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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I remember my first, pivotal, creative work. My first work of art was made and re-made on the underside of the living room coffee table. Some parents may cringe at the suggestion, but my parents encouraged my activity. Hours were spent drawing on the bottom of these two tables. Most of the marks represent the bang dot stage of mark-making, but some were more than that. Some of the tadpole characters looked like dinosaurs, others were simply scribbles. Although disposed of (with hesitation from me; Mom wanted me to save them) I did take time to look at the table a few years ago. I almost saw the marks as something familiar. Have you pulled out an old sketchbook and immediately recalled the context of the image? Had I not seen that sketchbook, I wouldn’t have remembered any of that. For me, those tables represent my earliest work.

The one thing that I think is unique to this early pivotal activity is the lack of influence or feedback from my parents. They knew I was scribbling down there, but never really took the time to ask what I was drawing. I think they were happy I was happy. I see the opposite in my reaction to my 2-year-old daughter’s marks. She has taken to telling stories about her work—“I draw a snake Daddy”. I think the storytelling is a way to elicit a reaction. It works, both my wife and I respond and now we even ask her what she’s drawing. Perhaps I should withhold that and instead get an old table and some fat crayons and close the door.

In attempting to re-create this significant work I was tempted to lay, Michelangelo-style under my current coffee table and go to work. The quality of the table and my left brain wouldn’t allow that to happen so I re-created the work on paper based on what I believe the work looked like. I saw the piece months ago, but threw it in the trash. Having gone through this creative research, I wish I had it now. I found the recreation difficult. My fine-motor control got in the way of what I remember as bold, spontaneous marks.

The first image is my interpretation of the significant work. Just for fun, I asked my two-year-old daughter, Grace, to draw what I drew. In some ways, I prefer hers to mine.
posted by Jim Howard, 8:24 AM


Fantastic!! I love it.

commented by Blogger Graham McArthur,8:47 AM


I like your story and the naive quality..... *eyes twinkling*... and your daughters work deserves kudo's :)

commented by Blogger Janice,8:48 AM


Sometimes it's rather refreshing to reflect on those days...mark making for the sake of making marks...without care or concern of criticism...just to tell your story. Fun Stuff! Break out the crayons and finger paints!

commented by Blogger quiet storm,2:48 PM


Your daughter is going to turm out to be very creative too!

commented by Blogger arvindh,9:57 PM


My brutha! You threw away our old coffee tables--an identical pair, right? They were like pressed board under there, yeah? Must have been very hard to write on! But I totally remember your embellishment to them. When we cleaned out the year before last I found my fifth grade journal--kind of simlilar feeling there. Hope you are okay--talk to you on your b-day!--Sista

commented by Blogger Jennifer,9:43 PM


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