The creative and artistic mind has fascinated and impressed me for many years. When I was in high school, I started to realize that there were other people in my world that I had a lot of respect and admiration for and those people always turned out to be the artistic ones.  Ever since then, I have attempted to “study” and synthesize the traits and skills that I’d see in the artist.  Well, dangit! It wasn’t that easy! Learning to become artistic is not like learning to become a volleyball player, or becoming a great human resources recruiter (which I did before I was a teacher). To become an artist, I wasn’t able to just watch the masters and copy them.  I couldn’t just listen to a talented coach, then work hard through a hundred practices and come out artistic.

Nope, it became obvious to me that the artist had a GIFT! Yes, we have all heard the term “gifted” before.  The artistic mind is a gift, something you are born with and cannot really acquire from just hard work alone.  When you try to acquire the trait of being “artistic”, you turn out like me (which is not that bad, just for the record), an artistic wannabe.  It’s kinda like a Rolex-knockoff. Looks really darn close, but not the real ma-coy.

My personality profiles goes a little like this…confident, logical, pragmatic, persistent, resourceful, and relentless ~ with a flair of humour,  compassion and kindness ~ and a whole lotta JOCK!  Notice I’ve said nothing about being artistic or creative.  I think sometimes my relentless resourcefulness LOOKS like creativity.  But, in my mind, being resourceful doesn’t get the same level of admiration or respect that I give to artistic and creative.

Being a confident, logical, pragmatist is an academic way of saying I’m a “know-it-all”.  Yeah, I might be one of those. Sorry. Don’t they say, knowing you’ve got a problem is the first step to solving the problem? Well, then there’s hope for me, right? Well even though I’m a know-it-all, I sure wish I was artistic in a music, theatre, fine arts kinda-way. I’d take just one of those.  Trust me,  I have tried my hand in all the arts.  But being a soccer player, I’m better with my feet. Here is my story.

MUSIC ~ In grade 9, Heidi lost sleep for the first week of school when she had to decide where her art credit was going to come from.  Dang-nabbit!  Heidi thought about visual arts first, because Heidi’s mom is a remarkable painter, and gifted soapstone sculptor.  Heidi’s brother Jake was doing exceptionally well in visual arts and he was in grade 11 at this time. Well, I kept thinking about options.  I could go into theatre because I am the overconfident, obnoxious type.  But no, I was tooooo cool to be an artsy and that would shatter my JOCK – image. So, then music came to mind.  I loved music.  I loved to listen to it, I grew up listening to tons of it (no musicians in the family though). Oh yah, I had experience. When I was 10 years old, I took guitar lessons for 2 years.  I was able to play the Everly Brothers, Bruce Springstein, Roy Orbison, and a little Jimi Hendrix (not a bad play list eh?). For whatever reason, I stopped practicing and so stopped the lessons. Woops! Well, I’ll never forget my first grade 9 music class.  My stupid elementary school didn’t even teach me how to play recorder, so I was for sure the dumbest “musician” in the room.  So, That was it! I was a virtuoso musician-wannabe. I grabbed a trombone, and for the next 4 years, I wrote in the slide positions on every note on the sheet music. That way, I really just had to read the notes and not also have to figure out what to do with the slide. For the record, this was not the kind of talented artistic ability I was hoping for. STRIKE 1!

VISUAL ARTS ~ My mom really is an impressive (inactive,non-practicing) artist.  When I was a kid, she got really locked into her craft.  I watched her create these magnificent oil paintings of African elephants, lions, cheetahs, and the like.  She was also incredibly talented with ceramics and sculpture.  When I was older, she discovered soapstone. I cannot even describe her artistic vision with that.  Each day I would come home, that  stone was something different. Until the day she’d make the decision that she liked it and the piece was declared, complete. Well, being the logical pragmatist, I knew I had lost the visual arts battle before it even started.  I could barely draw a stick person that looked half-decent.  The closest I came to being a visual artist was this.  When I was 13, I took out the CD case booklet to my Imagine: John Lennon CD (I was a massive Beatles fan).  I drew that square-grid-thingy over that iconic Lennon self-portrait.  I then duplicated the grid on my bedroom wall and completed a proportional sketch. Finally, I painted the colours in. That’s not art, that’s fancy tracing! So I decided to get fancy.  I sketched at GIANT volleyball on my wall (my obsession at the time), and spray painted it in fuscia pink!  Wow! Now I was a graffiti artist. STRIKE 2!

THEATRE ~ I think I would have to say that this attempt was as close to artistic as I got. This is a long story, but I’ll shrink it down.  Because I was a big jock in high school, duelling with drama was social-jock-suicide.  But ya know what? Those artsies intrigued me.  Oakridge High School was famous for their big time musicals, and I watched them every year.  Holy crap those performances blew me away! In grade 11, our school put on a Cabaret as a fundraiser for sports, music, and drama.  Each department had an MC for the show and I was the Sports MC. It was a lot of fun, and I loved that I didn’t have to take on a role or character on the stage (hate acting, but love actors).  The school show fever was just as good as any drug (I would imagine) or gold medal match. So, when Mr. Art Fidler (Drama teacher extraordinaire) approached me to get involved in the school show, West Side Story – I decided to give it some serious thought. Jock or not, that taste of theatre was incredible.  So, I did it! In fact, Mr. Fidler got a whole bunch of jocks to get involved in the school show that year.  Many of the jocks were casted as the JETS, and the thespians were cast as the SHARKS.  It was perfect.  I didn’t step foot on a stage in-role.  But I did a ton backstage and behind the scenes.  It was such a rush! From that day on, I produced and stage-managed many shows at Oakridge, at teacher’s college, and now at Thamesford Public School. Ask me how much time I spend playing volleyball and soccer now. Not nearly as much, overall.

But you know what? I still wish that I could master an instrument, sing beautifully, or create something that was magnificent to the eye.  Instead, as a singer in grade 8 I got kicked out of the alto group and was asked to sing with the baritones, how embarrassing. When creating school bulletin boards, I purposely off-set my layouts, cuz I can’t staple-up anything straight.  Alright, enough longing, enough envy, and enough whining.  I am who I am and pretty friggin’ happy with the skills I do have.

I spend my days viewing, celebrating, and advocating for the arts.  If you can’t beat-em, join-em…I mean support-em. I think my next post will do just that.  Can you imagine our world completely void of the arts? Holy crap! That is Armageddon. Never mind the apocalyptic  hurricanes, floods, blizzards, and freezing over!

So, are you artistic or a wannabe like me?

Advertisements