I remember when I realized that I was an artist.
I was a junior in high school.
I was failing Algebra.
Instead of art, I had to take a second math class.
Back to back.
Four hours of embarrassment.
I drew a woman with hair that spun out into tree roots.
"Oh, shit. I'm an artist."
I bought all the supplies I could afford.
I filled one sketchbook after another.
One was all oil pastels, another was colored pencils. Markers. India ink. Wood and chisel. Metal etchings.
I drew till I had blisters.
I saw the first Wacom monitor in a Fry's Electronics.
I stood at the end of the book aisle watching the demo loop.
I got bought a cheap tablet. I designed textures and skins for Second Life. I made lists of the things I would draw someday.
Books of ideas on my living room shelf.
A lifetime of ink.
A company in Japan (Yiynova) developed the same size monitor at a higher quality for half the cost. I waited.
I got married. Divorced.
Lived with my best friend.
Buried people I loved.
Went to college.
I found a job, building up my digital studio one software package at a time.
Always practicing. Reading. Watching.
I found the monitor on eBay. Four pixels out on the right hand side.
I put in my bid and waited three days.
Three days is forever.
What's three days to 15 years?
I watched the final clock tick down the seconds.
When I won the bid, I screamed a little.
Now I am drawing the things I said I would make. Checking ideas off a lifetime's worth of images. Clearing out the storeroom of imagination.
Things got a little crowded in my head. 17 years is a long time to shore up Some Days.
Dear 16 year old.
You're an artist.
Not a moment was wasted on that pursuit. So you got a C in Algebra. Go ahead and buy that pack of colored pencils. Never sharpen them in an electric sharpener.
You'll waste your lead.