I guess I’m a rather overwhelming fellow when I’m standing in front of a class lecturing. People have said I sound angry. Really, I’m just enthusiastic. The confidence I exude confuses people. I know my material. But there are people who are deeply offended by the self-confident. Strange.
Students would hang their work on a specified wall in the studio when they first began studying with me. I called it “The Impaling Wall” because I would just decimate their work.
I owned a monopoly on art education. I made it available to anyone who wanted to come and study with me or wanted to buy my DVDs very affordably.
I had a good run. I had a wonderful time.
To be able to overdraw on a Leonardo or a Picasso and demonstrate how they built it on 10 or 15 different levels was always exhilarating. They were playing with two-dimensional shapes; three-dimensional shapes; they’re playing with arabesques, enclosures, parallel intervals, horizontals, diagonals…there is so much going on, and trained artists use these geometric design skills automatically. A musician picks up an instrument and doesn’t worry about theory; doesn’t read the music (really), and they perform. They interpret. You know the price they have paid for their excellence — endless hours of practice — and they still practice every day to maintain that fluid control. But they make it appear absolutely effortless. They know if they are tapping their foot to keep time and they have to stop and start again a few times, half the audience leaves.
I never had the time to look back. I was a one-man show. Throughout my career, I always had to wear many hats to keep things moving. It was a demanding job. At the studio, I always had a youngster to do the cleaning and in exchange, they got a free room, free lessons and they were my gofer. And, occasionally, if their circumstances weren’t good, I would give them money. I didn’t feel I had to if they had sufficiently prosperous parents. The art scholarship itself was already worth thousands of dollars. The studio was a dream come true. Every day that I walked in, I could feel that I was changing lives, providing direction and encouragement.