Monday, January 12, 2015

So Tal, How Did You Become An Artist ?

Found this while going through some of Pop's papers :

"All the art "success" in Tal's career since Manhattan High School aside: How Tal came to be an artist in the first place!

1938 Kindergarten, Bluemont Elementary.
A paper-mache banana painted a bright chrome yellow tempera (right out of the bottle) was followed by a book of colored crayon and pencil drawings of birds. These were recognized by my mother as a "career omen" . In the ensuring years, she lost the banana but managed to hold onto the bird book til her mid eighties. Passing it back to me with the comment: "I always knew you were going to be an artist."

1939 Miss Waite's First Grade.  The college art education student teacher in my first grade class took my crayon drawing of Abraham Lincoln to show her classmates.

1943 Fourth Grade, Wichita Kansas. in the spirit of not putting all my eggs in one basket, I teach myself to play alto sax.

1945/46 mid Fifth and Sixth Grade, Bluemont School. At the close of the war, we moved back to Manhattan. For me, it was a return to the great company of all my old friends.
My art career takes off really seriously. I win the Poppy Poster Contest.

This next item is arguably, the most crucial element of my bio : One day skipping play recess, Gary Rodgers was reading at his desk on the front row of our sixth grade classroom, me drawing, copying comics seated at the desk just behind his. Gary turns 'round every once in awhile, watching the progress of my drawing.  

1947: Seventh Grade, Manhattan Junior High School : Midway through the first term of art class, an unfortunate misunderstanding occurred between Miss French and myself regarding a Halloween drawing, Miss French slaps me, bringing to a stinging close, this segment of my art career. It was not to be resumed until my senior year of high school.

1952 : Senior Year, Manhattan High. Gary Rodgers, after all these years, still a close friend, was made editor of the high school yearbook. He approached me one day in Miss Sykes' journalism class, saying "Tal you can draw right? Would you consider illustrating our High School Annual ? "

It just so happened that Miss French, who taught art from seventh through twelfth grades, died that year. I enrolled in my first art class since seventh grade. I was back in business.

I paint my first picture, a portrait of Shirley Wickham (now Shirley Taylor ) using the redhead Breck Girl Shampoo advertisement as a resource.

Encouraged, I send in my pencil copy of the "Draw Me" girls head that appeared on the back of Safety Matches Talent Test, required for gaining admittance to art correspondence school.

I'm way up there !

" 97 ! Definitely a career worth considering !" says the salesman who visits our house on 1718 Pierre.

I decide to check this out just a bit further, taking advantage of an open-house at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

One of my art career credentials I learn, was the fact that though I'd taken math all the way through Algebra in high school and despite all of Kenny Ellis' wonderful help, I was really stupid when it came to math.

This, it turns out, is a requirement for being an artist ! Flying colors at KU ! I'm offered a scholarship! The rest, it goes without saying (when you are only allowed a half page bio) is history. "  

Aw he had a good sense of humor didn't he?


Saddened by recent events. Paris : Grey, Overcast. The usual January/February Paris vibe.