As a child I can remember wanting to be an artist. I dreamed of the day that I would be recognized as a painter with as much importance as Pablo Picasso. I still have no idea as to how I knew of Picasso or why I decided I wanted to be a painter. I did not grow up in a culturally influenced house. It was me and my mom and most of my life we were on welfare; welfare does not support going to art museums.
The first time I can remember ever going to an art museum was when I was in the third grade. We went to a class field trip to the Crocker Art Museum in the California State Capitol, Sacramento. As an adult, who has been to museums such as MOMA-SF, the Crocker Art Museum is unimpressive. But as a small child to walk in halls as big as those with ceilings to match -it was extraordinary! I wanted to spend forever looking at the details of each painting. Even at 9 years old I could tell the difference in the brush strokes; thick, thin, long , short. I knew some of the different mediums; I could tell the photos from the photorealism; although, at that time I did not know it was called photorealism but it still holds as much awe and appreciation for me now as it did then. The experience is one I remember completely. In this museum, I felt like I was at home. This is where I belonged.
Five years later. I am in the eighth grade and we are choosing our classes for our first year in high school. Somewhere I became level headed and decided that as much as I would love to be a starving artist, I really wanted a nice house and nice things and I knew that a starving artist was just that starving. I needed a place where I could still feel artistic while making a living at the same time. My mother and the counselor both suggested drafting; said it could lead to Architecture which was art but paid steady and well. This turned out to be a bad choice. It became clear to me that either my mother didn’t know me or that she didn’t know anything about drafting-especially drafting by hand!
Everything I loved about art was not in this drafting stuff. Everything was mechanical and precise. This was not creative this was boring with a capital B. This dashed all my thoughts of being an architect. The very next year I took ceramics. The most interesting part was the same person who taught drafting was teaching ceramics. I was mortified. I came to find out that this teacher would be one of my greatest inspirations and teachers . It seemed that he was the artist I had wanted to become. He taught me so much. The greatest thing he every did was just have a banner up on the wall. I will always remember what it said, though do not remember who said it. “Art doesn’t make you a living, only a life.” This resonated with me and I decided I would just do what I wanted in art. I was in at least one of his classes every year until graduation, including as an assistant where I learned more then I ever thought possible about kiln firing of clay works. He even kicked me out of his advanced ceramics class saying that I had better places to be- like in advanced art. He wanted me to take my talent and spread it around so I could be immersed in everything. This was the best thing for me. Even though I still couldn’t decide what to do with the rest of my life or what art I wanted to do; he encouraged me to do whatever I wanted with art because it was mine.
Ten years out of high school and I just recently decided what I really want to do; this , of course, is not until after being an art major at a little school with a tiny art department that had only 3 concentrations to being a little fish in a big arts and crafts school where suddenly I had more options then ever before and saw myself being in art school for 10 years trying to decide what to major in. All along though, I have know that my journey would take me wherever it need before I got to where I am now. The most amazing part of this journey is that I am back where my mother and counselor started me off 14 years ago; I am finishing my Bachelors Degree so I can get into the Masters Program at the University of Colorado at Denver to be nothing less then an ARCHITECT!