Friday, February 29, 2008

A Boy and his Pencil

You may wonder when I first realized I was mad. When I realized that I was "different" from normal people. That I saw the world in a different way. I was born of humble and legally married parents in a small meat-packing town in the Northwest Territory. My arrival was no doubt the result of enthusiastic "coupling" that immediately followed the Second World War. The first awakening of my artistic madness was confirmed the first day of school. The Kindergarten teacher made the mistake of praising my fledgling artwork to my overly emotional Bohemian grandmother. With wails of joy, Grandma related the story to my mother who, unlike her stolid German background, broke down and joined her mother-in-law's tearful happiness. I was only five years of age and was thoroughly confused. I realized I was somehow responsible for the weeping going on around me yet I remained unpunished. I knew when my father and grandfather returned home after work to a household in emotional turmoil there would be hell to pay. But no! Once told, the parental males responded in family pride, handed out cigars to the relatives and ice cream to the budding young artist. This incident had a profound effect on my greed. If scribbling on a piece of paper could be exchanged for ice cream, I was definitely going into that line of work!

And so I drew my way blissfully from ice cream after ice cream throughout my normal and healthy childhood. I drew comic books about toy soldiers bayoneting rats attempting to steal gifts from under the Christmas tree. I drew graphic covers for my elementary school folders of G.I.s bayoneting Nazis. I drew a regular comic strip in my High School newspaper, sans bayonets. Then, ignoring the advice of my high school career counselor, I decided to pursue art as an occupation. Finding Walt Disney's name on the board of trustees of the California Institute of the Arts, I figured what was good enough for "Uncle Walt" was good enough for me. The following September after graduation I found myself in the "movie capitol" of the world majoring in Cinemagraphics at Cal-Arts. In spite of many distractions, like the Vietnam war, student protests and an unsuppressed sexual drive, I managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine arts degree. I was now a madman with a college degree! Now, the real education began.

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