I grew up in a small, desert town where they sold oranges and greapefrutes on the side of the road. Needless to say, art was not very affluent there. Oh sure, in elementary school we did hand plasters and Christmas ornaments to give to our parents, but I honestly do not remember doing any of those projects. I do not want to discount those first touches upon art because they very well may be the spark that ignites the artistic flare, however, my first memory of being artistic was drawing in a cheap, newsprint drawing pad. I went through a few pads, perhaps only two or three, and I am not sure as to why they ceased to be provided, maybe my social life had suddenly blossomed, but they were one of my favorite things. By now they are probably packed away in storage (a.k.a. my mother’s garage), if not decomposing in a landfill.
Growing up I did many art projects and crafts, but I never knew to call it art. I just did it. Because I liked it. Despite the one art class we had available in high school, I still did not know what I wanted “to do with my life” when I went to college. I fretted over my choice of major when I already knew I was going to choose art. Commitment can be a scary thing.
I have since been through many transformations of who I am as an artist. At first I was reluctant to call myself an artist because I felt insufficient when compared to others. I used to think that I am too passive to be called an artist; I’m not driven to do art every day of the week, every hour of the day. I do not have that type of eccentric passion that perhaps makes great artists. I read something in a novel that made me think differently (since we are always trying to justify our flaws): “An artist needs time to do nothing but sit around and think and let ideas come to him” -Jacob Kahn, My Name is Asher Lev. As absurd as it sounds, that is exactly me. Ideas do not come to me freely. It takes a long time for me to get an idea worth committing to and even longer for me to finish what I started.
I am in the process of learning to enjoy the label “Artist” and I believe that some day I will reach the end of that process. For now I will just put it in the heading on my website and pretend that I am one.