The first drawing was created in a kindergarten class in Clovis, New Mexico, a small town in the middle of the Llano Estacado, one of the largest mesa’s on the North American Continent. The Llano Estacado lays on the earth like an overturned platter two hundred miles long and a hundred and fifty miles wide. With no rivers, ponds or even patches of damp earth, it is one of the most inhospitable places in the country. Life only exists there because it is unaware that there are better places to be. The hard dry earth barely keeps alive the short crab grasses that are scattered around, their course stems reaching across the ground like dying tarantulas crawling towards a mirage. The plateau would have remained barren of human life except that underneath was the Ogallala Aquifer, a shallow, fresh water ocean that once pumped up created the perfect place to grow cotton.
The location is interesting only because, as far as I knew, no one had bothered to haul any kind of work of art up the ridge and no art instructor bothered to make the climb either. That left me to my own devices for years to use drawings just to conjure up much like animations or storyboards for action sequences in a movie. Once a drawing was completed enough to elicit a feeling it was discarded and a new one begun. Enough anatomy was learned to only to keep the thrill alive because buckling down to learn the craft took too much time and discipline away from my daily reveries to master. All that changed in high school when I belatedly had to leave that imaginative world behind and learn some adult visual skills. Following in the foot steps of revolutionary artists, I tried to find a personal vision for over two decades, attempting everything from abstraction to portraiture.
The major flaw that I have is a lack of craftsmanship. I come up with projects but just don't have the patience to pursue them to the perfection required to make it truly beautiful. This box for instance was crudely done. The miters are off and the face ideally should be carved into the wood like a bas relief sculpture instead of paper just glued on. Basically, it is just a mock up, but I did not feel like doing another one so that was the end of that. All those years hunched over an 8 x 10 inch piece of paper imprinted on me the need for instant gratification. Anything else was too tedious and incomprehensible to endure.
By sheer dumb luck, someone showed an editor at Knopf a sketch book I was doodling in during my subway trips to my job as creative director in a fly by night advertising agency working out of a six flight walk up where the owner lived. The editor, Gordon Lish, loved my little drawings and wanted to do a book right then. I went home and started doodling like crazy. That I knew how to do.
If I am lucky a story appears, or an expression of a feeling enhanced by the disjointed structure caused by the search for balance. I find pleasure in its chaos because of the