Posts Tagged ‘teenager

minion progress

Hindsight is 20/20, especially when you are a 37-year-old mother of 3 who just wrapped up a day of sidewalk chalk art, and you’re comparing a piece you did 2 year ago to a piece you completed for a gig today (see above!).  I’ve been very lucky this year.  I’ve been given some amazing opportunities to create chalk art for some amazing people and organizations.  One thing that always come up when I’m chatting with on-lookers is how I got started chalking.  It’s pretty simple, and you can read about it HERE if you really want to.  But, something that wasn’t in that original story, and something I include in my story now that I’m chalking on a regular basis is this:  my 9th grade art teacher told me not to waste my time on art.

Let me say that again, differently…An adult who had a job teaching children to use, understand, and appreciate art told a 14-year-old girl, who believed what adults in a position of authority said, to not waste her time on it.  Told a girl who loved to draw not to waste her time.  Told a girl who had sketchbooks full of floor plans, paintings, sketches, cartoons, and fashion designs not to waste her time. Told a girl who would pause Disney VHS tapes so she could recreate an image not to waste her time. Told a girl who would paint end pieces of a 2×4 to look like books and houses not to waste her time.  Told a girl who would decorate river rocks with markers and paint and glue to not waste her time…

So she didn’t waste her time.  And she didn’t draw again, until she was a 34-year-old mother of 3 who was filling her time while her children played outside.

I haven’t really thought about that very much until today.  That’s probably why I’ve dusted off the ol’ blog for an entry.  But it makes me sad, and a little misty eyed for that girl.  Looking at the progress I’ve made as an adult just these last 3 years makes me wonder how I might have progressed as a teenager if I’d been given a better opportunity.  Or, at least been given ANY opportunity.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I didn’t fall into a black pit of teenage despair.  Since I love to sing, I pursued a fun and fulfilling chorus and musical theater career in high school.  Some of my favorite people in the world are people who were part of that chapter of my life, and I wouldn’t trade them, or the time I spent on stage, for all the art lessons in the world.  But people aren’t hiring me to sing for them today.  They ARE hiring me to create chalk art for them.

I’ve learned a lot in the last 3 years, and I’ve gained a small, but flourishing, network of creative geniuses.  They are some of the most amazing artists I’ve ever met, and better mentors than any high school art teacher I could have asked for.  They have been supportive, informative, critical, and compassionate.  I appreciate their honesty, friendship, and direction more than I can ever express to them.

But I would like to say to my 14-year-old self, you don’t have to listen to everything adults tell you.  Most of the time they mean well, but they might drop the ball. Don’t let your ball get dropped.  If it does, pick it up and carry it yourself.  Don’t stop drawing.  Don’t stop learning.  Don’t stop creating.  The fire of creativity is a passionate flame that will only be squelched for so long.  Fan that flame, girl.  Fan it!


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