After watching the Democratic National Convention, when Bill gave a
long speech about Hillary Clinton’s bio, I feel like comparing myself to Hillary.
Hillary Clinton is a few years older than my sister, older than I
am, and while she's been spending all years apparently doing public service, improving
the ‘lives of millions of people’, I've been painting and drawing.
I've been getting a lot of rejections from juried shows lately but I
finally got to show put on by ArtSpan in a swanky Mission Bowling Club where I can showcase the
big new work. I was less excited when I delivered and realized there were four
other artists in the show, but heck, it’s still cool. (Terrified that two of my
paintings are hung really low on the staircase to the eating area, in reach of
greasy fingers, and will be damaged.)
|Standing in front of 2 large paintings at the opening|
|Mission Bowling opening|
I also got in a group show in a real gallery, a cool gallery, in
Berkeley, called Ube, opening next week.
So why have I dedicated myself my life to art? When I was in grammar
school, I was the kid in the class or maybe even the kid in the school that was
good at art. (Okay, there was another girl who was better than I was, but she
was getting private drawing or art classes outside of school. She was really
good.) I was good at school, but best at art.
In fourth grade, I drew horses for the other girls for cash. I
founded The Little Artists Club (LAC), which had two members, my best friend,
Mary, and I. We had an art opening in her parent’s laundry basement and both
families attended. I would loiter around friends’ mothers who were artists, asking
them about their work. As a child I wrote stories, plays, and comics. I also
knitted, crocheted, embroidered, sewed, did macramé, did leather work, took
photos, made films, built a tree house, etc. My sister was really good at art
but she never pursued it.
I went to an early feminist art show in my first college and a photographer overheard me saying, “I wish I could be an artist.”
And she said, “Well, why don’t you?”
I said “My mother wouldn’t approve.”
She said “It’s your life, isn’t it? She had her life.”
And of course, this changed my life forever.
Later when I had my interview to get into the respected art school
there, SUNY at New Paltz, the Dean said their policy was not to admit many women, because women
would get married and quit art. I assured him I would not get married. They
admitted me, but I decided to go elsewhere for my art degree. (I did marry later but art was always my mission.)
On National Public Radio, a female stockbroker said that women who
pursued creative careers have hurt ourselves twice, partly because we don't
have a lot of income, and we also don't have a lot of money to invest in things
to get the society that we want.
So a lifetime spent painting and drawing and studying a lot.
Attended drawing sessions all my life. Went back to school to study graphic
design so that I could find work.
I probably worked as hard as Hillary. I always had to have two
careers. I guess you could say she had two careers also, she was a mom and a
public servant. But when compared to her, someone who has helped ‘millions of people’…
I've basically learned how to paint and draw, somewhat, somewhat. (Mastery as an artist is
So she's helped ‘millions of people’ get a better life and I've
gotten pretty good at something that seems like an anachronism, something that
doesn't seem wanted anymore, something that is way out of fashion. If the
future was a river, I am stranded on an island off to the side, not even in the
river. A peculiar place to find oneself after so much hard work.
However, art what I was best at, at so that's what I pursued.
Do I have regrets? Possibly, I will, if the future doesn’t want what
I did, if my work ends up in the rubbish bin. I don't have regrets spending my
life doing what I love. I’ve been a gambler with my life and it's not over yet.
When I was in college, Sue Penwarden and I got to interview Joey
Ramone for my punk fanzine. In response to a question about gaining success, he
told us “You can just never give up.” I guess I've been kind of following his
advice all these years.
Joey Ramone did okay.
Labels: art, ArtSpan, carolyn crampton, Democratic National Convention, drawing, Hillary, Joey Ramone, Mission Bowling Club, New Paltz, painting, public service, Ramones, still life, Sue Penwarden, Ube