Being born and raised in Austin, TX certainly didn’t hurt. It is, after all, this funky, quirky, musical atmosphere that inspires me so well. But grasping the creativity that lurked deep within would require leaving the only city that was ever home to me.
In high school art classes were a mere frustration. Imagination was supplanted by the requirement to create inocuous redundant displays appropriate for the sheeple masses in the hallways. Yet, still, a few special talents managed to create artwork that made one think, even if it didn’t make an overt statement. I was not one of those students.
We once were assigned a comic strip in which a character of our own creation would join with a character of another students creation. My personality became a caricature of my father – an aging hippie with a twisted sense of humor – Wretched Richard. I chose for his partner in crime a bow-headed tweenager named Brat Girl. Together they discussed the Waco bombings and the punch line was rendered as something like “Not to mention roasted nuts.” This was certainly my best work during this time of my life, but I recieved a less than stellar grade on the project. Perhaps it was just a little too boisterous for the smoothly would-be-liberal conservatives that ran my school.
During college at a school far far away from home I was allowed to grow up and become myself. Expressing myself raucously was allowed if not smiled upon. But I still didn’t realize the artistic potential inside. In fact, I was still avoiding it. Previous experiences were telling me to focus on science and math and to forget anything aesthetic.
When I had my wisdom teeth removed during my senior year, I began a large project to create my mother an afghan for a Christmas gift. I’d never crocheted before, but as is true to my nature I didn’t start small. Four skeins of yarn later I realized I’d not purchased enough supplies. The “blanket” I had was about 48 inches long and 12 inches wide. Hardly big enough to snuggle under. And so, knowing that I would never find more yarn in the same dye lot, I was forced to make my first big design decision.
With that lesson, a new baccalaureate degree, and my first post college job I headed back towards my hometown. Nine months later I was married and buying a house. Now my newest passion was interior decorating. My best friend and I would peruse a bargain basement craft store that was dubbed the junkatorium by my father in law. The amount of stuff from such a place that took up residence in my new home was truely appalling, but somehow it looked right. Five years later, when we sold that house, the realtor told us that he usually hired a designer to come in and spruce up a property, but that in this case it wasn’t necessary. I think I actually beamed.
These days, though, life is mostly about my kids. My daughter is in fourth grade, and has an unabashed love for art. And she’s good, too. Someday soon, she might be showing you her work. My son, well he’s a bit small for art yet, but I suspect his medium will be musical in nature. That kid loves to make