I liked to be referred as a Modern Picasso, dabbling in art, since I can remember.
Even though I don’t considered myself as a gifted artist my training heads back to Okanagan College (now OUC). During a time in the 1970’s when John Denver’s hit music was “Rocky Mountain High”, my art career was seeded by thoughts of becoming an art teacher by Mr. Wilson.
After my emotional break-up with my teenage girlfriend, Mr. Wilson helped channel my despair into creativity during my elective Grade 12 Art Course. My art teacher’s resume was impressive, with a university degree from UBC, he too fought demons of reality working as a teacher with Senior Secondary School in Vernon,B.C.
After my dramatic break-up, Mr. Wilson confided in me, sharing his vision of life’s unexpected journeys regularly knocking him off his path. He encouraged me to pursue my art career as an Art Teacher, beginning with a two year Design & Applied Arts Course and an English literature major at OUC in Kelowna,B.C.
To show how strongly he felt this was a good career choice, Mr. Wilson shared his newly appointed position working as an Arts Professor with UBC. Beside his wife, I was the only other person to know of his future endeavours. The news was like “two sides of a coin”, happy for his family but sad to see a gifted artist go. In Portuguese it’s referred to as “Tenho saudades tunas”, meaning “I miss you” but expressing a strong emotional feeling inside your heart. This is how I felt.
In life, you may find it hard press to truly find a friend with meaning where you both have the same burning desire. In our case, it was Art.
Being an artist has always been a part of who I am, from writing screenplays to applying a brush stroke on canvas. Yes, “It completes me”, but I can’t consider myself as a gifted artist because of the hundreds of thousands of artist in the world who are truly “gifted”.
It’s not easy for me. To complete an art piece, it takes hard work and commitment on my behalf, to produce “a work of art” with heart felt meaning from within the depths of my soul. If you’re an artist you know what I mean, but to the masses of our fellowmen, it may sound silly.
In the time where men were portrayed as “Mountain Men” my father thought my new endeavour was childless, and even to the point where he asked me if I was Gay. Shocked by his ignorance, I assured him I was not gay, trying my best to express to him how my blood boiled inside to be an artist. His “dark” demeanour towards my career plagued me throughout the long year at home, while my persistence of art continued. Finally the stage took an unfavourable ultimatum, either I pursue a trade as a Sheet-metal worker (like him) or be on my own.
I choose the latter. In the end you have to seek who you are no matter what the cost. But the cost was too great for a young teenager to handle.
In the summer months before my second year at OUC I worked in Lumby, B.C. (close to Vernon) as a farmers-hand, to pay for being on my own. Towards the end of that summer, hauling hay into the barn, I fell from the loft, crushing my lower lumbar vertebra sending me to the Kamloops hospital for six months.
This turning event changed my career path, simply because I could not afford to go back to school. In the end, after a year of rehabilitation, the government of B.C. helped me into a drafting course at Cariboo College. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was the realistic choice to make at the the time. I remember the social worker saying to me,”It’s still like art. Think of it as an artist with a purpose”. Her purpose was all too clear and I accepted the offer.
My life continued on its journey while my Art career took backstage, dabbling in different forms of media, from writing screenplays to painting on canvas.
My love for Abstract Art makes me think like a “Modern Picasso”.
Written by Bari Demers
Presenting working on screenplay, ” Black Angels of Sirus 5″