I told myself that I was going to be more "open" , a loose term that meant many things to me at the time. An individual tested me and my new mantra the day I got back from vacation. A young black man with a hard exterior but a warmth inside approached and started up a conversation while I was drawing last week. He was timid and asked for guidance on his art, he had drifted and gotten away from it like so many do. I gave him my card and said meet me next week at this coffee shop.
He was early this morning.
We sat, he asked about structure in a drawing and life in general. He went to jail, loves a woman with his child who doesn't love him back, has people that owe him money walk by us during the talk, a small bottle of rage inside, and a calm and relaxed demeanor.
I talked about getting the entire form, working big to small, seeing everything before knocking in all that detail. He spoke about his life up til now was like trying to draw the eyeball and not seeing the head. "Don't get discouraged, art isn't about here and now but a journey" I see he understands and this conversation has become very important to me. We talk about cycles, getting out of your comfort zone, and asking for help when you need it. I rarely ask for help when I need it (something to work on). We talk about hard times and keeping your head above water. He had help in jail on his drawings and wants to continue. "God gave me a chance" He believes in structure, he wants to meet next week with his art to show me. He likes drawing Tupac and the ladies of XXL. Art is his way of quieting his world, making sense of the nonsensical, and therapeutic.
I couldn't agree with him more.
I write this now to make sense of this experience myself. Looking past what I saw the first moment I met him, I learned more then I thought I would. I still have work to do on myself. He said some great things and I hope art treats him well.
Here are some of the things he said to me
"When you keep running in circles you can go so fast that you run into yourself, or the wrong people, still doesn't mean you went anywhere."
"To us poor people, buying air Jordans and a nice coat, it's all just costumes. It's not real. that's all fake. Success is helping others, getting past where you are and help others get there."
"Wisdom minus action equals nothing"
An individual moment I had to record and definitely a lesson learned this morning.