This morning the video card on my computer died (again), so it was clear I wouldn’t be able to complete a strip today. Instead of posting a re-run, my older daughter and I went out for doughnuts and decided to come home and do a “Daddy-Kiddo” strip. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s great fun. When I was in my early 20s I used to imagine that getting married and having a family would just get in the way of my “art life,” which I felt would be all encompassing, but – of course -I was wrong on all fronts. For me, the art life is not all encompassing, and having a wonderful family just makes everything all the sweeter.
My adviser and mentor, David Becker, who guided me through art school at UW-Madison told me that having a family (for artists) is very good because it keeps them grounded something real beyond their art. He told me a story of a fellow he knew, a loaner, who cast off all things so that he could dedicate his entire life to his art: no family, no lovers, no friends…just art. Eventually, David told me, this fellow ran into a very “dry spot” where is art just wouldn’t come to him; his ideas were blocked and he just couldn’t make art.
“What did he do,” I asked?
To which Becker replied, “He XXXX his head off with a XXXXXX.” (Edited for younger readers).
Granted, that’s a very colorful, awful, and Mid-West kinda story.
Very few cartoonists (I’ve ever known) are extreme in that manner.
That said, I love having a family and love the balance it plays in my life.
All these later, having drawn comics for over two decades, I tell myself “I don’t avoid life so that I can get to my drawing board. I finish my work, so that I can get back to my life.” …And, I believe it.
Comics are wonderful. Cartoonists are wonderful.
But, family and real life are most important.
That said, I’m glad my computer broke.
Today has been really wonderful. – I have zero regrets.
Here’s an etching my my art school adviser David H. Becker. He’s such an interesting person and a true genius in what he does.
We had many wonderful talks while I was at art school at UW-Madison. One of the most important things he taught me was how to make a gin martini. Some day, if I ever get around to it, I’d like to write a book (or something) about my time in art school. In terms of the density of insane experiences, it may very well be the most outrageous three years of my life.
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