Children's art classes are likely to lead to a lot of "interesting" art. Here are art teachers, students, and parents sharing the most disturbing of the lot.
Many thanks to all the Redditors who responded. Check out more answers from the source at the end of this article!
1. We all wear masks...
We had premade masks. The kids were supposee to color the outside to look like them, and then color the inside how they were feeling. Of course there was also pipe cleaners, pom-poms, beads, etc so that they could be creative.
At the end of the glass, the teacher and I were going through them.
One of the kids drew his happy, smiling face on the outside. On the inside, he glued hundreds of pieces of shattered glass, with the sharp edges poking out dangerously. We later found out that he was moved to foster care because he was abused by his parents.
2. That does happen.
My little brother got in trouble for drawing a picture of a polar bear eating a seal. Lots of red crayon was used. He was like 9. I didn't get why it was a big deal. It's not like it doesn't happen.
3. A film buff!
I had this kid I'll call Joe. He loved movies. He hated everyone but me. I was his first male teacher ever. He would often draw me pictures of Godzilla and King Kong. It was awesome.
When he went to the next grade he drew a picture of his new teacher being eaten by sharks. She freaked, called a whole bunch of meetings, went nuts. She was saying that she was scared that he wants her dead and that she feared for her life.
I was asked to have a talk with the kid. I asked him what the picture was and he said it was the lady from JAWS IV being eaten by Jaws. We then proceeded to talk about how Jaws 1 and 2 are awesome.
My kids in Korea presented me with this masterpiece one day.
Note their sweet little names at the bottom.
5. Must have been talented if you could tell they were beautiful.
I had a male college drawing student who liked to draw pictures of beautiful women screaming. I can see how this could easily be goth pretty camp or trying too hard to be edgy. It wasn't any of those things.
He just really liked pictures of women in distress and seemed obsessed by the idea of it. I jokingly told him to use his powers for good and not for evil. And that it's better to get your emotions out in drawing than in the real world.
6. "The teachers never did anything."
When I was in high school a really weird guy would ignore the instructions for any assignment, and just draw pictures of people being murdered- cut up, burned alive, all kinds of crazy stuff.
The teachers never did anything.
One day after school he pulled a knife and stabbed my friend in the hand for "being a jew".
Suspended for two weeks...
He told someone he was going to shoot up the school like Columbine. Luckily the person he told called the police. When they came to the kids house they found a rifle and drawings of the school. He was planning on setting a fire in the chemistry lab and when people came out the other side of the building he would be sitting in the bleachers of the football field with the rifle.
I don't know what happened after he got arrested but hopefully he's never getting out of prison. This guy is seriously dangerous.
Also, our teachers and school administration were clearly braindead.
7. "Sometimes I stay up at night thinking about it."
I'm a volunteer at a centre that does art therapy. One of the happiest littlest clients we have handed me a drawing of their (deceased) mother with her face twisted into a horrified scream, eyes blackened and brown gloop was pouring from the mouth and eyes. Sometimes I stay up at night thinking about it.
8. Who could have guessed?
In high school we had a kid whose art portfolio was displayed at the school's art show. Numerous drawings, sketches, paintings, etc. of tadpoles. From a single one to dozens to hundreds. A full 2 years of art classes dedicated to tadpoles.
Until he informed everyone he was drawing sperm...
9. Having a hard time conceptualizing this one...
In my AP art class in 12th grade, a fellow student in class decided to make an art portfolio with the human fetus as its theme.
One piece in particular was a hyper-realistic ink drawing of a tossed salad with little fetuses in lieu of shrimp.
10. I really hope this kid was able to work through these feelings.
A yellow smiley face with sad mouth with the big black words written on it: I want to eat a lot of medicine to kill myself my parents hate me.
The kid is 10 years old.
11. Ya can you send me one pls?
When I was in kindergarten, I drew a male ghost going to the bathroom. I had older brothers, so it was very detailed (and I even put a water-line on the testicles...because that is where I thought urine was stored).
The teachers and principal called in my parents for a "serious conference" and asked my dad what he was going to do about the picture. After my dad finished laughing, he told them that he was going to make copies and send them to all of his friends and relatives for Halloween. And he did.
That was 40 years ago...and I still have a few extra copies if any of you need them. Oh, and I found out that balls do not, in fact, store urine.
12. Why wouldn't someone just explain it?
In 2nd grade I was infatuated with the Battleship Bismark. I also loved the flag on it with the red background and white circle with that cool box thingy.
