norman

Straight out of Art school, I started working for a design studio on Yonge Street in Toronto. Three months into the job I arrived at work one morning before the rest and gazed over the large workroom. Around the cutting table in the center were the small cubby holes we all occupied. One of the illustrators, in the corner booth, had been there for 20 some years. Twenty years smelling fixative, rubber cement and salesmen rushing into the room yelling, ‘The client will be here in 20 minutes and wants to see a sketch.’  

‘You don’t want this,’ I muttered to myself.

Three months later I was on a Norwegian freighter out of Halifax harbor heading for Liverpool, leaving a tiny untidy apartment and a perfectly nice girlfriend. It was late in the year on the North Atlantic. On the third day a storm blew us around. I remember looking out to sea from the porthole wondering if those white objects on the water were whitecaps or icebergs and why did I go to that exhibition at the art college for a graduate student back from his trip to India and telling us everyone should do the same if you want to draw life. The handicap under which most beginning artists struggle is that they don’t know how to draw. 

 

I was no exception and knew as much. The artist had a beard and hair down to his ass, was wearing a bed sheet and holding a long pole. That was the ‘60s so nothing looked out of the ordinary. I nodded with awe like I was listening to the ‘Sermon on the Mount’.

cat

Since that boat ride, I have drawn a lot of places on the planet and sketched a lot of good people while learning to handle a pencil. I came to the computer late and only with a knife at my back. It has proven its worth but I still feel you have to make pictures with your hands because you have to feel grateful for being able to do it. At least that’s the way I see it or I could be making a big mistake.

Norman_splitted

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