I never went to art school. I don’t hang out with a particularly artsy crowd. I live in a boring, stucco house and have no exotic animals. I love Lady Gaga and always have gravitated to the eccentric. I remember a not-so-distant-time when I required stick-on jewels in order to leave the house, but my closet looks awfully monotone right now. Though some of my friends may think of me when it comes to art, I pretty much blend in with the crowd and I’m not proud of any of this.
Somewhere I went astray from my roots. I can’t pinpoint the moment it happened, but at every cross roads, fear and logic seem to have been the culprits that lured me away. I’m not any one type of artist and thinking back, I never have been, but I have always had my hand in some form of art. (The task of branding ourselves in my senior year of college was particularly tricky for me because it seemed so limiting and so permanent. What am I? What one sentence will tell the world what gift I have?) Now I realize that I am the living personification of a Liberal Arts Degree. I know a little about a lot and at least that’s better than knowing a lot about a little.
Before I could write, I was drawing. God help my family if they did not have scrap paper and a Magna Doodle available to me at all times. Then I was singing to Sade, Madonna and later, Ace of Base tapes. I would daydream about making music videos whenever a song came on the radio, but never did I think to go to film school or the like. Though I found karaoke at 8 years old, I never joined a choir and never had the desire to. I quit ballet and tap because I wanted to sleep in on Saturdays. I took a week-long summer theater class and one art class of the same length, but never did it occur to me that some people stick with these classes and the lessons learned take them places. I tried at least five different musical instruments and couldn’t see them through the “hard parts”, but I have always had a special place in my heart for music and performance. I started writing stories at 11 and continued into high school. I wrote really morbid stuff through my hormonal depressions and later, thanks to a journalism class, found my voice writing controversial commentary. My high school creative writing teacher published some of my touchiest satire and compared me to Emerson. Of all of the theater I was immersed in throughout high school along with the painting and drawing classes, his encouragement meant the most to me. This is probably because I am still writing today and don’t see an end to that, whereas acting as stopped and the art supplies are growing dusty.
If you would have talked to me in high school, it would have seemed evident that the stage would be a part of my life in some capacity. At 21 and 22, judging by my agent and acting coach, it would have seemed destined. My charcoal-stained hands were a giveaway that I was an artist regardless of doing it for free. The hoarder in me still looks at everything as a component to an art project, much like the painted shoe stuffed with fake flowers that I gave my mother as sculpture. I have to fight the urge to keep every piece of flat cardboard that could easily be gessoed over into a canvas or clean surface for a new collage. In 2011, everyone is a photographer, music/film/video maker thanks to Apple, though here I sit Mac-less and essentially skill-less.
All of the above, just kind of sounds like Chunk’s rambling confession in the Goonies, but there it is in public, not that it was ever a secret. And here I sit reminding myself of all that I was born to do, even if none of it will have any impact or meaning. I refuse to buy the idea that when we grow up, become parents, face money problems and fight to find stable employment, that we intrinsically lose everything we thought we would become and that creativity becomes a sporadic hobby. Are we all supposed to go back and break the news to our child selves that adulthood is going to bore us to death and that dreams lead to weekend hobbies sponsored by Michael’s craft store at best?
So, if I don’t know anything else, I at least know that I was born to be an artist to some degree and that’s a start. My brain is heavier on the right. I get it.
Cheers to everyone gaining some perspective on their destinies and making their inner child proud.