Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Artists Thrive On The Right Side of The Brain

Both Sides of the Fence
© Adam Licsko  oil on canvas 24"x36"

"Adam shows good drawing skills but he seems to lack good color sense."  For young artist/parents his second grade report card message was a stab in the heart.  

As all mothers, I was so proud of everything he did.  He and I would spend hours together drawing and coloring.  When he entered "the system",  he soon showed himself to be selective with his attention.  That remained the same through all his schooling.  I tried to push Adam to conform wanting him to do well.  I now know that I was hoping to redeem my own poor academic achievements through him.  It didn't work.  Eventually, I could see that no matter what I wanted, his strong will to be himself was going to win. I backed off.

It took me half a lifetime to undo the damage done to me by the education system.  Luckily, Adam was raised within a family that recognized he was not deficient, just different.  We adjusted.  I am proud to send you to his blog to show that if right brained people are allowed to be themselves, they will shine.  Adam Licsko paintings are prized by private and corporate collectors.  Not to brag, but to illustrate an important point, he is also an accomplished musician and inventor.  He had his first US patent before he was thirty.

My reason for bringing this up is that there are parents everywhere feeling obliged to force systematic education on children who will never be suited to what's being served.  As yet our education style does not accommodate all types of beings, only those who are logical, practical, "reality" based, often referred to as "left brained." "Right brainers" are said to be risk takers, impetuous, good problem solvers, kinesthetic. They often become dancers, musicians, artists.

As parents and as a society, we must do more to encourage the "right brained" among us. They are the visionaries, the creative leaders who will inspire our future culture.  If you know a young person having difficulties not being able to conform to the left brained education, please do what you can to encourage them.  Parents, if you cannot provide alternative sources of education, at least, make sure they have some access to the arts, and sports.  Unconditional love, understanding, acceptance, and patience will go a long way to ensuring the brightest future, security, and mental health of your child.  Above all, relax.  Enjoy them, they are a gift. 


  1. I've told this before, but it will go again. When I started to make it known that I wanted to go on to art school rather than university, the head sent for my parents and explained that he had unfortunately made the mistake of appointing an art master who was too good at his job! My parents said: "David has always wanted to do art." He found that difficult to believe, and suggested that the art teacher had brainwashed me. Left brained or what?

  2. Great post, Joanne. And great to see your son finding his own footing and doing so well.

    Our son is similarly right-brained, bright and talented. And he had the same type of difficulty in school. The public school system has little to offer these kids who just don't fit the mold. He gravitated to the skater crowd, and as we got to know these kids, we realized virtually every one of them were very creative. They played music, wrote poems, painted pictures. I think almost all of them felt alienated from the educational system--it just didn't give them what they needed.

    Like Adam, our son has turned out great. He's a graphic designer and software developer/programmer, a fine young man with a lot of heart and creativitity in his soul. With his own strong will, he found his own way.

  3. Dave, It's hard to know what to say when confronted with such bias. Your parents were smart not to be swayed by his ignorance... J.

  4. Don,
    Your story of your son and his skater friends makes me so happy! Creative kids will look for ways to be creative, and some times they appear to rebel. It's up to the older generations to allow them space to be themselves. They won't disappoint us....J.