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{Kids Get Arty} Inspired by Inocente

Kids Get Arty, a bi-monthly challenge from Red Ted Art to explore real artists, is something I look forward to every two months as it challenges me to really engage my boys in art and to help them learn about artists in a fun, hands-on way. 

As an independent filmmaker whose latest film, Smuggled, is an award-winning fictional/narrative film that tells the story of a mother and son who are being smuggled into the U.S. in a hidden compartment beneath a tour bus, the Academy Award winning short film Inocente naturally caught my attention as, at the time the film was made, Inocente (the subject of the film) was an undocumented homeless teenager in San Diego, who happens to also be a very talented artist. 

I watched the film at and quickly understood why the film won the Oscar. Not only is Inocente a powerful, compelling, engaging subject but the filmmakers do her story justice. Her story will pull at your heart as will her art. So, this month for Kids Get Arty, I decided to do a large art piece with the boys inspired by Inocente - her spirit and her techniques.

Inocente piece that inspired me personally as we painted together.
Exploring various techniques is a great way to engage younger children (Wild Thing is 3 and Caterpillar is 19 months) in the process of exploring artists, since emulating exact art pieces or style might be beyond their abilities. I knew that the bold, graphic images that Inocente created would not be something we could create, but I loved watching Inocente paint - pouring paint at times, splattering paint at times, rolling paint on the canvas, letting paint drip from the brushes, using brushes in a traditional way, putting paint in the palm of her hand and using her fingers to paint, and sprinkling glitter onto one of her pieces, so I encouraged the boys to try each of these techniques too. 

Also, we had never really done a large art piece (besides one mural we did almost a year ago), so I liked that aspect of being inspired by Inocente as well -- creating a large art piece together (myself and the boys) and painting on a piece that is on the floor, as Inocente often did. I hope you enjoy the many photos from our art experience -- and if you decide to watch the film, which I hope you will, be forewarned that you may shed a tear (or two or several, a few different times). (Also, if you want to watch this with your children, depending on their age, you may want to only show select excerpts since she talks explicitly about being abused as a child and her and her mother both share openly about their struggles related to homelessness).

The film has also inspired me to make a donation of art supplies to a local shelter for homeless youth. If you decide to do something similar, call ahead first to find out what supplies they need and will be able to use. 


Spreading with a scrub brush.
Swirls added by mommy.
Wild Thing uses his paintbrush. I layered on a heart.
Wild Thing enjoyed paint layering as well.
Caterpillar mainly did this paint layering.

We also added some splatters to the heart.
And took a tricycle riding break...

...and did some nice painting on our feet!
I had to take and share this photo of Caterpillar with paint-splattered feet because the film often focuses in on the paint-splattered shoes that Inocente wears. All in all, I really loved our collaborative art piece! Oh - and I should share that the larger containers of paint were paint that we made at home with corn starch, sugar, salt, water and food coloring -- I got the recipe from Red Ted Art. I then put the paint in two recycled containers. It worked out wonderfully. 
Our final masterpiece!
I should also add that this art activity engaged the boys for much longer and much more completely than possibly any other art or craft project we have done. I think the whole body/gross motor skill element really drew them in, as well as the novelty of it. Plus, my boys love to be outdoors, so art outside always goes over well -- and it was a perfect way to usher in the time change (we did this after their nap because it was still light) and enjoy the nice weather we had today.


  1. Wow! Looks like a BRILLIANT arty experience. There is so much movement and passion in your picture! Love the process and the end result!

    Thank you for joining in with Kids Get Arty, fantastic!


  2. Love the hearts! DD is a big fan so will definitely be doing this!thanks for sharing

  3. LOVE this! And jealous of it being nice enough to craft outside! It did warm up enough to play outside for an hour without the kids freezing today!

  4. What a wonderful artistic experience for your family. That is so thoughtful that you purchased art supplies for children at a local shelter. I love the way you reach out and make a difference in the lives of others.

  5. What wonderful way to explore paint! I love that a bike break was taken.

  6. LOVE this art project and so glad it is a lesser known artist! Pinning to my Art with Kids board.

  7. What a beautiful collaborative painting - and it looks like it was a ton of fun to create! I also really love that you chose such an inspiring artist to focus on!

  8. What a great work of art you all created together! :)

  9. I love doing Fine Art activities with little ones! You all did great work!

    Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope you join us again today!

  10. I love the collaborative effort :) I'll be featuring your post as part of my Ways to Play with Paint roundup from the Weekly Kids' Co-op. Thanks for sharing. xoxo P

  11. Oh I do love this kind of messy play! Thanks so much for sharing at the Outdoor Play Party :-)


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