Odd Duck

I was different.

One of the boys grabbed the snake from her cage, she bit him. He dropped her and she quickly hid behind textbook boxes. The kids all stepped back. When I reached into the six-foot boa’s hiding place, she calmly slid into my hand. We became friends. It was the first week of school, I turned 11 that week. I liked drawing pictures, racing bikes, climbing trees, snakes, and math. I was an odd duck.

In all fairness, I understand her perspective. The program instructor from Seed Planted 4. When the program instructor told me that I was not good at art, that I should focus on math and science. I was crushed. She did not do this to be mean, she was trying to help me. The circumstances were such:
I lived in a poor community.
I was from a poor family.
I did not have a good home life.
I had a high math and science aptitude.

The instructor viewed math and science as my way out of cultural poverty. This was back in the days, those unenlightened days, of girls don’t like math. I was an odd duck. I liked math and was good at it. The numbers just made sense. So when she announced that I had a class where I could learn anything, I said, “I want to learn to draw,” my request did not sit well with her plan for my future.

Truth be told, I don’t think she relayed the message from the expert who looked at my art. I did not receive direct feedback. It came from the instructor, not the source, and the instructor had an agenda.

The saving grace for growing up. My favorite teacher. My grandparents.

Art finds a way in, no matter the path we take.
When the front doors are closed, we may just find a back door left ajar and have a chance to sneak bliss on the naysayer’s watch.

Kids – the original backdoor artists

Many parents have stories of various hidden locations where their child’s art had to be removed when preparing to move from one home to another. I believe this was the sole inspiration for the product Mr.Clean® Magic Eraser®.

Children seem to sneak creating art wherever they can.
On the wall.
In the closet.
Under the bed.
The backsides of doors.
On the inside of clothing drawers.
On toys like wooden blocks and trains.
And my personal favorite… on their siblings.

To a child, any surface is a canvas. Kids are naturally backdoor artists, sneaking a little bliss even when they know it’s a “no, no.” I ponder this thought, because today is my eldest son’s birthday. Framed, on my office wall are creations from when he and his brother were little.

Hot Air Balloon

by Chris Livingston (age 5 years, 11 months)

He continues his creative aspirations, sneaking in art while programming games and apps. http://www.korphane.com/

Happy Birthday Chris.
With love,

A back door opening

I put my drawing supplies away from view. I still sketched in secret, but it grew less and less.
I focused on math and science.
My next grade change in our three room school included a new teacher. For a science lesson, we made pin hole cameras. A section of our class was converted into a makeshift darkroom. My spirits energized as I watched the image come to life. This was our science class, but I saw art as the light painted image in the emulsion emerged.

I started saving my babysitting money and the pay I received for my after school job to buy a camera. It was clear to me that the science of photography could feed my creative passion.
The back door was left open and I slipped in.