Growing up in Villa Park I was fortunate enough to be the daughter of a talented drawer. My earliest memory of a mural was the one painted of Pinocchio on our finished basement walls. He drew the character and painted it which created a permanent work of art in our play room downstairs. During my teenage years I would do that same thing to my own bedroom walls, eventually drawing and painting things that I would see that I liked. I mostly remember being a HUGE fan of the OMNI science magazine covers, often copying them onto my walls in a huge scale.
But the thing I remember the most, was my dad’s drafting case. He had this exquisitely mysterious large wooden briefcase. To my child’s eye it had to be 5′ x 6′ but more likely 30″ x 40″ or so. Each time my father opened that holy grail of “real” art supplies, I swear a golden light would shine from inside illuminating him to be bigger than life to me. I wasn’t allowed to play with any of the things it contained because they were “adult” things and I was a child. Later, when I was older and deemed more responsible, I was allowed to look inside and even use the vast array of pencils (6H-6B), french curves, t-squares, stencils, and fragile yellowing assorted tracing papers. He would show me how to use the various utensils to create designs and pictures. Oh how I loved that case and all the promise it held! My dad was the first artist I knew.
It dawns on me now that he has influenced me more than I had originally thought. Not only did he teach me to love creating art, he taught me to share those things I covet to others in hopes to inspire them or introduce them to something new.
I witness the generous nature of artists on a daily basis. There are even books written by artists sharing what they know of materials, techniques, and theories. Artists by nature are givers; givers of their work, their spirituality, their knowledge and resources. These are not things which should ever be taken advantage of, just like Dad’s drafting box, but to be shared in hopes to carry on the legacy of being an artist.
So if being an artist is opening up your world to others, than is being an artist a noun or a verb? Is it “something” to be or aspire to, or is it simply a way of life?