Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Artist's Path - Part 2

My Birthday Cake c. 1975

My Family

I grew up with 2 brothers and my mom and dad in Costa Mesa, California. My one set of grandparents lived in the house right in front of ours and my other set of grandparents lived across town. We also had our aunts and uncles and their kids living on the same block as the rest of us. So there was always a lot of family around.

Art Sale

My grandfather, George, who lived in front of us was an artist at heart. He was always working on watercolors. Their house was filled with his work. Occasionally he would set up out on the front lawn with his work, all his favorites had prices in the hundreds insuring that they would never sell. I don't ever remembering him try to show them out in the world. Maybe to him the art was not completed with the sale but instead completed by the creation. I remember one time as a teenager, he gave me a watercolor lesson.

My grandmother, Alice, was a cake decorator. Earlier in life she had been a photographer but throughout my childhood she made cakes. Wedding cakes, birthday cakes and even nudie bachelor party cakes. As a kid I loved seeing all the cakes but the cakes were made to be sold and not for us kids. But every birthday, she would make me a cake and they were incredible. the one I remember most was a prehistoric scene with dinosaurs and a giant blue ocean.

My other grandfather, Lowell, was a swordfisherman. A real man's man. His wife, Josie, was a hairdresser. One of the things I remember most about Josie was the little gift store she ran for a while. Also for a period she made resin ashtrays in backyard. The smell of cooking resin is always pleasant to me because it takes mr right back to my childhood (while also killing off some brain cells).

the Lab

My father, Dave, is an engineer. Throughout my childhood he worked in the aerospace industry. But always on the side, he was working on projects. We had a room in our house called the Lab. A room full of screws, gears, saws, soldering irons, maps of the universe, oscilloscopes, lead bricks and any just about anything else you might need. There was paint there but it was spray paint and enamels not oils and acrylics, functional paint. And the Lab was not just for our fathers place in fact it felt like it was more for the kids. A place for use to explore science. On weekends we would make things, sometimes we would find plans in books or my dad would work something up.

My mother, Cheryl, is a crafter. She knits and crochets and makes all sorts of things. I remember she would participate in Christmas sales and for months in advance, she would be making. Hundreds of clothespin reindeer, pompom & felt Santas, little angel bells and a host of others would fill boxes in the house. All these little reasonably priced curios would be gone by the time Christmas rolled around.

I will talk about my brothers later. Sorry if this seems to be going off tangentially to where I started but I want to really dig deep into how I got where I am. Already I am seeing connections that I had not thought about. Next I will look at these influences and how they have deeply ingrained themselves into my own process.

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