A Gripping Tale
In the class I’m taking right now, we were asked to write our stories—the story of our art. This has been an unusually challenging task for me. But here goes…
In the mid-90s, I started dabbling in painting and art. No matter how much I painted, art continued to be a free time activity. It generally took a back seat to whatever else—everything else—that was going on in life.
Then in 2011, I received an unexpected email that set a huge chain of events in motion. This unlikely catalyst was an invitation to become a Gallery Teacher at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).
On first glance it was laughable. There was one thing for certain—I didn’t have a clue about contemporary art. While other museum visitors might ponder the layers of meaning in an artwork, you can be sure I was the one mumbling, “What the hell?”
How on earth could I be a “teacher” of contemporary art?
Then it occurred to me that this was a huge opportunity. So I went to the orientation and confessed my selfish reason for volunteering—to learn how to view and understand contemporary art. Holly Ackiss, the coordinator was more than happy to have me, even though I had no clue.
Being a Gallery Teacher was a great experience, and what came out of it was more than I could ever have expected. It was fascinating to lead discussions with wide-eyed school kids. The camaraderie among the tour leaders was also invigorating. I would find myself leaving MOCA supercharged and enthusiastic. It was almost as if the building itself was casting a spell on me.
I led tours at the MOCA for 4 years, and during that time began painting again. I eventually made the commitment to paint and teach, and found my studio space at The Artists Gallery. Those of you who have been with me since then know that it’s been quite a ride.
It still took a while for me to fully identify with the words, “I’m an artist.” It actually took the discovery of altered book art to allow my mind to completely embrace the idea. I’ll tell you about how I got hooked on books next week.
But for now, I want to know about YOU. What was a singular turning point for you in your path of life? This could be about your career, your personal life, your spiritual life, your physical fitness, friendships, or anything.
Did something unexpected happen that changed your trajectory? What is YOUR gripping tale?