This fall, Mica Hendricks‘ “Collaborations” post went viral, making the rounds on social media, blogs, and even the Huffington Post. For those living under a rock (or social media-challenged), Mica shared her artistic collaboration… with her 4-year-old. Having one of those myself, I commiserated with her not wanting to share her good sketch pad and artwork with some know-it-all tot:
In a very serious tone, she looked at me and said, “If you can’t share, we might have to take it away if you can’t share.”
Yeah. I’ve heard that before. As a parent, you have to walk the walk. As a designer, you have deadlines. And clients. And your own damn good ideas. However, sometimes that little voice (familiar in your own words) sends a double-dog-dare your way. In Mica’s case, the challenge opened a door to a new way of working and thinking. The great thing about what she did, and what I try to do myself, is to be open to the imagination of these little people. They have good ideas we can
take advantage of nurture:
And from it all, here are the lessons I learned: to try not to be so rigid. Yes, some things (like my new sketchbook) are sacred, but if you let go of those chains, new and wonderful things can happen. Those things you hold so dear cannot change and grow and expand unless you loosen your grip on them a little. In sharing my artwork and allowing our daughter to be an equal in our collaborations, I helped solidify her confidence, which is way more precious than any doodle I could have done. In her mind, her contributions were as valid as mine (and in truth, they really were). Most importantly, I learned that if you have a preconceived notion of how something should be, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DISAPPOINTED. Instead, just go with it, just ACCEPT it, because usually something even more wonderful will come out of it.
The project has inspired many, with contests and charity sales furthering the good karma. I love the special limited-edition print available in the most recent The Working Proof newsletter. (If you don’t subscribe to TWP, get on it. One weekly email introducing you to new and favorite artists with limited edition prints that benefit a range of charities. Get art & help a cause. Win-win.)
“Peacock Girl” features mama Mica’s head and daughter Myla’s dreamed-up peacock body, with a little polishing from mom’s pencils and paints. Mica chose to have TWP donate to Puppies Behind Bars (15% of gross sales!), a program where inmates train puppies to become service dogs for law enforcement as well as for the disabled. C’mon, who doesn’t love puppies? Read her interview here and grab a print for the precocious kid in your life.
Images & quotes from Mica Henricks.