My artistic life began as a preteen. I started having dreams of poems and would then wake up and write out the fragments, finishing them later. I kept a notebook of drawings, colored illustrations, and poems. I don’t recall why I started doing that; I can only describe it as a strong urge to record the thoughts and images that flew across my mind.
As I grew up, the artistic urge continued but there were few outlets at school. I ended up majoring in English at UCLA and graduating with honors. After graduation I focused on finding a job, which evolved into a career in the insurance industry. I attained a level of success, but as time went on I felt a profound sense of emptiness. I longed for creative expression. I didn’t know, at first, that Art was what was missing in my life. All I knew is that I kept having bizarre urges to buy children’s coloring books and Lego sets. I fought this urge for a long time, thinking it was silly or bizarre.
I took various types of classes and enrolled in different types of schools searching for the thing that was missing. On a lark I took two summer courses at Otis School of Art and Design. Once I completed my first painting assignment, I knew I had found what my heart longed for. My teacher strongly advised us not to pursue careers in fine art, but I had already fallen in love. Besides, I had chased the money in my early career life and only succeeded in outer success; inwardly I was unfulfilled.
So, after completing those summer courses, I promptly enrolled at El Camino College and majored in Studio Art. While painting was my first love, I quickly grew attracted to sculpture, so I pursued both. Looking back, I can see that my “strange” urge to color and play with Legos was my soul’s way of trying to get me to paint and sculpt. To my delight, my poetic dreams also returned. Now my life is filled with beauty, art, and creativity.
The best part of my new life is that I am now doing what I was born to do. I no longer have a feeling of emptiness or yearning. My writing, painting, drawing, and sculpture are not only my creative outlets but also my means of service and contribution. If my work can uplift people, make them think, or bring them joy, then that is reason enough to keep going. And the beauty of my new career is that I never have to retire!