Whimsical creations and imaginary companions are much more than child’s play. Children’s literature and illustration extraordinaire, Dallas Clayton, has cultivated an uncanny idiosyncrasy to stimulate creativity in human beings both young and wizened through awakening the child within himself and enthusiastically spreading the re-enchantment of youthfulness. Whether creating fictional representations that serve as creative encouragement or hiding packages of art supplies in peculiar parks that imaginatively morph into engaging fields of gold, Dallas Clayton’s vivid imagination is reaffirming the richness of awakening your inner child while simply living in the moment. I caught up with the ball of joy to discuss the arts, aliens, the meaning of life, and more.
First and foremost, introduce your colorful self to our readers. Who is Dallas Clayton?
I’m an artist who writes children’s books and travels around the world trying talking on stages, painting on walls and trying to make things a bit more colorful.
Tell us about an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I imagine the first time I used my voice to ask for sustenance was a fairly triumphant day, but that’s back before I can remember. Since then I’ve just tried to pay attention to those who use their voices for more than just feeding themselves.
How do you perceive the arts play a role in the early stages of development of a child’s mind?
We tend to divide humans into categories based on jobs and hobbies. In modern times the act of making art, creating, has become confused with the job/business of the artist. Most children are creating from a very early age both as a way to understand who they are or what their world is made of, and also as a way to express ideas that can’t be expressed in words. After primary school most children who haven’t invested in or showed an overt leaning toward art as a career or serious hobby have “art” in one giant category cleaved off the list of day’s activities, often never to return again. I think this is a tragic derailing of our collective potential, a notion many programs are on track toward adjusting by focusing as much attention as possible on nurturing the idea that we are all artists moving through various mediums, and that whatever career you choose, a greater understanding of the fluidity, history and potential of an artistic practice will no doubt benefit your work and your well being. Also art is incredibly fun.
Although I perceive that it seamlessly varies, tell us about a day in the life of Dallas Clayton.
Every day is different, but most involve writing and drawing and friends and exploring and painting on things and being with my family and trying to stir up trouble wherever I can.
How do you perceive tattooing evokes new ideas about art?
I don’t know enough about tattooing to say with any real certainty what the artistic demands of the medium are, but speaking from personal experience I think the difference between drawing something on a piece of paper or painting it on the wall of a building or inking it to someone’s chest has mostly to do with the intention and the audience. The longer you hope the work will last and the more people you expect to see it, the greater the commitment to believing in what you have to say. It’s easy to give away bumper stickers retweet someone’s funny quip, it’s an entirely different thing to decide to embody the work you love. To wear it as a part of you. Even if it’s a tattoo you got as a joke, that still says so much about who you are and what your relationship to art is.
Hypothetically speaking, I just turned four years old. What life advice and wisdom can you share with me?
Talking to most four year olds you will find a similar energy to talking to people on psychedelics. They are lucid and aware but are understanding thoughts an feelings in a way that most adults aren’t. To that end I think the best advice you can give someone in this circumstance is that they are powerful and loved and that no matter how scary things get, you’ll be there to help them understand who they are and what they are capable of in this grand tapestry of life.
What is the meaning of life?
I don’t know that human life has any definite meaning in and of itself. I imagine that the further you zoom out on the solar system the more answers you’ll find as to what our purpose is. Galaxies upon galaxies deep. But as far as what we currently know, in the observable universe, most sources point to love as being a pretty important and also pretty rewarding ingredient.
What do we have to look forward to with your current and upcoming projects?
I’d like to paint more cities. Bigger buildings. Stranger objects. I’d like to paint a bridge. I’d like to meet many more people and hug them individually and collectively from afar.
You’ve been willingly abducted by a group of aliens from outer space. You have the choice to travel to anywhere in the world with them for one magical day. Where would you go and why?
Certainly not Earth. If aliens were proven to exist I doubt the first thing I’d want to do would be to joy ride the globe. I’d be too busy asking them questions about themselves.
Last but certainly not least, any messages for your readers and your fans?
Find something that makes you happy and use it to make others happy.