When asked for my “mission statement” as an artist, I am always quick to respond: “I have none.” To those who don’t know me well I may seem like a shallow-thinking person. But my friends will tell you I seldom think at all.
I’m a self-taught artist who began with no talent for drawing. A passionate desire to learn the skills, and the willingness to work through frustrations and setbacks, eventually enabled me to become a professional artist. I am not boasting. I’m a man of average intelligence. (My friends will argue I’m boasting when I say that.)
I’ve learned that talent is not a prerequisite for success in any endeavor. Each of us is born with unique desires, interests, passions-and the potential to develop them. These are our gifts. Some people are developing their gifts into talents and abilities, while others just play with the packaging material.
I never attended art school. At the University of Delaware, in the mid-1970’s, I was an English major, a subject of study I later learned had as much practical application as four years’ training in stagecoach driving. Today I retain fragments of The Lord’s Prayer in Old English, the ability to sleep through public lectures with my eyes open, and how to use a semi-colon.
After graduation I landed a job in advertising, a business once described as “the art of arresting human intelligence long enough to extract money from it.” My heart was not in the work. I’d always loved drawing on the side. I enjoyed it on my back and stomach, too. So at age thirty I decided my real life should start, and began a part-time business as an artist. Six years later I jumped into it full-time, marketing my artwork at juried arts festivals, at galleries, and at gunpoint.
I used to be a serious artist-but I got over it. It’s more fun to create “random acts of artistic nonsense.” As I careen into middle-age, I grow more convinced that humor is our cosmic night-light. It touches emotions we all share. (Truthfully, I only do these drawings to watch my wife roll her eyes. It works every time. Life is full.)
Writer O. Henry said that life consists of smiles, sniffles, and sobs-with sniffles predominating. In my own small way, I hope to increase the percentage of smiles. I humbly offer these whimsical wildlife drawings as a partial antidote to the six o’clock news.