Four-year-old Santiago Daniel Peña García started scribbling on the walls before his first birthday, but rather than fretting about the labor and cost of repainting the wall, his mom focused on what the habit might allow him to become.
Adianée Peña García never stopped him, and now her son paints every day and produces new pieces daily, including a version of Starry Night by Van Gogh.
Adianée said she saw her son was so happy with his crayons and a big white wall as a canvas, and she couldn’t bring herself to stop him.
“I had just bought some colored pencils and I didn’t want him to ruin them, so I got him crayons,” she said, explaining when it took off. “He basically painted every wall in the house. Our bedroom, the hallway, the kitchen, and the living room were covered.”
Santiago Daniel’s drawings were such that the family even had to re-paint the apartment before they moved out, but Adianée thinks it was worth it because she raised an artist.
Santiago Daniel’s scribblings weren’t everybody’s tastes, and Alianée’s brother, who lived with the pair at the time, didn’t like it.
“At the beginning, my brother didn’t like it because it wasn’t our house, but then he saw how much Santiago Daniel enjoyed it,” she said. “The landlord saw it too when we left and he looked so shocked, but we were already painting over it so it was fine.”
Alianée believes that stopping the tot would have stifled his passion for art and says other parents should follow her lead.
“I think if he had done it and I had taken away his crayons it would have killed his passion for creativity,” she said. “I’ve seen parents do that and their kids just don’t enjoy painting like Santiago Daniel does. I would recommend other parents let their children be.”
“They probably won’t all be artists because they scribbled on the walls but they shouldn’t limit something that could help their growth, their creativity.”
Now, as a four-year-old, Santiago Daniel will spend about 40 minutes a day painting, and has moved from scribbles born in his mind to what he sees in a book or on television, such as Micky Mouse or other children’s cartoons.
A passionate artist herself who would often make toys for her son, Adianée moved to Peru from Venezuela in 2017 with no money and had to make do with handicrafts.
The single mom said that she could see him learning from her as she worked.
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“I made him books, Teddy bears, I made a chimney for us one Christmas, so we could have a classic Christmas. Santiago Daniel would lie next to me and watch while I painted them, he would grab at my paintbrushes too,” she said.
“He’s been so smart since he was a baby I could see that when he held my paintbrushes he used the same grip as me. Of course sometimes he would hold them in his fist like a normal baby, but he tried to do it correctly.”
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