Saturday, February 28, 2009

The recent passing of George Carlin reminded me of a story from my teen years.
It was about 1975 and I was about 17. I was drawing caricatures here and there but I had yet realized this art as my future career. But once in a while a supreme encouragement would come my way and I would feel a whole new sense of purpose and direction. My father was the first who encouraged me to draw. Jack Davis, master carooninst, was a major influence on my career, first in studying his published works and then from the many times I visited him in his home. (More on that in another post.)

I lived in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD and there was a theatre nearby called Valley Fair. They would have stage productions, comedians and an assortment of acts. I had started drawing caricatures in the lobby before show start times on weekends. One day the manager told me George Carlin was coming to perform and he wanted me to draw a "special caricature" that we would give to him after his performance. I came up with a piece that was poster sized and finally the day came when George was to appear. The manager took me to his dressing room and next thing I know I entered the room, the door closed behind me and it was just me and George alone for about 20 minutes. He was most appreciative. I can't imagine the art was very good at that early point of my career but I'll never forget how encouraging and gracious Mr. Carlin was to me that day. A genuinely nice man. It has always been moments like these that keep the motivation coming, reinvigorate your creative being. I was just another of a million people taking up George Carlin's time and he made me feel like for those 20 minutes I was the most important person in his life. That feeling will take a young aspiring artist a long, long way...