(This was written to accompany a present at a Sint Erklas party, a traditional Duch celebration which requires guests to give eachother gifts appropriate to their personalities. I had to give a gift to a friend who curates art exhibitions. I thought a 'colour by numbers' set from a charity shop was very appropriate, but it just needed a little extra touch...)

Alexandra Taylor (1973-)
Mixed media

This little known work has achieved cult status amongst devotees and is the artist's most famous work.

Using a blend of paper, card and felt tip pen, this 'Create and Colour' seeks to involve the audience in its construction, to inspire an unlimited creative process. This is reinforced by the choice of pictures provided - rural scenes representing the limitlessness and freedom of space and nature.

However, this freedom is an illusion. The creativity promised by the work is, on closer inspection, tightly controlled. The natural scenes are given and unalterable, the palette is limited and the work is accompanied by strict instructions as to how the art should be created. The whole work is captured, restricted and presented in a rigid box. The tools presented are those of childhood and replicate the nursery activities of filling given shapes with prescribed colours and cutting and sticking paper and card.

In this way, the artist asks us to question our modern, adult concepts of freedom and creative expression. Our technologically advanced age encourages us to believe that we can choose where to live, how to make a living and how we live our lives, and that these choices are limitless. This work is a sharp reminder that our minds can never escape the boxes and instructions of our childhood.