Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Choose Your Tool, Monkey!

Let me begin this blog by telling you a story:

When I was in graduate school I worked as a sous chef/cook for just over a year.  Everyday, depending on how well I did my job, I would learn something new either about life or food from the chef. It was one day in particular that sort of put things in perspective for me. I decided to ask the chef about getting a Thursday night off. Now I should make it clear that getting time off as kitchen staff really does not exist since it's generally thought that there is no other place you would rather be than in the kitchen. I knew that I was going to catch hell for even thinking of asking him for this but my choice was either an angry boss or an angry wife (for those of you who know my wife knows that this was an easy decision). So I approached the chef like Oliver Twist asking for more food and explained that I needed this day off. Expecting the worst, he looked at me and said, "No's not like you'll be missed. I can get a monkey with a spoon to do your job!" He was kidding with me, of course, but with every joke there is always a grain of truth. So for the remainder of my time at the restaurant I was referred to as "Monkey Spoon."

This funny little interaction really made me think...When all is said and done, aren't we all monkeys with some sort of tool that defines us? The question I have, which leads me to this blog is: What is the tool that defines me?

Growing up, my tool was always the pencil. Art was my refuge from all of the teenage angst and family drama in my life. When I went away to college, art became work. Being 20 and foolish, I hated having to conform to styles and deadlines, so I began to ask myself: Am I doing this because everyone expects it of me or do I do it because I love it?  I decided that I did it because it was expected of me and chose to give up art. As the years progressed, I tried my hand at various tools: books, keyboards, ties. None of them really ever felt right. My wife kept telling me the whole time that I have this gift for art, why not go back to it. I had brief dalliances with art through the years, but I never committed to honing my gift.

So here I am today, doing the very things I said I would never do: 1. Write a blog, and 2. Share my art with those interested. I've always had issues with showing my art, mainly because I never thought it was that good enough, especially when you compared it to those who do it for a living. However, I am sort of at a crossroads in my life where I am now a father to an amazing 2 year old girl/little monkey. I'm starting to look back on my life and ask what have I really accomplished that she could be proud of. I don't want her to make the same mistakes I made. I want her to actually nurture whatever gifts/tools she has been blessed with and develop them to their fullest potential.

So for my wife and my daughter, I have decided that this monkey chooses to use the pencil that he was given at birth and draw with it to the nub! I make this solemn oath over the sacred banana of our ancestors: I will spend at least 30 minutes everyday doing something artistic (more than likely drawing but I may throw in a sculpture here and there). I will then post the result of my week's work along with an account of my process and struggle to complete it.  This is going to be a long and painful process for me to get to a level where I can be satisfied.  I hope you'll find this fun and interesting. I welcome any critique, advice, or comments you may have.

Come back tomorrow for the first project post!

1 comment:

  1. SO glad you are finally showcasing your God-given talents!