Monday, February 24, 2014

20 Years of Making a Difference? Really?

20 Years of Making a Difference? Really?

"Are you an artist?"

The questions came to me from a forgotten history.

As I was enjoying an exhibit of abstract art yesterday, I found myself talking to one of the artists, who knew me "way back." She was describing the teaching abilities of my mother who had conducted workshops on abstract art that Kelly had attended a few months prior. This exhibit was the resulting work of her students. Kelly's new abstract pieces were quite good, and she had nothing but great things to say about Mom's workshop.

Kelly was telling me about a moment in the workshop, though, that brought history and the present together in unexpected ways.

As my Mom, Fran Watson, was talking to someone about her son, Larry, who is a  ceramic artist, Kelly made the decades-wide connection.

She announced to Fran, "I know Larry, he conducted a workshop 20 years ago called "The Business of Art." She went on, "The first thing he did was ask, 'How many of you call yourself an artist?' Out of about 30 people, only three raised their hands."

She continued, "Larry said that this was the first thing that would have to change in order to find any success. He said, 'You have to look in the mirror and say "I am an artist." And then you must be clear when you say it to others. Then you will be able to succeed.'"

Kelly went on; "And that's what I learned to do. The first 10 days I tried looking in the mirror and I couldn't say it. I just looked in the mirror and cried. But eventually I was able to say it in the mirror, and then say it out loud to other people. It changed my life."

Wow. So affirming to know that my path to now is not so recent, but a culmination of my life. Making a difference; it's what I live for.

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