Category Archives: Childrens art

Playtime: Old School with Mario + Luigi

Press ‘play’ on the video below.

There. Now you have the perfect soundtrack for today’s post.

Over the weekend we headed over to Photo Studio Group to photograph a pair of cousins. But it wasn’t just your typical session. They wanted to play dress up…

Pretty darn adorable, don’t you think?

There was a bit of vying for the Mario costume.

But sometimes a little competition is healthy.

To have your child photographed in costume, shoot us an email or call 734-929-2498

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Good Times for a Good Cause: 826 Michigan’s Annual Storymakers Dinner

Last night N photographed the 4th Annual Storymakers Dinner for 826 Michigan at Zingerman’s Roadhouse. He shot the event last year and jumped at the chance to do it again. It’s a really fun, laid back evening celebrating the literary accomplishments of students and the adults that help them. If you’re not familiar with 826, you can check out their website here. This is their intro paragraph on the site:

826michigan is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students aged 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. 826 opened its doors in June of 2005. Since then, we have been blessed with students, tutors, and volunteers overflowing with enthusiasm.

We couldn’t be happier to work with such a vital asset in our community. Last night’s special guests included National Book Critics Circle Award recipient Deb Olin Unferth and former 826 student Saif Ghanem, whose essay “The Story of My Life” was included in the 826 National publication Be Honest, And Other Advice from Students Around the Country. 

If you’re looking for an incredibly worthwhile organization to donate, volunteer or just learn more about, we urge you to find out more about 826 and visit The Robot Supply & Repair at 115 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. Proceeds from sales of awesome robot goodies directly fund their literacy, tutoring and publishing programming. Can you tell we just love this place??

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Happy Announcement : Baby Sessions

We couldn’t help it. Once we started taking photos of our own, we decided that photographing other people’s babies would probably make them just as happy as we are. So we want to spread the cheer of the non-traditional portrait. Check out our new Baby Session below. We’re looking to take baby and children’s photos to a whole new level. 000_3776


April 5 2013B000_3777

Here’s the small print: Our wee one is still very young so we had to hold his neck up. It’s up to you as parents if you want to have your hands in there for neck control. We also leave it to you to corral Baby but we work with you to ensure we get the best photos possible in one hour. Photo session includes travel in Ann Arbor, a fee is added for anywhere outside city limits. Additional friends and siblings are welcome but we’ll need to charge a little more for lighting. Please allot for an additional 30 minutes for set up and break down of equipment, which is included in the cost. If you choose to have your session in our studio, there are lots more options. We send you all the usable images and you choose 5, which we then retouch and process and send back to you in high resolution quality to use for what ever you please. Let us know if you have any questions – 734-929-2498 or We can’t wait to meet you!

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Jim Henson, Muppetry and An Unyielding Obsession

This past weekend N surprised me by hooking up a Detroit errand with an event at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Heather Henson, daughter of the late, great Jim Henson was putting on a performance with her troupe Ibex Puppetry called Celebration of Flight. Not only was I completely floored that he found out about this fantastic opportunity before I did, I was elated to see some artistry and performance at work.

I don’t remember a time in my life that The Muppets were not around. Prior to their “comeback” in last year’s The Muppets, I was still clamoring for Animal and singing the theme song. (Some say there’s even a Halloween photo where I wear a pig snout and N’s face is painted green…) Something as genius as what Jim Henson started in the ’60s would always have a place in my heart, even if it wasn’t reaching further than Grover watchers out there via Sesame Street.

We saw Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, a retrospective exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in 2009 which included early sketches for animations, silkscreen posters he did in college and even key design elements from The Dark Crystal. This was, of course, all dwarfed in comparison to the Kermit which we were introduced to within the first ten feet of the exhibit. It was magical.

Needless to say, I was enamored by the motion, fluidity and realness of the birds and forms created by the puppet group. It was a hot day but the strong breeze made for a beautiful back drop as we watched the performers manipulate kites, bird forms and weave among one another with ease.

