When it comes to nurturing young artists among us, we have discovered that inspiration is a two-way street.
We learned that seven-year-old Layne Wagoner was inspired by our magazine and used that inspiration to create a kid version. His inspiration spread to us and pushed us to publish an issue focused on the young creators among us. It only seems fitting that Layne should be the subject of our first profile.
Born in Rochester, Indiana, Layne grew up under the strong creative influence of his mother, Erin Marden, who is herself an artist. The combination of encouragement and access to materials needed to create presented an opportunity for him to experience art in a firsthand way.
“He was always showing his artistic side whenever he got his hands on markers, crayons, or anything else he could use to fill blank space with,” Erin said.
When asked about his earliest memories of making art, Layne recalls it as being in 2017, when at around four years of age, he was already helping his mother create tie-dye shirts. But as he grew, his means of expression grew with him.
“I prefer painting over drawing,” he says, displaying an appreciation of abstract art that is befitting his young imagination. But it is through his mother’s retail business venture that he has expanded his artistic horizons.
In June of 2019, Erin Marden opened The Chameleon’s Closet- a boutique-type store specializing in ‘Hippie/Boho’ inspired fashions and unique gifts. In addition to its retail offerings, the shop has been a home for local creatives to display and sell their wares via a featured Artist of the Month showcase section. Each month the boutique launches with an artist reception that includes a participatory craft for kids and other attendees.
“I’ve got to do rock painting, make recycled wind-chimes, face collages, and a lot more!” Layne says, naming a few of his favorites. It was through one of these showcases that he became inspired to create his own Digital Wolf Magazine.
Another benefit of the store’s creative environment is the access to materials he can creatively re-purpose into art and other creations. “He likes to take empty boxes from the shop and turn them into things like a laser gun,” Marden says, impressed with her son’s imagination. “He even made a classic boxcar and put it over his hover-board.”
With an ideal amount of inspiration and opportunities to create, Layne has a bright future and shares words of encouragement for aspiring artists of all ages: “If you’re interested in doing something, you should just do it. If you aren’t able to do it just try again. Keep trying.”
Wise words from a wise young man. Keep creating, Layne!