My first real art class was an accident. It was the first day of school and I was supposed to be in band. A lovely simple person, or simply lovely person, messed up my schedule. Either way, it was serendipity.
(Don’t get me wrong. Making music will always be a part of my life, and I love that. I just wish they hadn’t scheduled art and band at the same time every year.)
When I sat in that dungeon of an art room, my eyes were immediately drawn to the old black chalkboard. The teacher, an excellent artist, had drawn a small city on the board from a bird’s view. It looked a bit like M.C. Escher’s early Tower of Babel (pictured), but more modern. Everything was in perfect perspective.
Perspective turned out to be the lesson of the day, but drawing perspective wasn’t the most important thing I learned.
The man behind the curtain
I learned that art wasn’t magic. There were rules and guides. I felt a bit cheated. I’d always been told art was a knack, or a gift, not a skill. If DaVinci didn’t flow from your fingers, art probably wasn’t your thing. If a whole city could be drawn using two perspective lines and a horizon as guides, it seemed Escher was a fraud with a ruler!
I figured I’d hide out in the back row and discover further secrets of the universe, but when I had no idea what to do with scratch art paper I was found out. I think I almost gave him a heart attack trying to figure out what to do.
The magic of art returns
The magic has returned to art for me. The amount of time, care, and love people put into their craft is magic, especially when it is hard. When you see people struggle through a difficult project, and then see the light come on when they get an idea… that’s magic.
If you ever see me doodling 3D boxes and basic shading I’ve done a million times, I’m thinking. Subconsciously, I’m also reminding myself that a different perspective will probably solve the problem. It is important to keep working. Keep using the everyday in a new way. Keep turning the light on.