Masterpieces of my Youth
The art room at Convent of the Sacred Heart, overlooking Central Park was one of my favorite places at school. It was spacious with tons of light and I always felt a sense of adventure as the teacher tried to inspire the creator in me. But it didn't matter whether it was drawing, painting or ceramics, I was always terrible. I made lump after lump of indistinguishable figures. One time I drew a tabby cat and put its legs in a row; they looked like candlesticks.
"I made lump after lump of indistinguishable figures."
Do They Stay or Should They Go?
My sister sent me this photo last week, asking which pieces from my childhood I wanted to keep; she and my mom were sifting through some of our 'artistic creations.' The molded figure with the blue crown that reminds me of King Friday the 13th from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood is very well done but could not have come from me. Way too detailed and filled in. And the white cat with the purple rug has my sister written all over it. The rest are mine but the bigger question is: what the hell are they?
The long pink, yellow, green and blue canoe looking thing with a horn on top, what animal is that? If I were to hazard a guess, the round basket with half the paint missing could be a litter of puppies or centipedes, there’s no way to be sure. The figure hanging out on its side with no visible legs might pass for a lamb or a sideways sphinx. The girl with red arms, purple legs and white hair looks like she’s been punched out or has severe conjunctivitis. But the most intriguing figure is the turtle, carrying a purse, resting on its own island. Are the green spots my version of his shell? And when do turtles have purses? As for the other blobs, one is a brown snowman, perhaps a dead squirrel next to him, and the blue hat with no face could be one of Snow White’s dwarfs.
Leave the gun, take the cannoli
I don't know that I'd want to reach into my past to try to understand where my brain was at that age. Maybe all these figures were the culmination of dreams from stuff I saw on television. One of the highlights when I was little was watching Star Trek with my dad. The only image I had a problem with was the figure at the end of the credits. I would cover my eyes but sometimes I wasn't fast enough and then the screaming would start. Nightmares would inevitably follow.
I may not be able to draw or sculpt to save my life but thank God for imagination. I can take it anywhere with me. It helps me to this day when I'm in a voiceover session and I have to come up with all sorts of figures that I imagine I'm playing for video games or animation.
I decided to keep the girl and the turtle, they make a good pair. They might inspire me to write a children's book: Blue-eyed tortoise goes on a journey with Miss Long Arms, seeking fame and fortune.