From left, Vortex, by Maureen Peng, 16 , Toronto; I Love Cheese, by Cherry Jones, 10, SwindonCourtesy of Saatchi-Gallery.co.uk
The celebrated Saatchi Gallery in London recently launched a new Website, Stuart, sort of a MySpace for art students. Registered artists worldwide can submit their art, add “friends,” even compete against each other for prizes. The art on Stuart is what you’d expect from any user-submitted site; a lot of it is kind of boring, a lot of it is gross and weird and kind of obscene, and a little of it is pretty great. But the work often feels rote, hitting the art-school Stations of the Cross without all that much verve.
But how about the kids? Saatchi’s less-heralded site, Artroom, allows kids ages 6 and up to paint their own works online and post them. Though the children have produced their fair share of horse portraits and Disney characters, many of the young artists are already excitedly exploring new forms. These precocious tots are already painting still lifes, architectural renderings, geometric designs, wild abstractions, and Surrealist masterpieces. They’re unafraid to extol the things they love or face fears of puberty head-on. There’s even a fake Rothko! Sign these kids up!