My early memories are of things that would continue to affect and inspire me over the years. “Lilias Yoga and You” had a beautiful instructor Lilias Folan with a long single, thick braid of black hair and wore a full body leotard doing weird body poses that wasn’t sports or dancing but something else altogether. Linda Carter on TV at the time as Wonder Woman, running around busty and scantily dressed, Elvira Mistress of the Dark and frequent Heavy Metal magazine model Julie Strain recreating sci-fi and fantasy themes in photo pictorials.
Other sources of influence were the 80’s music video “mystery women” that were the object of many bands and singers. Marvel comic book characters such as Red Sonja, Scarlet Witch and She Hulk. This would go on to shape my interactions with and attractions to women over the years.
Mix in elements of horror since I used to read a lot of Stephen King and Clive Barker books, and wanted to be a Special Effects Makeup Artist like Tom Savini (…of the Dead zombie series) and Rick Baker (Thriller). This would later come through with my collaboration piece “The Door” with Colin Miller and Tim Talbert. Which started out as a one time collaboration project, but our ACA College of Design President, Marion Allman, really liked it and used it in a promotional poster for the school.
Take these elements and mix them in with long bouts of grounding by my loving, but super strict father, drafting principles, Psychedelic and Op Art, 70’s and 80’s album and cassette cover art, Chick Track Booklets and I had a blueprint of what to draw and paint and how to make it.
Some of us encounter bullying in school. It's part of some weird social dynamic that cuts across all cultures. Kids can be very cruel towards one another. What we as adults don't see on the school bus, in the hallways, the locker rooms, bathrooms and classrooms can have tremendous lifelong effects on a kid's social development and well being. Creative children tend to stick out more than the rest of the kids since a lot of us stay to ourselves daydreaming, scribbling away in our little notebooks until we meet other creative kids that we can talk to.
I can remember being so stressed out about it that I prayed to God/Jesus (my father had become born again and I was immersed in various types of media) to take the pain away and that's when I started to hear my "inner, guiding voice". This inner voice along with the long bouts of grounding (not being able to play outside) caused me to quickly develop an inner strength and confidence about myself. As skills improved, my confidence rose higher.
This picture is how I was dressing in 7th grade. It is a reflection of my inner confidence at who I was starting to become. Kids only dressed up to go to church. I made it part of my wardrobe. I feel this younger version of me is looking from behind my eyes at the amazing things and the troublesome things in life as time goes by. Him, the 25/30 yr old me and a much older me are all looking out at the world from behind my eyes present time as I navigate this experience called life.
Drawing by myself was a way for my mind to wander and expand, interact with "people" who somehow had names, personalities and abilities fully formed in my head like I was remembering a movie. I did not have the peer pressure from friends to get into things that would get you into trouble. I was worried more about the trouble I'd get in with my father.
I liked praise more than scoldings back then. I used my ability to draw to help bring positive attention to myself. My mother has always been in my corner, supporting my Art and talking about it to her friends. In a few short years, I would design a logo for her and set my destiny in motion.
I can still remember the day like it was yesterday. Blue was my favorite color, my clothes were Gar-animals, I was at Glendale Elementary School, sitting at those little tables, meeting my first friend Scott H. my second friend a big kid named Harold, my teacher was Mrs. White, the giant 6 foot something principal Mr. Hall, the large wooden blocks we would use to construct little forts, the milk and crackers for snack time and the "Pledge of Allegiance" every morning before the day started.
This book was a typical school project to get the kids to open up to other kids. It would be another 6 years and a second marriage by my father, before my brother was born (though I was "predicting it" in this book) so I was a lonely, yet very friendly child. I used to imagine that my Uncle David was my big brother. I don't know why I didn't include my mother or grandparents in this book.
I am actually surprised that I have managed to hold onto this book all of these years and through my multiple moves. At the time of this book being made I had no idea that I would become an Artist and all of the things that I would do with Art in the future.
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