| Family Room Feature |

Abstract Art, Concrete Memories

Involving your children in the process produces art that is visually stimulating and emotionally impactful

PHOTOGRAPHY BY KSENIJA HOTIC

The story of Nayolia Child Art begins on a sweltering Florida afternoon in 2012, when my 18-month-old daughter and I went outside to play around with some paint. I had a four-foot sheet of raw duck cloth lying around, so I plopped her down in the middle of it and we started squeezing out the paint. She thought the sound was hilarious, so we squeezed out more, all over the cloth.

Before long, her baby soft arms and legs were glistening with metallic gold, plum purples, and cranberry. We played around until every inch was covered. A week later, we hung her masterpiece over our family room sofa. In a wonderful plot twist — it was spectacular!

Then an interesting thing happened. As life continued, I noticed jaw-dropping reactions to the new piece we’d acquired by almost everyone who entered our home. Friends started requesting that I “make one with their children” too. And so, the Nayolia concept was born. Nayolia is an amalgamation of my children’s names: Talia, Naomi, Ayla, and Nate. This combination felt elegant, yet fun and nostalgic — which is exactly how I view this venture. For most people, the artwork seems to be so many things at once: a tangible reminder of how small their children once were, a completely customizable gallery-quality art, and the impactful result of when family creates something sentimental together.

Today, much of my early-day process remains the same, while additional details continue to emerge as I find artistic inspiration in each family that I work with. Before the session, I spend time discussing painting dimensions and customizing a color palette for my clients. The family members arrive in paint attire, and the session is guided using hands and feet, along with some fun texture-making rollers and tools. Afterwards the artwork is finished and glossed, then stretched and framed. Once the finished piece of artwork is delivered, the children involved feel so proud!

1. The paints we use are nontoxic and thoroughly researched for safety, quality, and capability to withstand time.

2. I prep your canvas by pre-painting the background. This provides a first layer for the kids to build upon and alleviates the concern of raw canvas left showing. 

3. All those messy projects we’ve said no to have their time to shine: squeezing out the whole tube of paint is part of the project here, and it makes it so much fun.

4. Feeling that slippery sensation under their little feet is satisfyingly tactile, and their motions create beautiful whorls on the canvas. Magical prints get left behind.

5. We add another textural element by experimenting with print making and roller tools. Each tool will change the paint in some new way — whether in deep, squiggly, or thin grooves.

6. We save a pair of special handprints for last. Our prints are embedded throughout, but these will really shine through.

7. The final result may vary, but the nostalgic effect and artistic impact is consistent.

8. Frame and hang for endless enjoyment!

Shira Turk lives in Toronto with her husband and children, and offers sessions year-round in her newly retrofitted home studio. Nayolia Child Art graces homes across South Florida, New Jersey, and Toronto. Visit @nayolia_childart to get in touch!

(Originally featured in Family Room, Issue 003)

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