Two weeks ago, I had a fun and unexpected blast from the past.
I live in my hometown (Austin, Texas), but I rarely run into people I grew up with — let alone, people I knew in grade school. Over the last decade or so, I’ve reconnected with one or two classmates from those days through Facebook, but never in person. So you can imagine my surprise when I had the most random encounter with one of my favorite childhood friends from Harris Elementary School.
First off, I wouldn’t have known it was him if he hadn’t said anything. Turns out he works right above my favorite coffee shop where I do most of my writing (who knew?!) and he had seen me around before. Second, I instantly knew who he was when he mentioned Harris, and to my knowledge, that was the last place I ever saw him. (By the way, he looks exactly the same!) But this is the part that gets me: what he remembered about me personally (other than my name) is that I was an artist. I was already on the verge of tears from this long-overdue reunion, but when he mentioned that, I could have sobbed.
Painting and sketching were huge parts of my childhood experience, so to be remembered for that was truly special. For me, my interest in art was merely a hobby and a way to make a few bucks here and there from my classmates, at around five to ten cents per sketch (ha!). I charged a little more after a teacher asked me if she could buy one of my paintings for her daughter’s nursery, but I was so honored by the request that I gave it to her free of charge. To make a long story short, this confirmed that I had a real talent that was worth nurturing – regardless of where it would take me.
Over the years, I’ve tried to pick up these more traditional forms of expression again and again, but I always find myself going back to desktop tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. Even so, when I think about painting and sketching, I’m reminded of how these skills play into my current creative pursuits and interests in graphic design.
All this is to say that when I’m long gone, I would be more than happy to be remembered for my artistic/creative ability . . . be it in my career or otherwise; so at the end of the day, there’s hope for this former grade-school artist.