10 artists, writers and musicians who made great art for kids via Timbuktu January 18 2013

Maybe not all artists are children, but many artists have been inspired by childhood to make beautiful art. We had a look at architects, but many writers, visual artists and musicians were inspired to create work for kids too: here are some of our favorites.

1 – Bruno Munari

How not to open with Bruno Munari, an artist who contributed greatly to education and didactic, and whose work, for kids and otherwise, will always be a source of inspiration for us! Remember the series of activities for kids inspired by him we sent out with our newsletter last summer? The list of his work for children is long, but this poster of speaking forks (and the images in the gallery) can give you an idea of his intelligent and playful approach to design.

2 – Gertrude Stein

Can you believe Gertrude Stein wrote a book for children? And furthermore, can you believe it’s a rather pink thing? A few images should be enough to make you believe it’s a true wonder: serious writers take children’s writing seriously, with lightness.

3 – Pablo Picasso

We’ve heard a few times that Picasso used to make toys for his daughters, and we thinking of the artist as a dad who builds toys for his little girl – of course he would, right? For instance, he may have built the toy boat Maya is holding in this amazing portrait, just like he built a tiny guitar for Paloma: you can see its picture in the gallery – the toy guitar is held by the police who found it after it’d been stolen.

4 – T.S.Eliot

The Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is a collection of poems for children (and us all) by T.S. Eliot. They are fantastic, you can read them here.

5 – Igor Stravinsky

The great XX century composer didn’t only work to revolutionize the music world. He also found the time to compose L’Histoire du Soldat, a story in music “to be told, played, and danced.”. For children of all ages, clearly.

6 – Alexander Calder

Looking at Calder’s work, and especially his mobile sculptor, it doesn’t surprises that he would draw inspiration from childhood for his work. And make art that children would love, like the amazing Circus he designed, built and would play with.

7 – Sergei Prokofiev, David Bowie and Dario Fo

You probably know Sergei Prokofiev’s musical tale Peter and the Wolf, but it’s always great to hear it again: it’s a fantastic example of a children’s story that has profound meanings for grown ups too. Here, the story is narrated by David Bowie – not to shabby, right?

And if you happen to speak Italian, here’s a bonus for you: the story, in Italian, narrated by Nobel-prize winner Dario Fo.

8 – Yayoi Kusama

Aside from having illustrated a wonderful edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama is often doing art for, and with, kids. During her recent show at the Tate, she held a workshop where kids were given thousands stickers to decorate a room. This is what happened.

9 – Salman Rushdie

The author of the masterpiece Midnight’s Children sure has all the imagination it takes to charm kids, so it’s not a surprise that he wrote not one, but two children’s book. Luke and The Fire of Life, the story about a boy who had two pets – a bear named dog and a dog named bear – is the second. Here’s a brilliant reading, with the author and kids.

10 – Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s Advice to Little Girl is, as you may expect, hilarious. This is not the kind of book you necessarily want your daughters to base their manners on (but then again, why not?), but is certainly a great piece of genius you will much enjoy.

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