How To Explain It To Your Parents

There’s an old adage – well, I’ve been using it for years; families, can’t live with them, can’t kill them and bury them underneath the pool (we have no pool).

Now there’s little doubt that I am part of my family, the family resemblance between siblings is too striking for me to be adopted. But at times I have this overwhelming sense that we might as well be different animals and that I am certainly the odd one out.

So how do you explain what you do to your family, to your parents? It was hard enough for my brother to explain he was in IT Support, so what hope do you have of conveying meaning when you’re doing something as seemingly esoteric as creating art?

Lernert & Sander have produced a documentary series in which 5 abstract artists attempt to explain their work to their parents.

The first episode features Arno Coenen trying to explain his work (with beer) to his father.

How to explain it to my parents – Arno Coenen from Lernert & Sander on Vimeo

“Explain to me in simple terms how this beer is art,” Arno’s father (perhaps quite understandably) asks.

You can watch the other installments at Lernert & Sander’s Vimeo page.

3 comments… add one
  • My parents knew I was a writer from an early age. In my 20s I’d proudly give them copies of the all little magazines that printed my poems. A few years ago my mother gave them back to me. “I thought you might like these,” she said. ! And of course they encouraged me to go into teaching so I’d have a day job because poets get paid in copies of the magazine.

  • Hi John,

    Great question, and blog post! I saw your entry on Allison’s Pink Fibro Blog, and I’ve been exploring the authors behind the entries ever since. Best of luck with your blog, and your entry.

  • My family identified me as a writer, and then promptly made me play musical instruments instead. So explaining what *I* do, not hard – in some ways, I feel like they decided for me but then I had to make it my own. Figuring out any way to fight the tides of illogic? Utterly beyond my ken.

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