Ten years ago I came back from art school pre-college to find my dad had replaced the brown family van with a small blue car. I was sixteen years old, and I remember thinking, “this does not break my heart.” My family was very steadfast, so when things changed, it usually broke my heart.
When I finished college my parents gave me that blue car, and now, at ten years old, it’s been giving me hell. It’s had over $6,000 worth of work done on it in the last two months (luckily half of that was paid by insurance), and I’m looking to replace it soon. I’m on the verge of my 26th birthday.
Ten years ago I was in Providence taking a six week course on drawing. That class broke a habit most young artists develop, which is “this is the way art must look, and I am learning it well, and now my art looks like real art.” I was making comics that were penciled and inked with brush and were very very cliche. I was telling stories that weren’t mine. They looked like any other comic out there, and that’s what my teacher said to me. It was devastating. I changed the way I produced art, studied sculpture in college before I returned to comics, and I credit that less traveled road for what my work looks like today.
I live in Providence now, which is mostly by coincidence. I forget that I spent a pivotal six weeks here when I was sixteen. I run into people occasionally who remember me then, and they are mostly… impressed, I think. That I haven’t changed. I was very mean and aloof and serious, and I’m still like that. I’m too serious.
I miss caring for animals. I understand care. I used to spend a lot of time cleaning barns and feeding animals. I used to carefully wash out water bowls for the horses and donkeys. Who is watching me clean the bowls? No one. No one praised me, or knew to acknowledge it. I did it because the donkeys deserve fresh, clean water. I miss that. I always need my energy to be productive, or I get frustrated. I have places I want to be. I have goals. But secretly caring for animals, working very hard for them, that was good for me. The donkeys didn’t even really let me pet them. It was hard work that wasn’t appreciated and only went to make their life good. I loved it.
I’m working hard right now and I’m happy. I’m stressed that summer is here, because it’s making me feel like I have to enjoy it. I’ll probably go to a show tonight and see friends. I’m tightly wound. I’m happy.