“How did you learn to draw like that?”
That was the [ unanswerable ] question.
Ever since the first Crayon was [ likely snatched ] by my pudgy little infant hand, I have been among those whom society calls “artists”. The mystery that continues to baffle most of us: where does the propensity, let alone the compulsion, to draw come from? This is not a disclaimer; it’s just the truth.
[*Aside: Haters, just go someplace else and do your thing, because we all have something to say.]
From my earliest memory, what could be seen by the human eye utterly fascinated me. Never a casual viewer, I looked at everything – every shape, line, and detail, and every hue.
To this day well, yeah…still the looker, a watcher (go ahead; catch the staring) – voyeur to life itself.
To an artist, every magnificent human being reveals:
- form of figure, shape of frame;
- stance, and gait;
- countenance, and expression;
- volume, length, and texture of hair;
- features of face;
And, color of skin.
In America, we have a veritable banquet for the lens. When I look at a “white” person, I see:
short, wiry, ruddy or freckled, auburn Irish, Scot or Welsh; tall, regal, fair, platinum Nordic and stocky Swede; broad, strong raven haired Serb, or blonde German and Netherlander; lean, long limbed, sandy haired English; curvy, bronze, brown haired Latin; petite, wavy haired Sicilian, or olive skinned, acquiline French, Italian, Greek, Macedonian, and bronzed Arab; straight nosed, blue eyed, chestnut haired Russian or Ukrainian; muscular, green eyed, curly haired Polish and Jew;
When I look at a “black” person in America, I see:
licorice skinned, curved forehead Sudanese; tall, straight, reedy Maasai of Kenya; broad grinned Nigerian; mahogany, black eyed Somalian; golden, robed Ethiopian; wiry, dark, short muscled Pygmy; bronzed, almond eyed Egyptian; freckled, red haired, copper toned Creole; and, a majority of the above, also carrying the deep gaze and strong cheekbone of the Native American.
When I look at what used to be called “yellow” skin, I see Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian, Thai, Filipino, Samoan, Mongolian, Polynesian, and those representing countries yet to be known to me.
If we were to meet, for the first time, you might find me staring keenly at your face. I might even ask questions, like: “Are you possibly of Russian heritage, with some Irish?” or, “Are you from West Africa, maybe the Ivory Coast? ” I do not do this to pigeon hole you; I do it because you captivate me.
Racism is a scourge. In our country, it has reached embarrassing and increasingly life threatening proportions. Distinguishing merely “black” and “white”, or “Latino” is literally small minded, vastly uninformed, and hopelessly restricting. In fact, we are a multitude, spanning the spectrum of the living, and if we shift our gaze to what makes us representative of culture and its heritage, what colors our vision will be radiant and illuminating.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 10/7/16 – All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect.
3 thoughts on “I SEE COLOR!”
To all of those of you who Liked this post, thank you for the support. I “fear” it is too controversial for many, and worry that some won’t get past the second full paragraph to reach the thesis at the end. Do you think it is going to offend people? That was certainly not my intent! Thanks!
I once saw a conductor on television listen to a handful of coins being dropped on the ground and then say precisely the number and type. It was very impressive. Presumably it means that after a lifetime of practice, he no longer hears sounds in the same rough, imprecise way most of us do.
I imagine something similar may happen with visual artists. They are able to take everyday objects that the rest of us see in a crude, somewhat undifferentiated way and break them down into their constituent angles, textures and so on. The process must, I’m sure, remain the same, whether they are drawing vases of flowers, bowls of fruit or human models.
In my daily life, I see people in much the same imprecise way that I hear the falling coins. I can understand why artists might be fascinated by the shapes of ears, the texture of hair and so on, but since I can barely draw a matchstick figure, such features are really not much of an issue for me.
I feel from your last paragraph, that we are likely to agree on what I believe is the most important point in any discussion of race—or indeed, of people in general. We all have our individual differences. They are what make us unique and special. But we also share a common humanity and a common worth.
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Wow. What a remarkable story. Yes; I can see how conductors’ aural skills must be just that discerning. Fascinating. And, yes; we are both universally valuable and individually precious.
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