I did a thing.
It's a thing I used to do a lot of. It was, in fact, kind of my whole world for a long time. Long before I ever picked up a guitar, eons before my voice changed, I was an artist. Inspired by my mom, who has been crafting portraits in charcoal and pastels for over 40 years, I'd made the declaration by age nine that I was going to go to the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD), which was and still is one of the best art schools in Ohio. I drew and doodled a lot. I'll need to go through my old boxes and notebooks and share some of those early works at some point.
Here's a couple of my mom's earlier portraits.
My mom and I got our gift from her dad, who, during his fifties and sixties, painted some pretty wonderful pieces, inspired by watching the great Bob Ross. Here's one of them.
In 5th grader, my pal John Biggs and I started our own comic book company called J.R. Comics (it is, in fact, the name we have always written and produced our music under). We drew super dogs, bunnies, crime-fighting aliens, and even beans. Yeah.....his first comic was The Super Guys, about a flying dog and bean. We were 10 going on 11. It worked. My mom would make us copies of our comics, but only if my grades were decent enough, so our production output was a bit limited. But we kept drawing and hustling, and eventually got better.
I went to Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center for high school. They'd been a career center for several years already, and just happened to be starting the actual high school when I was coming up. I entered in their lottery and got lucky. My sister Kelli also did two years later. This ended up being great for both of us, for my art and a little bit of music, and her singing and music. In my junior and senior years, I was in the Commercial Art vocational program, which was part of the career center there. I got to spend half my days doing nothing but art, specifically tailored toward commercial and advertising. It suited me well, and I loved it.
After high school, I moved to Kettering and attended the School of Advertising Art. A two-year program, it was a great choice for me, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Until me and my pregnant 18 year-old girlfriend decided we needed to move back to Columbus to survive. Leaving school was one of the toughest decisions I've ever made.
So, I started a family and lucked into what would become a long career in IT. I still drew, of course. For a while. I did a handful of portraits for a few years, but life kind of got in the way, as it so easily does when we're not looking. After my divorce in 2001, I found myself alone in my apartment, trying to figure out exactly what I was doing. So, I drew this portrait of Katie and Nick, ages seven and five, respectively.
It was my first serious work in a few years, and it felt good to get it done. It didn't exactly spark an artistic renaissance for me, but over the next decade, I completed some interesting work and got myself involved in other projects. For some reason, though, it kind of dried up again around 2011.
So, in 2021, on the heels of another divorce, my music career thrown completely off the rails by Covid, I was asking myself a lot of the same questions from 20 years earlier. Yes, there's still some music, and of course the voice over jobs are always out there to pursue, but I felt that with all the free time I had, I should be doing something more.
I'd set up my art table several months earlier and wondered if I'd ever actually use it. Then I realized it was more or less the 20-year anniversary of that portrait of the kids, and that was all it took. So, with very little in the way of expectations, I produced this.
It took eight and a half hours, on par with other work I've done. I'm happy with it, and plan on doing much more. In fact, I'm going to work on taking this type of work in another direction, something that will challenge me. I'll be sharing my progress with you along the way.