D. M. Perry's Blog

Runs in the family

I guess you could say art is in the blood…it runs in families. I’m the fourth generation to have this ability.  It started with my great-grandfather, Leo, then his son, also named Leo. His son as well. My grandmother too, and her son, my uncle, and then there’s me.  My great-grandfather was a professional artist, as was my great uncle, as is his son (my cousin). My great-grandfathers brother was also a professional artist, as was his son, and currently, his son. I guess I could go on and on. That could explain why my logo is a tree, but I also love trees so don’t read too deeply into it.

Now one may assume since art has been the ‘family business’ for 100 years, and still is, that I’d be giving a crayon at birth and sent to study with the Masters as soon as I could walk.  Well not so much. Yeah I was given a crayon but the last thing the forces that be were going to do was send me anywhere to study anything regarding any kind of art. Maybe it’s because I was a pretty bad artist as kid, maybe they thought the family business needed to take a different route, maybe they thought the women’s movement applied to all other women, except the one writing this blog because I was going to be….a hygienist! Or a physical therapist! Or…well, any kind of profession that utilized the least of my natural abilities, the absolute least of my desires, but pretty much guaranteed me a recession proof job and decent pay.

So….so long crayon, embrace this….toothbrush. Ick. I don’t like mouths. I don’t like tongues, spit, breath…just no. Feet, I don’t like feet, and I thought maybe being a physical therapist I might have to touch a foot. Hell I don’t even want to draw a foot!  It seems like I spent my youth trying to convince my family that I could make a living doing something with my natural creative talents, by morphing them into some kind of marketable job that I really didn’t even want, graphic artist? No, doesn’t pay enough. Illustrator? No, doesn’t pay enough. Journalist? (I’m sadly also a writer) No, doesn’t pay enough. Copy writer at an ad agency? No.

Of course I also wanted to be an Ichthyologist, Archaeologist, History Professor, and comedy writer for David Letterman, so yeah the aspirations I had for my future may have been a tad….lofty. And hold on there feminists, I also really wanted to be …..a housewife. Yup, I said it…well at least that came true. Still holding out for Archaeologist or Ichthyologist though….hey a girl can dream.

I guess around age 21 I just gave up on the whole art thing. I mean you can only be told NO so many times….I mean not by galleries, art schools, the public at large, I mean family of course. They were not going to pay for art school and man did I need it because I really wasn’t very good. Passion-check, ability….eh. Sure I had slightly more natural ability than the average shmo who can draw the stick dude to play a game of hangman. I could very easily draw good animations. Monsters, caricatures, really, really goofy looking…things, nailed it. I’d never painted, at least not since a paint-by-number when I was a kid or maybe since camp or elementary school. I’d never used chalk or charcoal. My family seemed to come out of the womb able to paint, draw, and make money! Maybe that’s why I was discouraged by them. Maybe they just looked at my ‘art’ and thought….yeah uh she just doesn’t have it like the rest did/do.

Being a Gen-X female I’m the first generation to be born after the woman’s movement, so of course they expected me to have a good career and take care of my self and art was too risky, I understand that. The irony is, despite $100,000 of post high school education….I never had a good career. I never had a job that utilized ANY of my natural skills and talents. I hated every job I ever had, and barely brought home a paycheck on top of that. $100k invested into years of miserable jobs I was horrible at. I don’t regret the education I received at all. Not one cent 😉 but now that I’m ‘middle aged’ it’s time to continue in the family business. Don’t worry, my art has vastly improved after just one year of taking classes (as of Jan 2017 I’ve taken 5 classes, 3 painting & 2 drawing) at art school. My six year old son also enjoys art. It’s his favorite subject at school. Will he be the fifth generation? Who knows, maybe, maybe not…but it runs in the family.

Great Grandfather, Great Uncle, Uncle and Me