Thursday, February 22, 2007

What Is It Like To Be an Artist?

Last week, in spite of my coughing and hacking, I was interviewed by a middle school art student. She had to ask questions, visit my studio, complete a painting in "my style" and make a report on "her" artist. I really didn't feel up to it, croaking answers to her questions, but I thought back to a report my daughter had written in the fifth grade and the impact it had on her and "her artist." (She had selected my friend, Georg Shook, and declared, "After all, he is famous, Mom." Georg was genuinely pleased when she gave him a copy.) Somehow, I found the energy and made the effort to meet with Jordan.

Her questions were interesting ones but sometimes we veered away from the topic. I had forgotten that her parents had brought her in a stroller to a neighborhood party at my house; she had forgotten that she had come. Her grandmother had recently become a member of our family; we were both at the wedding. She had been to the opening or two of my latest work; I had forgotten the quiet teenager.

But this was about art and there were those questions about being an artist which needed answers. . . .

Good questions to ask any artist!
--When did you know you were an artist?
--Do you have a formal art education?
--Did your family encourage you?
--Which artists have influenced you the most?
--What are the most interesting things which have happened to you as an artist?

It was a long project and one which required time, preparation and thought. I applaud her creative and caring teacher. I thank Jordan for making me think about what it's like to be an artist.

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