Well, maybe more than a little bit. But, truth be told, there isn’t a whole lot to discover about me since I’m probably the most mundane and ordinary person you’ll ever meet. I suppose I can be labeled all sorts of ways, both good and bad. But if I had to describe myself in one word, I’d describe myself as an artist. Which is strange because I never set out to be one! And yet, despite all indications to the contrary, an artist is what I ended up becoming.
My skills and creativity in drawing allows me to do what I most enjoy doing while making some semblance of a living. For a guy who makes art his livelihood it might surprise you to learn that I’ve never darkened the door to an art class (except for one year way, way back in the 8th grade). Even then I didn’t get much out of my junior high art experience besides learning what a portfolio was and why I needed to keep one. So I ain’t lying when I tell you that I’m completely self taught as an artist! And I use the skills I’ve taught myself every day (unlike what I learned in school). Now if that isn’t ironic then I don’t know what is.
But I’ve since discovered that life itself is chock full of ironies. Drawing may come easy for me but don’t assume I actually liked doing it! Drawing is hard work. And it’s the sort of activity in which you really have to motivate yourself to do if you’re going to do it at all. Once you lose your joy and motivation to draw it quickly becomes nothing more than a drudgery. And kids just aren’t going to stick with anything that no longer excites them. I certainly didn’t. Once I lost interest in drawing as a preteen I quickly forgot about it and moved on to more interesting and preferable activities. I had no real incentive or desire to continue drawing stuff. So naturally any drawing kick I got myself on, which were few and far between during my teenage years, would die a quick death.
I never had any ambitions, nor seriously considered, pursuing art for my livelihood. Instead I had my eye on something sciency for a career since I’d always loved science and was a certified science geek. This led to my attending the prestigious University of Kentucky where I majored in entomology (the science of studying bugs). Something that was, and still is, a passion of mine and what I envisioned to be the dream career for me. Not to mention a pretty cool way to earn a paycheck!
Unfortunately my bug career never materialized. The cards just would not play in my favor, thus forcing me to pursue other endeavors. Over the years I’ve done all kinds of odd jobs from pest control, to highway work, to landscaping and laying sod, to farm laborer, to hotel maintenance guy, to messing around with real estate, to working in a deli. I’ve even done a stint in the Air Force too! Regrettably I never really succeeded in any of that. Some people just intuitively know right off the bat what they were meant to do with their lives. And are lucky enough that circumstances played in their favor. And then you have guys like me. Guys who seem cursed to flail around for years and years in the nutty world of the working man before we (finally!) stumble upon our intended place in the grand scheme of things. A place I certainly never anticipated or imagined. I would have much preferred that it not have happened that way. But perhaps that’s not such a bad thing that it did! Even though it wasn’t until I was in my early thirties before I began seriously considering my gift of drawing as a potential career that it began to dawn upon me that perhaps drawing was what I was intended to do all along.
I suppose if there’s any kind of lesson to be gleaned from this tale of mine it comes down to this: that every circumstance, no matter how hopeless or bleak, really does end up working out in one way or another when given enough time. Eventually. For some of us it may be a long, long time coming before we finally stumble upon our intended place in society. A place which may not even resemble anything of the dreams we originally envisioned for ourselves! But that day finally did come for me, and if you are still searching for your destiny, trust me when I say it will arrive for you too if you continue to persevere. At this point I’m just glad those memories are behind me now. It may or may not have made me a wiser or a more worldly sort of guy, but it does make some great story telling!
Nowadays I make my home and my living where it all began; in a little place called Bedford, Virginia. It’s a mighty fine town to visit if you’re ever in the area.