Saturday, April 16, 2005

Time Capsule: 1968

What's astonishing is that I didn't seem to have a clue about my talent as an artist when I was in high school.

In the Rosemary Box I found a stack of tablet covers that I had illustrated compulsively -- en aquellos dias (Once Upon a Time) we were issued paper tablets and a pencil every six weeks, so there were quite a number of the covers. Each had small drawings of a myriad of recurring characters, interacting, commenting, musing. If one knew the secret code of who the characters stood for, then each cover was like a gossip column about personal relationships.

I don't remember who a lot of the characters stood for any more. But I stand in awe of the kid who drew those clever little cartoons that said so much in gesture and posture -- in one inch by two inch increments. If that. The Kid is gone, and so is the ability to draw like that. My Fever Dreams cartoons are lame by technical comparison; my hands no longer know the shortcuts and procedures that were used. I remember that I preferred blue Bic pens (Bic Stic?) and I liked them "broken in" so that they could trail globs when necessary. (And just a side note here: nearly 40 years later the damn cheap-ass Bic blue is just as vivid as it was when the pictures were drawn. So much for the attitude of "if you can't afford professional quality materials, you might as well hang yourself")

That poor Kid should have been sent off to study with the art teacher. Instead her future was to take chemistry, physics, trignometry, advanced math. What she did so well was not of value. She was taught that it was not of practical value and she went on to other things.

And while the other things were interesting and worthwhile in their own time, from 2005 I look back and think, "Look at those lines. Why the hell did she let that fall by the wayside?" Not that she then or me now had/has the thought that becoming a successful artist was the desired object. That was never a goal. Just -- she/I should have continued playing that game.

Well, at least the Rosemary Box is still there, a monument to the talent that was lost.

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