Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Memory Lane (Part 2) High School!

Well, I should probably be really embarrassed to be putting this work up. Hopefully, it won't wreck my career. Heh. In my defense however, I grew up in a fairly unrefined setting, and fine art was NOT a part of my childhood. Somehow though, I always knew I wanted to be an artist and I was lucky that most of the people around me were supportive of that. I suspect many of those people (like my mother-she didn't understand about 50% commissions, supplies, expenses and taxes) had the deluded idea that if I became an artist, I would certainly be famous and rich. Heck, I thought that too, at least until I actually began working as an artist. Anyway, I always loved to draw and paint and by the time I was in high school, there was an artist label affixed to my forehead. Thankfully, I had that, I managed to get through school with a small bit of admiration from my classmates, rather than being completely invisible or horribly harassed which was the usual treatment for kids like me back there!

Some of my best memories of high school were of the hours spent in art class (this was before many of the art and music classes were cut from public schools). A few of us were really into The Doors, The Who and The Grateful Dead, so many of our projects revolved around depicting those musicians. Hey whatever it takes to create, right? We had a very tolerant art teacher.

Well on to public humiliation.

So I did a lot of clown drawings, mostly in pen an ink:I don't know why really, I find clowns to be a bit sad and creepy. A teacher in school asked me to draw this clown and she bought the drawing for $10, the image above is a copy of it. I suppose the ten bucks really had me intrigued so I kept drawing the stupid clowns and I did sell a few more. I think I was in tenth grade when I did this one.

Full color printing!When I was in eleventh grade the students in art classes throughout the area were encouraged to enter a local Christmas card contest. The winner received a cash prize of $100 (which was like a thousand bucks to a sixteen year old) and the winning entry was printed on the card, which was then sent out to the um, trucking company's customers and employees. This might have been the pinnacle for me in high school, I gained a lot of self confidence from winning this contest and having my picture on the front page of the high school newspaper didn't hurt. Woo-hoo! My first press!

This was the first time I worked with acrylics:I worked on it in art class each day at school. I believe it was pictured in that year's yearbook, although I haven't looked at the book in a long time so I could be wrong. I think that maybe there should have been a rule about a high school student including an empty (cheap!) wine bottle from her own collection in a still life, but I could be wrong.

Again another school contest winner:Blech. It seemed so good at the time. This is the program for the homecoming dance in my senior year, however, my artist status did not get me any dates in high school and I did not go to this (or any other) dance. Waaaaaa.

And here are a bunch of ink drawings of Jim Morrison and the Doors, one of my biggest obsessions in high school. I copied various book and album covers photographs. I really enjoyed doing these, and even though the subject matter is questionable now, I still am a bit impressed with how I handled the line quality and ink washes at the age of 17. Not so sure I could do that now as it's been years since I worked with ink!

Another acrylic painting, also from a photograph, obviously:

And here's a drawing on scratch board:I loved working on scratch board and did as much of it as my meager budget would allow. After looking at this piece I can see how even then I had the same preferences as I do now. In fact I am actually slapping my forehead because it all seems so obvious now. My underpaintings always begin as a dark and I pull out the lights, exactly how one works on scratch board. Wow, I am kinda floored to see the similarities here.

This is a graduation card for a friend of mine:
I did a lot of these sorts of things; invitations, announcements, letterheads. I think I was paid about $50 for something like this, plus the printing costs. Clearly these were done before everyone had a computer and access to clip art. Everyone always really seemed to appreciate these though, I enjoyed doing them and of course the money was handy too. No regrets, even if they do seem incredibly cringe-worthy these days.

Also, this is an example of my use of pointillism in drawing. Looking back, I can see that I was working in such an obsessive manner during a time when my life was spiraling out of control and I was overwhelmed with the changes and the impending adulthood that I was not prepared for at all. Once I began to figure things out a bit, I loosened up and stopped with the pointillism. I think if I did anything like that now my head might explode whereas back then it was very calming to me. Anyway, I did a ton of pointillism drawings for a few years and I will put up another one in the next post which will focus on more college work.


Shanster said...

This was a really fun post! I know it's h.s. work but still - wow! You can see the talent waiting to blossom!

Rachete said...

Nice work!


Michelle said...

HOw fun was that? Loved seeing all this.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Tracy, You were obviously talented way back then and just went onto the path you're on now - which is amazing. You knew what you wanted to do all along. I wish I were that lucky!

Tracy said...

Thanks everyone, you are all very generous:)

I was very lucky to have had so much support (however misguided) about becoming an artist and everyone around me was pretty excited when I got into art school.