My path in art has meandered but never strayed far from appreciation of great artistry and concepts. Jim Henson’s legacy and its ability to make us believe is what continues to inspire me.

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Our New Friends with a Great Cause: Skylark and King

We were so excited to meet Nick Zagar, one of the owners of Skylark and King (along with brother Michael Freedman) for a few reasons. Not only are their “larks”, multi-sized shorts really fashion forward, they’re behind a great cause. Every time you purchase a product from them, portions of the sale go toward funding clean water and sanitation solutions through the organization Water for People.

Photo: From Skylark and King

See our photos of their latest endeavor, kids’ larks below. *Aren’t they incredible?* We’ll keep you posted on when you can get these adorable, adjustable and totally necessary wardrobe items. You can learn more about this amazing company and their ideology to help people gain access to water here.

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Painting Class: The Difference Between Kids and Adults

I start teaching children’s painting classes today at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. If you’re not familiar, CCS is a top-notch educational institution churning out incredibly talented artists and designers, including a huge pool of talent that’s recruited for the Big Three. The building I teach in, the Alfred Taubman Center is an impressive facility with dorms, an art supply and book store, a gym and a materials library (which I’ll be using in a few weeks when I teach fashion illustration).

One of my favorite aspects of teaching children is that there’s still time to make an impact. With adults, myself included, we’re too set in our ways. Our sense of improvement is hardly objective and is a tumultuous process. With kids and young adults, there’s still time to challenge and watch them accept new concepts. There are technical lessons I learned when I was very young that have stuck with me because I learned them the “right way” rather than trying to think I was good enough to just figure it out on my own. To my mentors and teachers, I’m terribly grateful.

Here are the five biggest differences between teaching and working with children and adults in the art studio setting.

1. Children aren’t afraid of color. Adults just think they aren’t. | The color wheel is engrained in my mind. No matter how many hues I use in my work, I’m constantly fretting over each color’s relationship to the one next to it, how it does or doesn’t activate. Kids worry about no such thing, or at least don’t tend to until their teens. They may even know that red is complementary to green on the color wheel but they don’t think twice about how to use it and what to mix with it.

2. It doesn’t have to fill up the whole canvas to be a brilliant work. | There was a news story once about a 4 year old girl who’s “paintings” were going for exorbitant amounts of money to so-called collectors. I scoffed at this idea. The parent and dealer’s (yes, you read that right) consensus was that she was an artistic genius because unlike most children her age, she filled the entire canvas with paint. Most children don’t have the attention span nor commitment to “finish” an entire plane, they said.

After long pondering, I think that’s a crock. Some of the most enthralling children’s work I’ve seen has more life than a German Expressionist painting and can be a painterly form of a singular figure. Adults finish their canvases because it’s to be expected. But rules are meant to be broken. See Dubuffet, Basquiat, Matisse…

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tenors, 1985 |  Image:

Which leads us to:

3. Kids take about half the time to do the same project. Adults have more concentration. | This should come as no surprise since we learn to focus and commit as we get older. There are exceptions to this rule but children under 8 generally do not work on a project, even a large one, for more than an hour. Adults have their notions, agendas and expectations. Those take a lot longer to work out on paper.

4. Adults take better care of the materials. Kids don’t. | This is probably largely due to the fact that adults pay for their art supplies and they realize how costly creating work can be. Kids push the bristles of the brush into the paper, they don’t wash their brushes well enough, they leave their brushes face down in the water. But hey, they’re kids!

5. Children and adults are both eager to learn, but in different ways. | Turns out that’s the universal reason for being in the classroom. But kids are more inclined to appreciate the designated amount of time to create and play. Some of them truly do want to learn technical methods (especially as they get older) but adults are more adept at following direction. Even if they digress back to their old habits later on.

Adults can learn a lot from kids and vice versa. I always get a schooling from my students whether I like it or not. Wish me luck!

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