When do you know you were creative? (part 1; creativity series)

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Artists from across the United States answer the question, when did you know you were creative? Were you a creative child?

  • I liked to make watercolor cards for people when I was a kid but I didn't realize I was creative until I was an adult. As a kid it was just fun. Reading books enhanced my imagination. Art was another fun thing to do. -- Cathy Card, professional graphic & web designer (media: Watercolor, pencil, computer art, graphic design) http://www.cathycard.com

  • I can't remember a time when I didn't draw. My father paints and draws, so I guess I naturally fell into it because of him. We used to draw a lot together, and he would show me paintings by famous artists in books. When I was a kid, I liked to make my own coloring and picture books, paint with watercolors, make paper dolls, doll clothes, comic books, and newsletters. Anything involving tape, crayons, and paper would result in some kind of "art."-- Rachel Cabaniss, painter (acrylics/ collage/ mixed media portraits on wood)

  • I was a very dreamy sort of kid who seemed to have trouble fitting in. I was a very early reader and I just couldn't get enough... oh, the stories! I ended up with a mostly nontraditional education, most likely because they couldn't really find the right 'box' to put me in. Although I was kind of sheltered, it was good for me... lots of self-learning, and projects, and space to doodle and write stories and be creative. In spite of all of that, I wasn't "meant to be" an artist. I was to be a scientist, like my aunt. It wasn't until I was in college and a guidance counselor asked me why I was trying to make my life hard instead of doing the things that I excelled at. What a concept!! Art had always seemed kind of easy and like play, not something that you do to make money or as a career. I remember one rainy afternoon my sister & I made a whole zoo (giraffes, monkeys, elephants, even a zoo gate and walkway!) out of playdoh on the kitchen table (we actually ran out of room!). My family is very creative and growing up immersed in art (one grandmother was a writer, the other fiber arts, my sister, painting, my mom, assorted stuff), I just thought everyone was like that. It wasn't until I got older than I realized that my family was kind of unique in that way. -- Robin Fay, professional web designer, painter (media: handmade paper, oilstick, photography, computer art) www.robinart.com

  • I've been drawing pictures and writing stories since I was a child. In fact, before I could write, I dictated lengthy stories to my dad who dutifully recorded them. I also started sewing at a young age. My family is an artistic one, and creativity was just another characteristic in my life, as natural as breathing, and I never even thought about it all I knew is that I'd rather be drawing or writing than do anything else....I enjoyed both writing stories and telling them with melodramatic embellishments to the neighborhood kids (this will sound dorky, but I have clear memories of being specifically asked by my friends to tell them stories, and then we'd go into their parents large, walk-in closets and I'd scare the hell out of them with ghost stories and such). I was also always, always drawing pictures. -- Mary Jessica Hammes, professional artist & writer (Media: Paper & Ink (comics); Fiber (quilting, knitting, wing); Performance (trapeze and aerial fabrics); Words (fiction)), http://handywithaneedle.blogspot.com

  • HIGH SCHOOL [on when he knew he was creative].No art, skateboarding, exploring the woods and fields around my house. -- Frank Hamrick, Professional Photographer & Art Faculty (Media: Photography, Writing) ,http://web.nmsu.edu/~fhamrick

  • When I was in the fourth grade and won third place in a state poetry writing contest. The subject was litterbugs. Here's my poem. Litterbugs are everywhere, cities, streets and at fairs. They always have to make a mess and make us pick up all the rest. So let's all fight and do our best and get rid of these old pests....The Litterbugs! Twelve years later, as a second lieutenant in the Air Force I won a prize for a black and white photograph I took of the waterwheel at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Truthfully, I'm not sure if I am creative or not. Not a lot of art at all. (on whether he created art as a child). In kindergarten I got an "F" in music. My mom raised the roof with the nun asking if I were trying or if I were disruptive. The nun told her I was trying and never disruptive. My mom said, "Sister, so you are failing him for not having a God given gift." My grade was changed to a "B." My art was thus thwarted.-- Bob Hart, bobhartart.com, creator of 9-11 Garden, currently working in 3d

  • Haven't ever felt creative. [on when he knew he was creative] [I] rode my bike, swang on swings, played with dogs. Didn't create art. -- Will Langford, Potter (Media: Clay -- wheel made, stoneware functional pottery)

  • ....I do remember is that I was much more attentive to classes that permitted creative exploration, namely my (visual) art and music classes. As a child, I created art in constructive and destructive ways. I would draw pictures on appropriate media (paper, cardboard, &c.) in class, but I also got in trouble for drawing on things (desks, walls, lockers). However, as a child, and particularly in my teens, I was encouraged to participate in sports. Athletic teams were encouraged, and music was OK; visual arts, however, were not encouraged in the same way. I tried to seek out my own creative pursuits in my later teens; this continued throughout college, art school, and grad school, where I sought out work that was created outside of gallery-oriented or academic environments.-- Mandy Mastrovita, Web Designer/Graphics (Media: graphic design, writing, mixed media), http://www.skullcake.com

