For years, I struggled whether to pursue an artist’s journey or a career in law. Somewhere along the way, I dabbled in mysticism and documentary film but settled upon specialty pharmaceutical promotions. Don’t ask...
However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot color my heart out with Ismaeel or fiercely debate (and win) why he needs to wear pants before leaving the house. So, you can imagine I take great pleasure in seeing his artwork and channel my inner hoarder by refusing to throw away any of his perfectly deliberate and meaningful “scribbles”.
As an infant, he would crane his neck to marvel at ornate ceilings and tall skyscrapers. We were so pleased to be living in NYC knowing that we were doing our very real-estate best to nurture his budding architect self. Then came the finger paints that just screamed super-genius. Even the paste on his craft was thicker and gloppier than his peers’. Before he was even crawling, I could always proudly pick out his passionate work.
That said, every once in a while a piece of his makes me wonder if this is a good thing.
One of my favorites is a two-color stamp collage. Most of his friends chose two bright colors and complementary shapes. There were pink hearts with purple butterflies. Next to that were blue stars with yellow moons. Down the line were white ducks with green umbrellas. And then there was Ismaeel’s. Sometimes I don’t know why they bother writing his name in the corner. Could any other parent mistake the orange houses being trampled by tar-like black dinosaurs as their child’s work !?! Surely, this is my solitary glory.
Sometimes, the children are allowed to “freestyle” their art and the teachers will write the intended subject in the corner of the piece. For example, a collection of red frantic lines labeled “fast car” shared a similar style to the wobbly green circles titled “big bugs”. Today’s artwork was even more wonderfully warm than usual and I immediately tried to picture where I should hang it in my office. That is, until I noticed the caption in the corner...
“Flames of Fire.”
Oh boy. Why didn’t they just write “Cry For Help” next to his name !?!
As I was about to talk to his teacher - I noticed many other activities regarding fire safety hanging on the walls. Phew. Hopefully, as long as I can keep the killer-home-crushing-dinosaurs at a distance then art can remain a healthy outlet for Ismaeel.
In the meantime, I think I’ll keep “Flames of Fire” at home on the refrigerator. Some conversation pieces are just a little too high-brow for Corporate America.