Elyssa Sykes-Smith interview: School Holiday Workshops

This school holiday, local Sydney artist Elyssa Sykes-Smith, graduate of NAS and Sculpture By The Sea prize winner, will be leading workshops in East Village Shopping Centre for some artists in miniature (alongside their parents).

The arts and crafts activity will involve the creation of designs on timber letters, to later be installed on Mirvac and UrbanGrowth NSW’s hoarding at Green Square Town Centre. Mini artists and parents are invited to come see their handiwork once the artwork has been installed and grab a free hot drink from The Social Corner.

Why are kids so great to work as an artist?
I think the biggest reason why kids are so fun to work with  is that they’re not controlled by what is wrong, and what is right, and they’ll join together dots that we would sometimes stop ourselves doing as adults. So they can come up with amazing , creative combinations and ideas that just flow so naturally. And you can see that just with the artworks they made today. They approach it completely differently than I would and it’s really refreshing.

Do you try and incorporate this approach into your practice?
I think the more you’re around something, the more it rubs off. So that approach means I’m learning from it and it's an exchange. I think people often get too trapped into thinking we’re teaching kids things - but really we facilitate experiences for children and then we learn from them.

Any breakthrough creative moments when working with children?
Sometimes. Sometimes we’re just having a little chat about something and I’ll suggest they draw something - like a flower. And they’ll be like , “What?! Flowers? That’s so yesterday”.  Or they make the flower into something else that we were talking about, like a dragon, and they go on a creative journey.