I swore I wouldn’t do it.

Be one of them.


Mom, both sisters and even Dad…sorta.

My niece, nephew and his wife.

All of them. Teachers.

It’s kinda becoming the family business.

And now…me.

To this day I’m not sure why the school even
thought to ask me.

I mean, everyone knows that I love what I do,
but I’m not sure that I can explain how I do it.

At least not so students would really understand,
like REALLY understand how I do it.

I’m not sure I even understand it.

And I don’t ever want to be one of the legions
of shitty teachers that I suffered through.

No exaggeration here, suffered.

Growing up it seemed like everybody in my
classes were the perfect square pegs required
to fit in all the acceptable industry standard
square holes that needed to be filled.

Everyone, of course, but me.

I just couldn’t see what was “obvious” to
everyone else.

And I really tried. I really wanted to be
like them because it’s safe there.

I asked questions that were immediately deemed
irrelevant, and that defined me as different.

And different is never a good thing.

Why do teachers and students get their strength,
and curry favor, by being dismissive to those with
a different skill set?

We can’t have anyone thinking that different
is acceptable, so…

“Mister, are you clear stupid or what…?”

“Boy, don’t ask “why”you dumb ass, there is
 no “why”, it’s a formula you just do it…”

Those who could see the way were made golden
by dishing out abuse to those that could not. They
were just so glad that they weren’t that poor dumb
“artsy” bastard over there.

I decided then that I would never do that to another
human being.

Humiliate them in front of their peers.

How can that possibly be defined as a teaching method
of higher learning?

Especially to a kid that had no idea, who was asking
an honest question, searching for an answer that would
hopefully open a portal to see what everyone else
could see.

So that’s why on the first day I tell my class why I love
what I do. About my process of failure and figure it out,
and fail and figure it out, so then out of all that struggle,
something beautiful emerges.

First there was nothing, and now there is something,
something completely unique, authentic, that cannot
be taken away from the creator.

And now they can see why they can love it too. Art gives
back what you put in. No more, no less.

And I tell them that they don’t have to be like me.

We have me.

We have all the “me” that we need.

What we need is every bit of each of them.


Pure and unpolluted by expectations and conformity.

Motivated only by what is beautiful and what works.

What’s in their history, their hopes, their completely
unique experience, tools and language.

Together we celebrate the joy of discovery, and the
patient learning of our craft to make those discoveries
into art.

Art that is as pure and honest as they are.

Desire. Observation. Joy. Reckless abandon. Weirdness.
Beautiful story telling. Energy fueled by genuine inspiration.

Creative energy that shakes the foundation of institutions.

I picture dour faced administrators behind tidy desks
aghast because proper protocols are not being followed.

Straightening their navy-blue jackets and pursing lips,
trading expressions of shock and horror.

“Well…this will never do…”

But it fucking does.