The early warning signs that I was of an artist’s mind and heart were the pride and sense of accomplishment that I felt when satisfied with my own work, followed by an insuppressible drive to keep doing it, and to do it better.
As a little kid growing up in NJ, I began to study how to draw Woody Woodpecker from Walter Lantz's books, and horses from Walter Foster. Saturday morning was the highlight of the week, because I got to use my Magic Window TV drawing screen for the Winky Dink show (Wiki it). Spent all of my allowance for art supplies. Going to the art store in Hackensack was the best thing ever to do on a Saturday afternoon.
I learned about Jackson Pollack the year he died, when I was nine. He made sense to me and I wanted to do what he did, be what he was (the artist-not the alcoholic). A big financial sacrifice in my family, I was given watercolor lessons from Mrs. Anthony, a woman who used purple for shadows for everything—every single thing, every single painting. Decided I did not need lessons, I could figure it out on my own. Got fired from my first job in H.S. for drawing on the paper bags instead of paying attention to the customers.
I got to go to all the museums in NYC, starting young--my favorite places, aside from the New York Public Library, of course. Won a place in the old Greenwich Village sidewalk art show, but lost it when they found out I was a minor. Moved from Jersey to the city after high school. Lived in the East Village, impoverished, and with larceny in my heart--I stole tons of art supplies from the NYU bookstore. Finally got caught, and learned several painful lessons about criminal activity, humiliation, guilt, and shame. Stopped thieving. Kept on painting and drawing.
Finally went to VCU School of the Arts in my late 30’s. The acclaimed Phil Meggs, as chair of the CA&D department, personally advised me I wasn’t going to be the next great graphic artist and suggested, as a single mom on welfare and under a lot of stress, that I try the Crafts Department, being a tad less intense than Commercial Art and Design. I did, and it was less intense as far as not being saturated with highly competitive rapid-fire complex projects, yet equally intense in terms of the level of creativity and craftsmanship expected. I discovered ceramics as an art form, and here I be! Ta-da.
#ceramics #clay art #pottery #creativity #unique gifts