Sunday, 6 January 2013

It's Okay To Be Different

My eldest grandchild, Michael, is a painter.  Not a house painter.  That would be very helpful to me right now.  He's an artist.  This family has way too many artists and not nearly enough trades people.  Which means, it's very difficult to get anything fixed but we have endless ways of immortalizing whatever is broken.  At this very moment I can't drive my car unless I want to go everywhere with the alarm blaring and the lights flashing.  I'll have to drive it like that to some other woman's grandchild and get it fixed.  My grandson can paint an amazing work about the angst of public humiliation and my daughter can write a social commentary song about people who are forced to drive old, purple station wagons.  That's before we get to the ones who work in film, literature, etc!

Anyway, I'm chatting away with Michael about how he gets inspired to paint and what drives him to choose his subject matter.

I like this interpretation of an earlier, somewhat well known artist's work.  Her smile has always been considered mysterious. ~

This one may be a leetle bit easier to work into my home decor. ~

Some works are studies of humanity. ~

Some are more abstract. ~

As we talked about the nature of art and what it means to create, I asked him how living with physical limitations affected his creative choices.  Mic has Cerebral Palsy and has had to deal with impaired use of one arm and leg throughout his life.  He answered, "No more than being left handed has affected me."  

That totally took me by surprise until he explained that being left handed, in a right handed world, meant always accommodating yourself to someone else.  You have to make sure you don't bump the right handed person's elbow during dinner and accept everything being placed where it is more convenient for the bulk of the population to reach it.  He could easily rhyme off a dozen ways a left handed person tries to fit in with the rest of the world.  Having any kind of a disability is just an exaggerated case of having to fit into a world that doesn't do a heck of a lot to make sure everyone is considered.

One day, Mic decided he wasn't going to try to be like everyone else any more and started living life on his own terms.  That's when he started to really paint and he hasn't slowed down since.

It made me think of all the time we waste in our lives working at being just like everyone else.  From our hairstyles and clothing to our designer dogs and cars, we are looking to be accepted.  

The really strange part of it all is that we admire and copy people who are noticeably different.  This guy sure doesn't fit the mould but he has thousands of grown men wearing plastic bead bracelets! ~

Growing up in a family of six kids, you had to be fast to get the favourite spoon for your morning cereal  ~

The black plastic handle was rather worn.  The rest was plain old stainless steel.  So what was so wonderful about it that we all fought over it?  It was different.  There was only one and that made it special!

So, I'm thinking the first key to being inspired is to give yourself permission to be one of a kind!  

Maybe it is useful to have a grandson that is an artist.  Thanks for the inspiration Michael Grey Shepherd!
(Even if you can't fix my car)