  • When I was in 2nd grade (I knew that I was creative). A teacher had us turn over our math test when we were finished. I got bored and drew a picture of a Hula girl on it. The math teacher was so impressed she took it around to all the teachers at the break to show it to them. I just kind of always could see things visually, in my minds eye and draw them, but she pointed out the talent of that. I always was drawing sketches of everything; tried to design clothes on paper. I made up games, made scripts for radio commentary, cut out pages from jcpenny catalogs to design paper doll houses. I loved art class so much that I saved all of my elective classes for my senior year in high school so I basically lived in art class that year. -- Jennifer L. Matias, painter, interior design industry (Media: Acrylic, oil, interior design)

  • In elementary school, I got in trouble all of the time. I was always doodling. I would have a math paper, and a waterspot would get on it or something, and I would just go wild with it because it looked like something. I would draw on the math paper and my teacher was not at all happy about it. I remember having projects where... one project was sort of a collage project and I got the idea that real hair would be great on this little figure that I had done. So, this girl had pigtails and she said sure you can have some of my hair. SO, I cut some of her pigtails off, the end of it, which her mother was furious about. The teacher took me to the principal and all that. Hair was everywhere! So I kind of knew, even though I wasn't always encouraged by my classroom teachers. It was just so much a part of me. It never had a start. I just always saw things not in a logical sequential way... -- Mary Padegelek, painter, writer & teacher (Media: acrylic, mixed media, writing),http://www.padgelek.com/

  • I can remember writing and illustrating my own little "books" as early as age six or seven. These were usually about a family of anthropomorphic schnauzers -- namely, my own pet dog and the litter that she came from. I didn't realize that I really wanted to Do Something with my artistic impulses until I had an eighth-grade English teacher who pretty much badgered me into admitting that I was a Writer with a capital W.... I also used to draw and color lavish costumes on teddy bears that my mom traced for me. -- Jasmine Odessa Rizer, writer, pen & ink, http://rabbitart.livejournal.com/

  • I felt like I was creative all of the time. I colored and drew and played in the sand and I did lots of things. I also think I was very independent. So, I must have been in some kind of place in my mind, that was another world. What I can say about my childhood and creativity is that my family was not creative at all. I had a great aunt, who painted flowers on tiles and that's where I got my art ability, is what everybody told me.... So, it was pretty amazing... So I'm in this world where I lived.. lived in another dimension or something...but a teacher in gradeschool...told my mother that I had artistic ability. SO, I bless that person, because after that my parents paid a little bit of attention to it. They did send me to the local museum on saturdays and I took art classes. And I can remember being so happy in that place. -- Rene Shoemaker, Fabric Arts, http://www.coffeecuppress.com

  • I do not remember when I was not creative. My grandmother Mamie was a librarian. She worked at the Lauren Rogers Museum Library in Laurel Miss. How I adored visiting her at work. Mind you, we didn't get to Mississippi very often when I was a child, maybe once or twice a year. Mamie, yes that is what her grandchildren, children, family and friends called her, she was Mary Frances to anyone else. Lived in a grand old house that her father built on Sixth Avenue. The Museum Library was a block down and a block over from her home. No sooner had my father pulled into her pebble drive way than we sisters would be off and running, no racing, to the Museum to see Mamie and the collections.A daunting suit of armour guarded the entrance to the Museum from the library. I have to admit I was scared of it. Too much Scooby Doo I guess. Any way first there was this incredible old dusty basket collection in glass cases. I always was delighted to see the worlds smallest basket in a tiny glass bottle with a cork stopper. Then next came the art galleries. The galleries. The exhibit was different, of course, on each visit but you could almost count on the Sargent to be displayed at the far end of a long gallery. Just now I do not recall who is in that painting, only that is huge and I was always impressed to see her. She is a fine lady standing there in her gown and pearls. I do recall that I couldn't look at unless I was standing way back from it. The other paintings I would have loved to crawled into, not the images but the brush strokes. I would get as close to them as I could studying each stroke of color and how they came together to represent a face or a mountain or a piece of fruit. It takes my breath just now to think of it. -- Sarah Margaret Stubbs, painter (oils), Arts instructor, http://www.sarahstubbs.info/
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    robin fay is an artist, web designer, web junkie and serves as the editor of moonshine.

    An archive of robin's articles is located here.

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