Monday, 7 April 2008

Give My Regards To Kevin

About 5 years ago I was wondering through my local low-price everything-under-the-sun shop when I came to the Art section. They had lots of pens, pencils, paper and, most importantly, a book called “How To Draw Anything”

Now I’m a lifelong scribbler. Give me a pen or pencil and it’s only a matter of time before I start doodling lines, funny faces, whatever – though I had never become very good at art for a couple of reasons.

The main one was that, back in the pre-history of the planet when the monkeys were banging sticks together and grunting at strange obelisks in awe and I was at school (OK, so it wasn’t that long ago – though sometimes it feels it), I was basically told by my Art Teacher that I was useless at art and should never draw again.

For the purposes of this story we shall call this teacher Trevor – though his real name was Kevin.

Trevor was the old style of teacher who was only interested in his best students, the ones whose results would make him look good – anyone else didn’t really get a look in.

For nearly four years I learned next-to-nothing in his class until, for a glorious period of 1 term, I was transferred to another teacher who we shall call David – though his real name was Andrew

David was more of a 60’s hippy child, who called everyone “people”, insisted we all sat in a circle so no one would be deemed leader and cared more about encouraging people to express themselves than actual end-result talent. As a result of which my art improved a hundred fold.

Anyway, Trevor and David aside – there was this book in the shop and it was only about £2 (don’t ask me what that is in dollars or euros, but it’s cheap in any currency) and I thought – why not?

So I bought this little book “How To Draw Anything” – though on reflection it should have been called “How To Draw Anything, Especially Sheep” and worked my way through it.

Now I’m not going to claim that five years on I’m suddenly some Van Gough, or Pablo Picasso – in fact I’d do well to be Van Gough’s Van Driver, but the thing is that I discovered something along the way, via occasional art classes with mad Penguin-obsessed Dutch women, elderly teachers who were deaf in one ear so you had to stand on the correct side of them and students who produced miracles of art just by dabs of colour in the right places.

Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

One day, in the not too distant future, I think it would be a good idea to arrange a showing of amateur art at a local museum. I’m not going to look for world-shattering precision, or avant-guard artwork – I’m going to look for people who have a passion for creativity regardless of the end result

And I’m going to call the show Give My Regards To Kevin.

My novel may never get finished or published, my paintings may never hang in the Louvre, but sometimes the pleasure of creating something is its own reward


A. Stageman said...

I highly dislike teachers like Trevor/Kevin. They defeat the purpose of teaching.

I'd like to give David/Andrew a hug.

2 pounds = roughly, 4 dollars. Lol, I only know this because I visited London in 2006 and my 300 dollars became 150 pounds...and I spent it all VERY quickly.

Let me know when you get started on "Give My Regards to Kevin". I would fly to England just to see art like that.

P.S. The way you create links to other blogs is: when you are looking at your own blog, there is a thing on the top right corner that says "customize" on it. On the customize page, you can add a "page element", click on "add page element" and it should tell you what to do from there!

AngieRose said...

Oh, art class.How I miss thee.
i do not understand highly competent artists/drawers/painters. I am sure I could probably develop a bit more skill than my current doodles (I am rather fond of my doodles. They have their charm).
Recently during math class, an English teacher who i have never had but know pretty well was subbing my class. I flung the packet aside and placed my desk in front of him and set to draw him. I don't really know why. When I proudly showed him my worked, he told me with a look of terror, that he looked like a monkey (maybe it was the exessive facial hair?). When he set to draw me, he didn't have to finish before my friend proclaimed "You're making her look like Barbra Streisand with a Giraffe neck!"
We're writers and actors, not artists.

The Clandestine Samurai said...

First of all.......this post was hilarious.

Secondly, no one has any ultimate designated connection to any area of life.

Anyone can be a great artist/painter. The thing is, because certain proclivities (unique creative vision, neurological or psychological attributes, etc.), it may be much easier for one person to become an artist than another. So, it may take you much longer to perfect your craft and technique than others, but you can still do it.

Keep in mind, Amy Tan admitted that she was a completely atrocious writer. She had no "gift" and still doesn't. What she does have the drive to continually perfect her creative voice.

Honour said...

that's sooo nice to hear about Amy Tan. Lovely posting, by the way. In my little city here on the Canadian Prairie, before they were going to totally demolish and rebuild our art gallery, the "art powers that be" decided, wouldn't it be neat if we held an art show that featured amateur art from anyone? So, they held an open call. The organizers were overwhelmed. Essentially, they had three times as many people line up as they had anticipated ... I can't quite remember how many - but essentially the show was fantastic - two floors of ceiling to floor art -- every piece of wall filled -- 20 foot walls in some cases -- with non-expert artists. It was beautiful!