Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aesop's Feeble

by Drew Martin

In middle school, my friends and I talked a lot about what we wanted to be when we were adults. The bids for sportsmen, rock stars and actors were foolish to me. At the age of 12 these seemed shortsighted. "What's in it after 40?" I would argue.

I had deduced that the ultimate career would be as a cartoonist; something that could be developed and mastered until the age of 100 without being jeopardized by knee injuries and other falls from grace associated with vanishing youth. I had also always liked the invisibility of it: you could be internationally known and still be unrecognizable.

Although those were a child's thoughts and I don't have a career as a cartoonist, the medium was a wise choice to grow old with: it's virtually free, humble, meditative, universal and timeless.

As I matured, I also developed my interests in biology, which has since been complementary to my art. The prescience to consider what medium would be best for an aging man is very biologically minded and when it came time to start a family, it was easy to embrace what children bring into the world. Even before I had my children, I reckoned that there would be nothing I could create as special and precious as a son or daughter. Nor would there be any biological discovery as miraculous as witnessing the growth of my own child.

That being said, I have also been adamant about not abandoning my early interests. It is important for children to see their parents engaged in something beyond them and outside of work. All of these experiences and insights have also informed the work I do now. I understand the trappings of sentimental art and being too figurative and literal. I know these taboos especially exist in my drawings but I personally dismiss them for what I see, which is a kind of a parental creation and that the ideas take on a life of their own. I like my drawings to work so the viewer feels like he or she is getting a glimpse of some special organism's life. With that way of thinking and satisfaction, I hope to grow old with my drawings and the other artwork and writings I do and see them mature and become part of the world, just like my children.

Aesop's Feeble (above), drawn last night with children running around.