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Unleashing Creativity: Art Education Fuels Children's Independent Thought, Innovation | Realpreneur Tales

By RAN ZHENG|Jul 05,2024

Chongqing - With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), Tian Taiquan is pioneering a revolution in children's art education by integrating AI with other advanced technologies. Leading his team at Erduoren, he introduced the first AI co-creation art program for children in 2023.

Tian believes future artists must be skilled in both traditional techniques and AI collaboration. "It's not the AI that outsmarts our children, but those who effectively wield it," he said.

Tian Taiquan, the founder of Erduoren. (Photo/Tian Taiquan)

In a July 1 interview with Bridging News, Tian Taiquan, founder of the Erduoren children's art brand and a renowned contemporary Chinese artist, discussed his innovative art education approach. "Our goal is to teach children to think and innovate through art, not just draw. This philosophy is gaining global recognition," he emphasized.

Angels and Demons is an AI artwork created by Liu Xinyu. (Graphic/Tian Taiquan)

Unlike rigid formats where students mimic teachers' drawings, countries like Japan and Germany use diverse activities tailored to developmental stages, like collage, crafts, and art appreciation. 

These methods create a relaxed, enjoyable classroom and emphasize creativity, critical thinking, and personal growth. This aligns with Erduoren's vision, prioritizing individual expression and development in art education.

Children participate in an art enlightenment class at Erduous in Yubei District, Chongqing campus. (Photo/Zheng Ran)

Since its inception in 2011, Erduoren has grown from a small start with 12 children to a major educational initiative with two campuses in Chongqing and tens of thousands of students. Its global reach attracts families from Australia and Japan, who either travel to Chongqing or use Erduoren's online courses.

Erduoren helps children showcase their artwork in local venues, cultural parks, commercial districts, and international art museums. The brand also co-brands children's designs, incorporating them on items like red wine labels.

An elementary school student is engaged in drawing in the classroom. (Photo/Zheng Ran)

The launch of Erduoren's online digital painting class marks a significant advancement in art education. Targeting children around ten years old, it complements a broader curriculum that includes traditional painting, digital art, and AI-enhanced creativity. Each class is divided into three core segments: art enlightenment, transformative techniques, and creative expression.

Tian highlighted the effectiveness of their teaching approach, "Through our art enlightenment sessions, children are exposed to various artists and styles, which subtly shape their creative output. We've observed that children who start with us exhibit extraordinary originality by age 12, their creative capacities often surpassing those of many adults."

Erduoren held an exhibition at the Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art. (Photo/Tian Taiquan)

Tian, a graduate and professor at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, used his rich background in art and education to guide his son's artistic development. Frustrated by the limitations of conventional children's art education, he founded Erduoren.

"My son’s creativity under my mentorship and the subsequent positive reception of his art online convinced me of the need for a platform that could foster similar growth in other children," Tian recounted.

Despite the successes, Tian recognizes the challenges of traditional expectations, noting that parents often seek quick improvements in their children's skills, whereas Erduoren focuses on long-term creative and personal growth. To address this, Erduoren offers educational programs for parents, such as art tours and exhibitions, to enhance their understanding of the program's goals.

"As society evolves, we need more creative, independent thinkers. Art education should be diverse and multifaceted, embracing a range of artistic forms," he concluded, expressing his hope that Erduoren will lead the way in inspiring future generations to discover and develop their artistic potential.

(He Le, an intern, also contributed to this article.)


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