Art & Design Magazine

Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

By Simonbrushfield @SimonBrushfield

I’ve always enjoyed seeing little children play dress ups

A Saturday morning Superman walking down the street in blue tights and a flying cape. Or a Sunday Princess who spends the entire day wearing a jewelled crown and angel wings

So cute

We all want to be someone else at times

Everyday life sometimes gets boring. But not for these creative kids, because when boredom strikes their imaginations take flight

Point 1. The imagination of a child is extraordinary and very inspiring

In character, kids adopt special powers living their fantasy

In fact, I think most people enjoy playing dress ups. Ladies enjoy looking glamorous at the races. And men always get a laugh at parties putting on a dress and makeup

My favorite childhood movie is The Wizard of Oz, because it’s the ultimate fantasy world with an insightful and creative storyline. Every characters imagination runs wild about how they desire to live a perfect life. But here’s what I like most about the movie…

Each character hopes to fix something about themselves

In Dorothy’s sparkling ruby red shoes she discovered the power to deliver herself from her number one problem. She longed for home. Like you and I, each character wants something special. Using their imaginations they take enchanting journeys of self-discovery, each one hoping to find what’s missing

The Tin man wants a heart
The Lion wants to be brave
The Scarecrow wants a brain
And the Wizard wants to be almighty God

Finally, each character comes to their own realisation and unique interpretation on life

In truth, the original book was written by Frank Baum as a political allegory of the American economy around the 1890’s. Interestingly, the storyline emanates from an inequality of the USA money supply. The word ‘Oz’ refers to ounces, a system of measurement for silver and gold

But I want to share with you an enchanting experience I had in Geelong

face painting butterfly by Simon Brushfield Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

It’s all about the imagination, and enjoying a childs fantasy world

This post is about how children inspire each other with their imaginations creating for themselves exciting stage characters. Everybody, even adults, have stage characters to varying degrees

In fact, William Shakespeare once said,

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts”

On this special occasion I was privileged enough to go on a fantasy tour with many little children. And a few crazy adults. Together we created imaginary characters that entertained crowds for hours

I discovered face painting inspires so many people, children and adults

It’s a simple idea

And very childish

face painting by Simon Brushfield Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

But people stood amazed. As boys became roaring lions and pirates, little girls transformed into beautiful Princesses, and I saw a few pretty butterflies floating through the crowd too. It was so much fun

People were enthralled

Transfixed by what was happening. Kids were thrilled to become their favorite character for a day. And parents fed off their children’s imaginations too, smiling at what their kids became after I’d finished with them. The children took center stage as a crowd of onlookers gathered around our stall

face painting mask by Simon Brushfield Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

Everyone’s imagination was ignited

At this Aussie festival the sun was shining. People were happy. And the food was gourmet delicious too. Countries represented came from most parts of the world including Croatia, Serbia, Indonesia, Nepal, and Mexico

The festival is called ‘Pakofesta’

face painting pako festa flag by Simon Brushfield Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

An annual event celebrating cultural diversity in the community, I donated my time and effort having an absolute blast getting creative with the kids. Actually, I was surprised how much fun I had

But it was exhausting

Point 2. Concentrating for hours face painting in public is hard work

It was my first time face painting and probably my last

Each person’s skin color and texture was different which had a big impact on the results of my artwork. So too the proportions of each child’s face. Many kids could not keep still and wriggled forever. One boy even fell asleep in my hands as I was painting. He’d obviously had a big day out. These variables made the task challenging, but added to the overall fun of the event

The most popular face painting character on the day was the tiger, closely followed by the princess mask, then the butterfly, and the least favorite was the pirate

face painting lion by Simon Brushfield Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

As families walked by our stall, I could hear children nagging their parents

“Can I get my face painted mum?”

“Daddy, I want face painting!”

We had a long queue down the street. But my first face painting customer placed a difficult order. I could tell she was creative from the moment she approached the stall. The pretty little girl requested a rainbow tiger on her face. Wow! Her vision challenged me. I wondered what a rainbow tiger might look like? She stayed perfectly still during the painting process, looking directly at me, she expected a quality result. The pressure was on, and I was surprisingly nervous. After 30 minutes my rainbow tiger was complete. And looking in the mirror, thankfully the child was impressed


Here’s the result…

face painting rainbow tiger by Simon Brushfield Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

Two brother’s came along and became roaring tigers for a day, annoying their mother and running out of control down the street in their new characters

But it wasn’t only the little kids enjoying the face painting, many 20 year old girls requested flowers on their cheeks too

This was not the first time I’d participated in a public painting demonstration, the times I’ve done public events I’m always surprised by one thing…

Point 3. People love to watch an artist at work. They stare for hours

Whether it’s a street performer in Sydney, or a busking musician in Melbourne, creativity always draws a crowd because it’s different. Adults gawk for a long time watching a painting progress. And kids just love all the colours, and the messiness of the scene. There’s something mysterious that fascinates people when an artist works. As I’m painting away, I think to myself… “I want to observe these people watching me, because I wonder what interests them so much?”

Here’s my conclusion…

I believe this is what fascinates people most about painting

It’s interesting to watch an artist’s vision originating from the mind and beginning to appear in real life. It’s something a creative person takes for granted, going from one stage to the next, from a blank canvas to the finished artwork. But people enjoy watching the development of a vision being realised because it’s different bringing something new into existence

Crowds also admire the skill involved, for a lot of people can’t draw to save themselves

Without a doubt, when I’m creative in public, here’s what happens…

Point 4. The creative process never fails to inspire and entertain

People ask me all sorts of interesting questions. Creativity creates conversation. And generates opinion. Especially doing abstract art that’s a little different, like a rainbow tiger

Everyone has a different personal interpretation

Which is great

Life’s like that. People have unique approaches to playing interesting characters on the stage of life. But what I love most about creativity is this…

Final Point. Unlike mathematics or chemistry, there’s no right or wrong

When I was in Jakarta Indonesia, I did a public painting demonstration on canvas, in a busy shopping center. But this time there was no face painting involved. It was an art exhibition for serious artists, and I was the only white man painting. Afterwards a mainstream Indonesian television station named TVONE interviewed me about my artistic approach, and what inspires me to become involved in public events

Simon Brushfield artist interview with TVONE Indonesia Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children

Simon being interviewed by TVONE a mainstream television station in South East Asia

Here’s 7 reasons why I love being creative in public…
1. Enjoying the excitement of fun experiences like face painting
2. Collecting valuable ideas & providing inspiration to people
3. Making new friends & sharing interesting conversations
4. Testing & developing new skills outside the studio
5. Participating in fun community events with strangers
6. Entertaining people and sharing fantasy worlds together
7. Finally, as my mother would say “I’m a show off”

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Face Painting and the Amazing Imagination of Children
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