Hello, my name is Paulo Picasso-so. Why? Because my artwork is just so-so.
But unlike me, she’s actually a great artist and has started her own art collective called hope + easel collective that you should check out on Instagram because Paulo Picasso-so said so…so.
I don’t know how long I’m going to keep this “so-so” bit up, but I’m liking it so-so far.
I remember the first time I created a piece of art. I must’ve been four or five years old. I was sitting at the kitchen table. It was dark out, the blinds were shut, and the light above the table was on.
My mom was on the phone talking to my grandparents. I was sitting there eating a banana (85% sure of this). I also want to say there was an Allen’s Apple Juice Box that I was sipping from, but that might be a detail my mind is making up.
Regardless, I can picture the scene as if I just transported myself back to it.
I also had construction paper, scissors, and glue.
I took the blue construction paper and cut out the shape of a dinosaur. It looked like the love child of Barney and Dudley the Dragon, with a hint of Polkaroo. You know, a round hair, narrow neck, and arching back that flowed down into a wide waistline and posterior.
For the tail, I cut out a rectangular piece with rounded edges – I’m unsure if the tail was also blue or if I went with green.
Anyways, I glued it together and continued eating my banana.
I remember my mom got off the phone and I showed her what I made. She loved it. She told me how good it was. Just non-stop raving about it.
I know what you’re thinking, “That’s how all adults are supposed to react when their child/a kid shows them art/anything.”
And maybe she was over-exaggerating a bit, but I’ll never believe that she was.
I was so proud of that dinosaur. We kept it. We put it in a closet with a bunch of other things, where is stayed for so many years. In fact, it might still be in that closet unless someone got rid of it.
To this day, I could mention that dinosaur to my mom and she’ll still rave about it. I like small things like that. Things that only you and another person know about.
Sure, I’m sharing the story here now, but it’ll still be ours, you know?
That dinosaur was the plateau of my art career.
There’s a saying that goes: “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym.”
I guess the “creative person” version of that would be: “Those who can’t draw, write. Those who can’t write, act. Those who can’t act, act foolish.”
Or something like that, I don’t know. Don’t you dare be offended.
For some reason, I was in Saturday morning art classes around age 7 or 8. I wasn’t even tall enough to turn on the faucet or reach the bottom of the laundry tub where we cleaned our brushes.
I had to will myself off the ground using my elbows on the front of the tub, being careful not to do a somersault into it.
My sister also took art classes, she was clearly the gifted one.
The teacher would put pieces of fruit on the table, tilt the lights a certain way to cast certain shadows, and then tell us to draw them.
I remember having to draw an orange. Just an orange and the shadows that went with it. I didn’t know where to start. How do you draw an orange?
Well, I drew a circle. But I can’t draw a perfect circle, so that was already wrong.
And how do you make it look like an orange, other than colouring it orange?
And then shadows. What?
I was so far out of my element. I don’t know what I was doing there. To my teacher’s credit, she was a very nice lady who made me feel welcome and never treated me like the terrible artist that I was.
My favourite part was definitely the watercolours. Why? Because the watercolour paints looked like hockey pucks and that brought me back to my comfort zone – sports.
In school, whenever we had to draw anything, I’d draw a hockey rink or baseball field if I could get away with it.
However, my default drawing was (and still is) a house.
I draw a big square. Then I draw a rectangular door at the bottom-middle. Then I draw 3 windows – 2 upstairs, 1 downstairs. The windows are a square, divided into four quadrants.
Still with me?
In front of the door is a welcome mat. My house has never had a welcome mat, but the house in my drawings always does.
The roof of the house is a triangle. The chimney is a rectangle with swirls of smoke coming out of it. No matter the season, there was always smoke.
To the right of the house is a tree. I’m very good at drawing trees. The tree looks like a piece of broccoli if broccoli took up bodybuilding and decided to attack the human race.
To the left of the house, in the top corner, is the sun. A circle with lines coming out of it. It was always a warm, radiant day, no matter what the chimney suggested.
Directly above the house would be a cloud. The first half of the cloud would always come out of my hand so effortlessly. And then when I realized I had to close the cloud, I’d panic and it would look uneven.
That’s my default drawing.
A few years ago, I drew that picture at camp and showed it to a kid. I was really proud of it. And what did the kid say? They told me I have no future.
Maybe they’re right.
In Grade 9 we had to take an Art credit. I had to pick one of: Visual Arts, Drama, or Music, and suffer through it. I took Visual Arts because I wanted nothing to do with acting, and Hot Cross Buns on the recorder is the only thing I know how to do musically.
Every time we had an assignment, it was displayed somewhere in the classroom. It wasn’t hard to find my drawing on the wall.
Now that I think of it, there should’ve been a fourth Art option – Script Writing.
Have us write a play, let the drama kids act it out, let the music kids provide the sound, and have the art students construct the set.
BOOM. Just built the curriculum. You’re welcome, Ontario.
I guess we all have our God-given talents, and though it would be nice to be good at everything, none of us are.
I don’t know how to take an idea, or image, in my mind and convey it through a drawing, but I know how to do it with words. That’s my talent. That’s where my instincts are activated.
My instincts aren’t activated when I see an orange sitting on a table. I don’t know how to put that on paper without physically picking it up, placing it on my paper, and calling it abstract.
And that is why you can call me Paulo Picasso-so.
Actually, you could probably call me Paulo Picasso-bad, but I won’t allow it because my picture of a house, and that dinosaur I made when I was little gives me legitimacy…in my mind, at least.
Thanks for reading.
Have a so-so good day.
Are you good at art, or do you struggle drawing circles and straight lines?