Honesty with Amy Robins
Amy Robins is an artist based out the UK who, using only colored pencils, is able to create art with intense emotional content. In this sketch titled “Gaya”, audiences find themselves looking directly into the piercing blue eyes of a young girl. With dozens of freckles dotting her full cheeks, the girl’s youth is apparent. Yet we are overwhelmed by the intensity of her gaze. Beyond the bright blue of the girl’s eyes, the sketch is a collection of subdued colors. This contrast effectively allows the girl’s eyes to serve as the greatest vehicle of emotion in the sketch. Using this emotion, Robins critically examines what it means to be young and acknowledges that perhaps many of the stereotypes associated with youth are not always applicable.
Youth is associated with self-doubt, uncertainty and a degree of naivety which is only expected to lessen with experience and exposure. However, Robin’s subject commands the sketch despite her young age; rather than naivety, her eyes hold confidence. Such confidence in children is intimidating because with it comes self-awareness. Robins, however, challenges the idea that children must grow up before achieving this level of mindfulness. Where adults typically ask children to reflect upon their own behavior, with her gaze, the subject of Robin’s sketch is asking viewers to reflect back upon themselves. For older viewers of the sketch, this shift in power, from the adult to the child, is unsettling. What experiences could possibly have given this young girl such a strong sense of awareness? It is impossible to know the girl behind Robin’s sketch. However, looking into her blue eyes, it is equally as impossible not to respect her.
Children are often undermined for their lack of formal education. Yet, given the intense gaze of Robin’s subject, it is clear that structured education is different from emotional intelligence. Children do not feel pressure to hide their emotions or to control what they are feeling and so when they express themselves, it’s genuine. Part of this authenticity is lost with age. There is pressure to conform to societal norms and as an adult, it is easy to say the right thing whether or not it is an actual representation of how you feel. Robin’s sketch is a reminder of the emotional capacity children have, how genuine their expressions of emotion are and how humbling such honesty is.
What do you think of this pencil drawing?