My apologies in advance for the shameless promotion this week, but I just can’t help it. I am SO excited for the publication of my husband’s newest book Draw Like This!, a fun and instructional guide for budding artists. Seriously, I wish I’d had this book when I was in art class. It would have saved me so much stress and eraser smudging. I’ve had my share of art teachers over the years, and many of them could have inspired Illeana Douglas’ character in this week’s film Ghost World (DVD/Download). Chunky jewelry, a checkered past, and a heavy appreciation of symbolism are apparently all you need to cut it as an art instructor. And if all else fails, set up a student critique and call it a day.
Based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, Ghost World is probably in my top ten all-time favorite films. Perhaps it’s because I was Enid in high school- jaded against my hometown, indifferent about the future, and worshipful of anything weird or different. And yes, that includes Steve Buscemi (still a movie-star crush of mine). I had the colored hair, the sketchbook, the vinyl records, and the scowl. The story of Enid and her best friend Rebecca (played by a very young Scarlett Johansson) growing apart is so honest, and very true of the journey most of us take in young adulthood. We have to figure out ourselves first before we can figure out how to relate to other people.
Let’s face it, late adolescence is all about making bad choices. Not that I would call drinking too much champagne and sleeping with nice-guy Steve Buscemi a bad choice per-se, but for Enid it isn’t the smartest move. While watching Ghost World, I recommend drinking a One Night Stand.
One Night Stand
1 Tsp brown sugar
3/4 oz Brandy
3 dashes angostura bitters
Place brown sugar in the bottom of a coupe glass, and top with bitters. Add brandy, then top with champagne until full. Garnish with an orange twist.
As I think about what it means to be an artist, I realize that making great art is not about shocking viewers or arbitrarily assigning deep meaning to something ordinary. To me, it’s about finding what you enjoy, sticking with it, and finding your own voice. Whether it’s writing or drawing, any good teacher would tell you that practice is what makes the difference between success and failure. Of course, it helps to have some really great technical advice along the way (like the lessons in Draw Like This!). And, maybe some chunky jewelry. Cheers!