Today I worked at the Visual Arts Center for UT’s “Explore UT” event. For those of you who don’t know, this means that a diverse crowd of around 50,000 people ranging in ages from two to sixty swarm campus in order to ask questions, participate in events, and destroy things. It’s actually really cool but exhausting. Anyways I’ll get back on track.
I was receiving questions right and left unsure of what time it was and surprised that my brain was somehow managing to form and vocalize thoughts. When this little kid who had apparently been waiting to ask me a question completely side swiped me. “What do you have to do to become a painter, how do you become a painter?” he asked. I stopped myself for a second unsure of what to say because I feared I’d be the kind of person who would give horrible life lessons. But that’s when I stopped myself and decided to go from the gut. What follows is my response as best I can remember:
“Uh…To be an artist is hard. It’s something that you have to work a lot for and there’s no guarantee. But if you love it and you enjoy it and one day you get a lucky break you can be successful. It’s not easy….. uh…. but I think what I’m trying to say is, If you love painting do it, do your best, work your best and something good has to come out of it.”
With the end of what was probably a more drawn out awkward rant he smiled and rushed off. Now what got me wasn’t so much the fact that he asked me such a powerful question. It was the fact that he proceeded to run into his mother’s arms in order to give her a big hug as she looked back at me smiling with appreciation. I have to say that it melted my heart because I’d never witnessed or been a part of such an innocent moment. I just hope that kid has a great life and whether he realizes it or not I took as much or more from that encounter than he did. Because after that I just had the sudden realization that I love what I’m doing so much and only good has come from it.