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Artist on an Airplane

The drawing was complete. I turned off my tiny overhead light above the seat in the airplane that had just landed. We had been flying for nearly five hours, but it was in that waiting period before docking that the man seated next to me, spoke for the first time.

He said that he really liked watching me draw and thought my illustration was beautiful, so we began discussing what it is like to be an artist. The man was a mature gentleman who had spent his life creating a trucking business which made great money, but was boring and tedious. He asked me with earnest curiosity how I could be a full time artist and make a living. He wanted to know why I did it.

Here is what I often say about artists... Our shoes, homes, cars, jewelry, airplanes, towers and pretty much anything human-made was designed by an artist. Often going without acknowledgment or proper compensation, the artist is vital to everything created.

Pretty much anything human-made was designed by an artist...the artist is vital to everything created.

Money always seems to be at the core of why people justify pushing down their own creative urges. They get into their head that creative pursuits are only for mild entertainment but not viable careers.

I told the man that a living can be made as an artist, and that having a fulfilling profession is definitely worth it. There have been so many times when people either became confused by my professional choice, or were openly hostile about it... until I showed them the art. But this initial resistance speaks to deep negative programming from that person's childhood. It is truly a sad thing for me, to see the trapped artist inside of person who has suppressed their own imagination through societal pressures and expectations. When I teach art, this blockage is often addressed because I want students to overcome their own reluctance from the start.

So as we said goodbye, I handed the man a bookmark with a sample of my art. He said he was inspired and seemed genuinely happy, like something inside of him had been released. Interactions like that always leave me feeling better and it cast a nice glittery happiness over the rest of my day.

"Airplane Roses" hand-drawn by Laura Zollar. All rights reserved. ©2019

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