The Life of an Artist

The life of an artist is like a rollercoaster. It is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It is sleepless nights of nurturing an idea and a constant reminder in humility and gratitude.

I grew up as the kid of a rock star. My dad is a famous musician, (alright, the cat’s out of the bag). Hanging out with him when I was young, going to the studios, listening to the most incredible musicians play music, jam, record, and then party afterwards was like being on the ultimate and most exhilarating roller coaster ever! The way my father has captured the ability to play his saxophone is art. An art that emits sound so fluently, it’s as if he makes his sax speak words with each note that he blows. To hear music like this captivates the audience in such a dreamy way that it tends to create a fantasy of colors, fills the listener with passion, relaxes their state of mind.  Music often brings back memories, evoking the heart to reminisce.

I was surrounded by artists of many disciplines. My grandmother a concert pianist, was the only person I’d practice in front of. She had the ear of an artist to not only play concert music with her hands, but also to listen, and with the most critical ear of a perfectionist, she could hear a note just a tiny bit off key, or when I didn’t strike a key with the proper touch. Her ear was an artistic brush of refinement. I can hear her correcting me as I write this,” Ah, ahh! Play it again!” she’d say in her high voice, leaving me no choice but to go back to the beginning of the complex Mozart Sonata I was playing at the piano.

My entire life I’ve been compelled to become something, to be some kind of an artist. I knew it was within me. Yet, I always felt I came up short. My attempts in art classes were a joke compared to the others that turned in amazing projects. I sketched a French Horn once. I think it was one of the proudest things I drew. I could never figure out how an artist could see something with their eye and then put it on paper in the proper perspective. I tried. I had books on drawing eyes, mine were always crooked. Noses, same thing. What I drew belonged on animals, not humans. And instead of running out of pencil lead, I was always running short on erasers. Really.

I tried pottery, and my aunt bought me a chunk of clay and a wheel to throw it on. The clay ended up a part of the soil in the yard. My concept of me throwing clay on a wheel for the first time, was to make something incredible, like a finished piece about 15 feet tall, and not just a coffee cup, as a beginner would attempt. Obviously, that failed too. I ended up making ashtrays and other things like pipes, disguised to look like toilet bowls, they were incognito for my pot smoking friends. Sold them like hot cakes. But it was a temporary commodity in my teenage community.

I’ve acted, I’ve danced, I’ve modeled. I never sang even though I tried, because I can’t really carry a tune, not even in a suitcase.  I’ve made jewelry and still have thousands of dollars’ worth of amazing beads, stones, semi-precious stone, crystals and wires to continue making more lavish pieces of adorning art. Somehow, these pastime and creative outlets have fallen to the wayside.

Regardless of the ups and downs and disappointments’ at trying to figure out who I am as an artist, there is one thing that’s never left me. It is the creative spark that is ignited within me when I have an idea; my wheels start spinning. More importantly, the biggest factor involved that I’ve never let go of, is the passion and determination to continue onward, even after all the failed attempts. To be able to believe in myself that I have the ability to do anything I want if I put my mind to it.

All along, I’ve been an artist in search of my art.

Nina Joy Rizzo © 2016

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