03 November, 2010

Draw what you want, Wednesday

I want to start drawing from requests and since this blog is fairly new I took Peter's request for, "not the sharpest crayon in the box."

I started thinking about crayons and how they are associated with childhood. When I was little I thought that having the largest crayon box with the built in sharpener meant you were cool.

When my mom bought them for me I remember having a slight skip in my step as I put the box in my backpack. I remember my glee as I pulled the box from my backpack to draw and share these fascinating colours with my friends. I'm not sure this ever faded from my belief system, since I love lining up my gouache paints, admiring all the variation in hues.

My love for Gouache

What I do not associate crayons with is their colour from the 1960s, Flesh. As we grow older we start to see the layered meaning, looking at objects from the past and reflecting on how society has changed. Now you can buy a box of multicultural crayons, which includes:
black, sepia, peach, apricot, white, tan, mahogany, and burnt sienna.

Not the sharpest crayon in the box
Not the sharpest crayon in the box, 2010 on flickr

I'm not quite sure this is a step forward considering I wouldn't want to associate my skin colour to any of these. It might be better to reclaim the name flesh for all of them and let children decide where they fit in.

So with all these thoughts, I started to think about the term "Not the Sharpest Crayon in the Box." We forget that meaning is layered into our material culture, even in a box of crayons. I think of society as not the sharpest crayon in the box, it's something that has been overused, lost and devoured (I imagine little kids gnawing on crayons). Society can never go back to being the sharpest, even when it desperately uses the built in sharpener.


cathy said...

kelly you make me happy! cathy

Kelly Rae Burns said...

:) You make me happy too, Cathy