Tuesday, April 12, 2005

10 years too late

(I've been sitting on this one for a while. Since today looks like a busy day - and a rainy one - it seems like a good time to take it off the shelf.)

During my visit home last month, I stopped by the Work Gallery in Ann Arbor to satisfy a curiosity and check out a piece by Sam, who's responsible for the mucho entertaining Blue Cats and Red Sox blog.

Looking at the exhibit and the rest of the gallery (and picking Sam's brain via e-mail about her work) got me to thinking about decisions I could've made, roads never taken, etc. I don't regret where I am now; I think it's where I'm meant to be. But through my early teens, I wanted to be an artist (more particularly, a cartoonist or illustrator). The University of Michigan School of Art even sent me a recruitment letter when I was in high school. (I actually still have that letter.) I've always kept that "what if" with me, and considered taking classes at Detroit's College for Creative Studies when I met Mis Hooz, who was studying there at the time. I also sent away for information from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ.

Why didn't I do it? Money. Fear. Uncertainty. And surely, a handful of other reasons that aren't occurring to me right now. But a part of me will always wonder what would've happened had I gone to art school. Along with the visit to the Work Gallery, this week-long journal by cartoonist James Strum in Slate brought that "what if" bubbling back to the surface. Strum is the director for a new school in Vermont called The Center for Cartoon Studies, which will focus on "the creation and dissemination of comics, graphic novels and other manifestations of the visual narrative."


Man, if only this place existed 8-10 years ago. I'd have been all over it. I have no idea if I would've been admitted. Probably not, but I would've tried like hell to get in. But hey, who knows? If this writing thing doesn't work out for me, and I can't find a decent-paying regular job, maybe I'll finally give the art thing a try. I'm getting a little too old to chase a dream, though - especially when a different chase brought me to Iowa in the first place. But I like to think that in an alternate universe, I'd be a great #@$%ing cartoonist.