"You know the fact that very small children make brilliant art and slightly bigger children, when they get slightly bigger, they can’t do it anymore?
Yes, it’s in part because they learn: this is how you draw a tree. This is how you draw a house. This is how you draw the sun. On the one hand, they want to please, and on the other, they fall prey to convention. What was unique and particular about the scrawls that they made or their bursts of color or whatever, slowly is normalized and the little pictures they draw become less interesting. And less interesting to them as well, which is why so many kids stop making art. Which means that the ones who don’t stop making art are pretty interesting because they’re holding onto something that others are losing, which is some sense that there is a way to convey experience that is outside convention, that isn’t a purely conventional expression.”
An excerpt from our interview with Claire Messud about her new book, The Woman Upstairs: http://powells.us/13zSRIS