I love the adventure my career brings me.
Recently, I was wired a large sum of money from someone across the continent that trusted me to show up and create magic in the form of art. Folks, meet Chris Carver. He took a decrepit thirty-year-old Olympic swim center and, battling frogs and turtles in the mucky pools, working through lightning storms, and dealing with miles of strict building code, built three pools and one very large firewall–transforming it into Raleigh, North Carolina’s new William H. Sonner Aquatic Facility.
Chris is a renaissance contractor who repurposed parts of the original swim center and turned them in to art, engraved tiles as a fundraiser for the project, and is currently constructing a rain powered wind chime for the center – from repurposed materials, of course. This visionary aquatic superhero didn’t flinch when he saw the massive sixty-foot wide firewall he had been required by code to build. A mural, of course! However, and quite surprisingly, painting this poolside mural was outside his skill set. So, he took a leap and brought out a “lady from California.”
Working by a pool in 90 degrees plus humidity, I took the liberty of working in my bathing suit and jumping in the pool every couple hours (research!) I’ve come to terms with the fact that every item of clothing I own will eventually get paint on it, it’s just a matter of when. I just never expected to move my bikini to the paint clothes pile.
Some of you might remember that about 18 months ago I featured a mural in my newsletter that I painted at the Swimoutlet.com conference room. Chris saw this mural online, and that is how I got the Raleigh job. Here is that mural:
What blows me away is that 18 months ago, the swim outlet mural was my best work ever. I was so proud. Now compare them. The progress is apparent. This continual, natural evolution of my craft fascinates me. I have no idea what I might be capable of next time I show up to a wall. I just show up, and the art takes care of itself.
People sometimes say, “Well, you are talented”. If they only knew! To illustrate my innate artistic abilities, I am going to embarrass myself and show you a mural I painted at age 30, after I had been a full time artist for three years.
It’s okay, you can giggle. Is that a blue turtle in the boy’s hand? Talented might not be the first word that comes to your mind, though, right? I am sure if you saw my artwork three years prior to this piece, you might have encouraged me to keep my day job. My singular focus helped me ignore the concerned looks of friends and family. I loved to paint, and was determined to pursue it. Now compare my happy group of children with this commission I painted for David Troyer last year, a Christmas gift for his wife:
What a difference 10 years make. I am living proof that talent is overrated (read the book By Geoffrey Colvin). We really have no idea what we are capable of when we start out down a path. I think enthusiasm and perseverance trump talent. We will work hard at what we love. After many, many hours of effort, we can surprise even ourselves.
Speaking of surprising ourselves, I just finished a big piece at Stanford University. I think it is my best mural yet. But I will spill the beans on that project in next month’s newsletter…