How Do Kids Connect to Art?
"I specialize in transformations," says Priest. He recalls painting a green monster face on a three- or four-year-old boy. "Kids think of it as the Hulk. When I was done, his body language changed--he was striking poses, bulging his muscles. Kids painted as superheroes leave with their shoulders back, looking people in the eye. 'Wow!' their bodies say. 'I look really cool!'" He described how a mom in her forties, when painted like a cheetah, started to strut as she walked away.
One of Priest's favorite Ann Arbor moments came after he painted the face of a three-year-old girl. "I'm a princess," she announced, and then she started roaring like a monster. "Ann Arbor," Priest concludes, "has a very strong feminist group."
[Originally published in July, 2013.]