We had to build a design to look like a quilt using construction paper. I did mine using the Nazi flag. It looked 100% like it. My teacher didn't say a word but when I showed it to my parents they burned it. It took me until 5 years to figure out why they did that
13. Quite a contrast on that wall.
Back in the 90s I volunteered at an art studio that provided free classes for low-income inner-city at-risk youth. Wonderful nonprofit run by a couple of cool old hippy ladies who did an amazing job helping the kids feel free to express themselves artistically no matter what they wanted to create. For example, one teenage smart aleck made an elaborate paper mache of Bob Marley smoking a huge joint and they hung it proudly in a place of honor. No judgement or preachiness at that art class.
So one year they decided to have the younger kids do a Day of the Dead themed picture with a short paragraph to commemorate a loved one. The teachers were expecting pictures of grandmas or maybe pets, and there were some of those. There were also several scenes of murder, including childishly drawn guns, knives and oh so much red, followed by short descriptions like, "My brother got shot. He dead now. It was loud and scary. I miss him." These were like 7-9 year olds. Those pictures were displayed just as proudly as the grandma pics.
14. Saved it for all the right reasons.
In a Sunday School class one time when I was maybe 8 or 9, they asked us to read passages of hell and then draw what it looks like to us. One boy drew "a day with my family" illustration.
Also, in 10th grade, a classmate made a Nazi propaganda poster. She didn't offer any explanation, just... Nazi propaganda. She's in law school at UT Austin now trying to become a Senator. I actually took her piece home with me because she didn't want it, I still have it somewhere.
15. That would keep me up at night...
I worked at an elementary after school program when I was 17. Instead of coloring in the picture, the kid took a black crayon and was just scribbling over the page singing to the tune of Barney "I hate you, you hate me". Always unnerved me.
16. It would be!
I had a second grader kid draw a picture of me and him together and my hand was behind him. He wrote "Coach Cuthbert likes to touch me."
I don't believe I had ever touched him. Not really that type of person. However, it was pretty embarrassing.
High School 1977. While everyone else is drawing Pink Floyd rainbows and peace signs all over everything the biggest burnout in the class makes a wide metal bracelet with intricate triangular designs cut out of it. He turns it in and get a great grade for the first project he ever bothered finishing and some well deserved praise for his effort.
Teacher hands our work back and first thing he does is grab a pair of pliers and bends all the triangles outward making a thick metal spiked bracelet. I found that devilishly, disturbingly clever.
Told the kids to draw something that makes them happy. One kid scribbled black all over the page and said nothing makes him happy.
19. Better you than me.
At my daycare I saw one hung on the wall with these circles on it that said "I see spirits, they follow me".
You remember the Super Bad (movie) scene with the dicks?
My friend did that about 15 years before the movie and someone turned it into the teacher. He got suspended for a few days and his parents had to come in and review the notebook with the principle.
I mean it was filled front to back with dicks.
21. Better stay away from there, then.
I have an art studio for children and have seen some very interesting artwork produced throughout the years. The two experiences I am listing below didn't involve the children's artwork but, they were disturbing all the same.
I had a little boy (5 yrs. old) who always wore gloves and sunglasses. I knew he needed to wear them due to some sensory issues he was experiencing. Although he did get defensive when other kids asked him about his outfit, he was a sweet kid. One day during summer camp, I saw him sitting on the floor whispering intently into an air vent in German. I had no idea he could speak German (he had only spoken English for the time I knew him). I asked him what he was doing/ who he was talking to and he explained "I'm communicating with the Demons". When I talked to his mom about it later, she told me he doesn't know how to speak German...
For awhile I rented out the basement area of a school for my art studio. I had a little boy who pointed to our supply closet and stated "You're going to die in there some day."
22. You got a problem?
Put a construction paper origami box on his locker two steps outside my classroom. Did a drawing of weapons with the message "if you have someone in the school you need dealt with, leave their name and fifty sense."
He didn't see the problem with this and insisted that it was a joke.
This was years after Columbine, but still. Weird thing to joke about.
This is the same kid that chose to do a project on Uruguay, because "it sounds like you're saying 'you're a gay.'"
23. So sad.
My school was unlucky in that almost every year a student died. It was a big deal for us, as each year only had around sixty students. Well, my younger brother had this classmate that said my brother was probably going to be the one who died. It was crazy but no one really cared because my brother was/is kind of odd.
Kid ended up dying during open heart surgery.
In my brother's art class they made a quilt.
24. All that for that?
Brother's art class in like 2nd grade was doing those full body tracings on big sheets of butcher paper.
They were supposed to trace each other and then "draw themselves". My brother evidently refused to draw a face for himself. Would not budge on that. Drew everything else, but no face. Wouldn't say why and because he was super shy and quiet clammed up more when the teacher started grilling him about it.
