kept their childlike spirit. That’s what everyone hopes for an artist, that there’s a childlike purity still present in their work today.”
In addition to Jones and Scott, other notable participants include Giovanni Valderas and Jen Rose, a ceramicist who shows her dynamic flora-and-fauna-inspired wall structures at Carneal Simmons Contemporary Art. Kate Colin—whose current math-fueled watercolors create energetic assemblages that make use of world maps and hyperbolic geometry—will show a landscape piece she created as a 5-year-old that you won’t get to see anywhere else.
For the young Scott, art was a form of expression and a way to “keep out of people’s way.” But did this early work inform that of his adulthood, which deals heavily with themes of sexuality? “I did get on a kick in the ’90s where I started cutting the paper doilies again, mostly as fun trifles that I could do in front of people for entertainment,” Scott says. “By then they were almost always penis-motif mandalas.”