ARTdart: There are as many ways to think about art as there are to create it. Join Pamela Beck in her new column, ARTdart, as she explores and considers the different perspectives that define the art world.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you remember? Did you have secret aspirations that were pushed aside or were you able to pursue what came naturally?
I’ve asked five artists with ties to the Sarasota area, to recall their earliest recollections of “feeling” like an artist. These artists were able to follow their initial instincts (with or without encouragement) and have shared their childhood memories below:
“Before my school years, in nice weather I was bundled up and placed daily in our backyard to get fresh air. I was about eleven years old and I complained that I had nothing to do there. My mother said ‘Knock your head against the wall.’ It was during these episodes in the yard that I started to doodle and mutilate our fence with whatever makeshift tool I could find, producing my own special graffiti. Years later I would be studying the petroglyphs of the Southwestern Indians and wondering if these rock carvings came into being because the Anasazi mothers chased their young ones out of their cave dwellings to get fresh air.” – Florence Putterman
“It’s hard to pin down one experience that sealed my future as an artist. I do remember always wanting to make drawings, though. Having a box of crayons, magic markers and a big fat coloring book kept me quiet for hours. Toss in some Shrinky Dinks, Doodle Art and Black Light posters, and, well, it really didn’t get much better than that.
I never considered art making as a career path- it was just something I always loved doing. The challenge now is to lose myself in the process, in the way I did as a child, keeping my worries about the future, money, health, etc. at bay. Not an easy task, sadly, but something I’m continuously striving towards.” – Sabrina Small
“I was eleven years old and in fifth grade in a small town in Virginia. I had drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. In fifth grade I had an art teacher who taught how to exactly imitate what she did. Hated it. Never took another art course until my junior year in college. But I continued to draw and paint what I wanted at home. I can recall one day in the fifth grade, when I spent almost the whole day making “banners” — large, about three feet by three feet, pieces of cotton cloth colored with heavy crayon. The images were of very intense colors in abstract, geometric, eclectic designs. When I finished seven of these I thought: ” These are good! I am an artist — or will be.” My parents and friends didn’t “understand” or like them at all.
At the same time I was designing and writing a local “newspaper”. Local gossip. Amazing how much influence parents, teachers and friends have at an early age. My first degree is in journalism with a minor in art and photo-journalism. However I kept that early revelation deep within. I went back and eventually got my bachelors and masters degrees in art when I found I could not say, or express, what I really wanted with words. I finally made it to New York about 20 years later and met the New York artist Nicholas Krushenick, one of the forerunners of Pop Art. My banners were almost exactly like Krushenick’s work. He was very successful with that direction. I had moved on to another.” – R.O. Woody
“My dedication to art is an uncontrollable impulse, a passion; it is simply a part of myself. One of my earliest childhood memories is of the delight in drawing, creating shapes and coloring. It was a normal thing; I simply continued doing it.
When I was 12 years old, I saw an abstract painting by the French Cubist, Auguste Herbin, hanging at my best friend’s home in Caracas, Venezuela. (This family had an incredible modern art collection.) The painting made a lasting impression of pleasure and inspiration. This was the day I decided to study to become a professional artist.” – Jorge Blanco
“My parents were separated when I was very young. At the age of nine, I moved in with my mother. I believe as a way to make this move, and living with her more acceptable, she took me to art lessons (without my siblings). It was just my mother and me- having a special time together.
So on Saturday mornings, my mother and I traveled to a local art center. She would paint in the adjacent room that was set up for live portrait painting in oils and I was with other kids of similar age, drawing whatever my instructor demonstrated. In my first two lessons I was introduced to all kinds of drawing materials. I loved getting all black on my hands and face with the charcoal sticks. I know I stayed late after each session because my mother would come and get me when she was done. In the third session, I recall finishing early and was so excited with my results that I wanted to show them to my mother right away. I saw her painting at her easel and she liked what I had done, but only then did I look up to see what she was painting. It was my first experience of seeing a nude man in a “g-string.”
I have been in love with drawing the nude figure ever since. I really knew then, at that early age, that I wanted to be an artist as a profession.” – Joanna Coke