It is fun to have fun but you have to know how.
--from The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss
Shopping at the Mall. Some of us absolutely love it, some are entertained by it, some of us grit our teeth and bear it, and some of us just absolutely hate it. Which explains the variety of expressions I always see when walking through our local mall. But today, it was a different story. Smiles everywhere. And who wouldn’t smile upon being greeted by this friendly chap, the Cat in the Hat?
The Cat in the Hat was born out of the incredible imagination of America’s most beloved “doctor”, Dr. Seuss (not a real doctor). For several weeks at the Gardens Mall (Palm Beach Gardens, Fl), the Ann Jackson Gallery (Atlanta, Georgia) has been exhibiting their wonderful collection of Dr. Seuss art, reminding us just how amazing the “good doctor’s” imagination was. Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) is best known for the whimsical creatures that he illustrated for his children’s books, which were designed to teach children to read. But by looking at the life of this imaginative man, we can also learn some great lessons about artistic creativity.
THE ART OF DR. SEUSS
PRESENTED BY THE ANN JACKSON GALLERY
1.Creativity and art grow in an atmosphere of love and support.
As a child, Dr. Seuss’s earliest fans were his parents. His mother encouraged him to draw his early animal cartoons (even on the walls!) and one of his parents would accompany him to the zoo with his sketchpad. His father also helped him, by providing him with animal parts such as antlers and horns from the zoo. Both his parents were always supportive of both his creativity and who he was as a person.
2. Art is a powerful tool for communication.
Valerie Jackson, one of the sisters that run the Ann Jackson Gallery, told me that when people see the art of Dr. Seuss, they “smile, are brought to tears, or even give me a hug”. Great art stirs the emotions, whether it is in the form of a cartoon, an illustration or a Renaissance masterpiece.
3. Creative Geniuses follow their passions.
Most people can guess that Dr. Seuss was passionate about both drawing and animals throughout his life. But what most people don’t know is that he also had a passion for hats, which were kept in a closet. These hats provided inspiration for his illustrations and books, the best example being his book, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins .
ITALIAN MILITARY HAT, PART OF THE HAT COLLECTION OF DR. SEUSS
THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS, BY DR. SEUSS
4. Artistic Geniuses work diligently at their craft.
Dr. Seuss was drawing in his sketchbook since childhood, and was always perfecting his craft. His many famous illustrations were totally created by him from initial concept to the final work. But his art was not limited to children’s books. Dr. Seuss also created a large body of paintings, now known as his “Secret Art” paintings. He also created a number of imaginative sculptures based on the antlers and other parts that he received from the zoo.
"TWO HORNED DROUBERHANNIS"
RESIN SCUPTURE FROM THE "COLLECTION OF UNORTHODOX TAXIDERMY", BY DR. SEUSS
5. Creative Geniuses do not give up.
An important hallmark of successful creatives is that they don’t give up. Being so impressed with their successes, we often forget that they too have many rejections and false starts. Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was rejected 27 times by editors before it was finally accepted!
Valerie and Margaret Jackson,owners of the Ann Jackson Gallery clearly enjoying their Dr. Seuss show at the Gardens Mall.
Did you read Dr. Seuss when you were a child? Do you still love his artwork? We would love it if you would share your thoughts in the comments below.