At Today’s Family, we know that exercising your child’s creativity is incredibly important. Art is a great way for children to explore the world around them, to tell stories, and learn how to communicate different ideas. Little hands covered in paint, marker, or clay aren’t just signs that children are having a great time – they’re also a sign that learning is happening!
But sometimes we as slightly-older-people have trouble reconnecting with that creative energy that seemed to be everywhere when we were still young and discovering the world. When was the last time you rolled up your sleeves and came up with something totally weird or off-the-wall?
Or, if we’re talking about artist Serena Valerio, the weird stuff is on-the-wall!
You may have noticed a new poster at Today’s Family featuring a suite of acrobatic avocados. If you take the time to count the friendly-looking fruit, you’ll notice that the avocados are divided up into twenty-six little groups. And if you look closer, you might notice some familiar-looking symbols in the poster.
Serena, a student at Sheridan College, was handed a challenging assignment. “The assignment was to create your own font or alphabet using whatever objects, people, or animals you wanted,” she explains. Despite her incredible talent, she found the assignment to be quite an uphill climb. “My process was definitely a long one. I was (making it complicated) by thinking of extreme and challenging concepts…(So,) I just started to experiment.”
Armed with her creativity and a new found inspiration that came from a rather popular green fruit, Serena set to work. “I created my own little avocado character,” she says, “I started him off in a simple, static position; which ended up turning into the letter “A”, and then I (bent) him into other shapes to create letters. I even gave him a friend – the other half.”
Of course, sometimes art doesn’t go as planned. “There’s only so many ways an avocado can bend!” Serena exclaims, “I almost abandoned the idea, but I kept working at it and the next thing I knew, I had a complete alphabet in front of me.
“It really shows that you can take anything and make it fun.” Serena smiles. “When someone thinks of the alphabet, they don’t laugh – it’s just the alphabet. Why not take it and turn it into something that makes kids excited to learn about it?
“I really want people of all ages to look at the poster and just get inspired. I want it to display that there are no limitations with art!”
The big question, though, is what does this have to do with Today’s Family??
Well, not only are avocados a staple in our kitchens (our children absolutely love homemade guacamole), but there’s a bit of a personal connection here, too. Serena is one of our excellent summer staff in our Summer Camp program. Now, we can’t take total credit for Serena’s amazing work, but we will take a little bit!
So, what’s next for our favourite avocado illustrator? “There is still a long and exciting journey to go!” She says, “I was just accepted into (Sheridan College’s) Honours Bachelor of Illustration program.”
So, when you see Serena’s Avocado posters hanging around one of our centres, remind yourself that when it comes to art, anything is possible.