Art teacher calls principal because this is "concerning", principal calls school counselor. Counselor meets with my brother, who still wont talk about why he wont draw his face, asking him questions like "do you not like your self? Do you feel bad about your self? etc...
At this point, he's really clammed up and is now refusing to talk because he's really shy to begin with and all this questioning is happening.
School calls my parents, they have a meeting about the fact that they think my brother is depressed or has some kind of mental issue. Parents freak of course and brother still wont talk. Parents and councelors start asking if he feels neglected or unloved or something. Mom's crying, dad is frustrated and brother thinks he's in trouble for something and I guess in an effort to stop them he says he doesn't draw his face because he "hates some one in the family."
Cue full family counseling for like a month. Mom is a wreck and thinks my brother feels like they neglect him and don't love him so she's just constantly like "You know I love you very much, right". Councelling isn't going well because brother is just quiet and confused, me, two years older than him is just mad we have to be at this office all the time...
Finally, durring one session, brother finally cracks. The doctor asks "who is the person in your family you said you hated?"
Brother says: Pusspuss, our cat. She bites me.
My mom and dad are like...._
The doctor is surprised, but pushes his advantage now that brother is finally talking:
Why didn't you want to draw your face? Do you feel bad about your self?
I just wanted my sister do it... She's a better drawer than me.
No psychosis, no early childhood trauma, no mental disorder...Just an overly concerned art teacher and a little kid who thought it would be best if his older sister drew his face because she "was a good drawer".
25. Shot through the heart, and you're to blame.
In high school we had to do a Valentine's Day card to a president which was supposed to include some sort of historical background on the president chosen. My teacher loved JFK, like he literally had cardboard cutouts of the dude all over the classroom. Not even lying the guy almost looked like him. Anyways by the time I thought of something to do for the card it was an hour before class at lunch. So I turned in a picture of Cupid sniping JFK in the back of the head with one of his sharply pointed heart arrows he loves to use. It was pretty graphic. Don't think I ever got a grade for that one.
26. Let kids express themselves.
In 1st grade three girls were bullying me on the play ground. They pushed me real hard into the mulch and I got a wood chip lodged in my eye socket. Between my eye and my nose.
I ended up being perfectly fine, but then my teacher showed my mom a drawing I had made a couple days later.
The drawing depicted me, with a big grin, pushing the three girls down a long slide that led to a pool of lava.
My mom freaked out and was worried she was raising a soon to be psycho killer son. Luckily she happened to have a friend who was a child psychologist. After showing them the drawing, they told my mom that this was actually a good thing. It meant I was emotionally aware but mature/kind enough to not actually want to hurt the girls.
27. Dying for your art.
My college tutor told us about a guy he taught a few years before.
It was a mixed media assignment. He basically wanted us to make a picture using unconventional methods. Paint with grease, collage different coloured leaves, scan it, photoshop it, whatever, just use loads of stuff, with different forms of media. I'll see if I can find the one I did as an example but it was like 8 years ago so not sure if I have it.
Anyway as he was telling us this he relayed this story. He said years before he was doing the same assignment and he said "draw in your own blood for all I care, just make it original"
Roll on Monday morning one of the students legit brought in a picture he had drawn in his own blood.
The tutor was pretty horrified.
28. Well, that's one way to get a career with an art degree.
When I was in high school our art teacher showed us the sketchbook of a very gifted student in the year above. This student was genuinely so talented and I believe went on to be a successful architect however, Mr art teacher didn't select the right sketchbook to show to a group of teenagers. As he flicked through the pages it became clear that the whole book was full of porn. Incredibly detailed and highly skilled drawings of porn. I'll remember the teacher nervously speeding through the pages with a very red face forever.
29. His grades must have bombed.
We had a creative writing journal we wrote in every morning and one morning the prompt was "If you could do anything you wanted for one day, what would it be?" I being the rather violent ADHD child I was wrote "I would blow up the school." and then drew a picture of the school on fire. Now that I'm older I see how fucked up that must have seemed but when I wrote it I wasn't thinking that "hey I want to kill everyone in school!" I was just thinking the empty building would blow up with no one getting hurt and I'd get a couple weeks off of school. Feel kinda bad my parents had to deal with that must have made them feel awful.
30. That's so metal.
Friend of mine modeled nude for a college's life drawing class. After a couple minutes of changing poses they do a longer one. At the end of the class she sees some of the work and then she sees the drawing some super punk looking guy drew. The way she explained it to me was that she looked like a death metal album cover with snakes and fire covering her nude body.
A friend of mine was in an abstract art class in college. One of their projects they had to do was retell a common fairy tail through a piece of art. One girl did little red riding hood with a mouse as the main character. But she went to a pet store, bought a live mouse, killed it, and then used its blood as paint.