I don’t think that I have ever had an epiphany in the classic sense of the word; that lightening strike of an ah ha moment that some people talk about. It’s certainly not instantaneous or a split second flash in which I am suddenly enlightened to a calling complete with the clouds parting and angels singing in all their glory. Mine is more of a gradual, slow motion kind of clarity.
It is usually several, seemingly different, events that take place which come together in a kind of connecting of the dots. I have a had several of those situations over the years including one that set me on the course of what would turn out to be a lifelong career in art and animation.
After finishing high school, I had enrolled in an advertising art program at a college on New York’s Long Island with the intention of pursuing a career on Madison Avenue. One of the classes I took was called ‘TV Graphics’ in which motion was created out of a piece of art each student created. It was the first time that I had ever created any animation with my artwork. It was thrilling and it opened up a new area in the arts for me.
Right around the same time that I was experimenting with animation in the class, a friend handed me a New York Times article about the next generation of Disney artists being trained. It was all about the Character Animation program at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. The article detailed the program and the fact that many of the old timers at the studio were retiring and there was a need to bring in fresh talent to carry on the tradition of Disney animated films.
That article led me to apply to the program at what is now commonly known as CalArts and I was accepted to the Character Animation curriculum with a scholarship. More than thirty years later, I look back and am grateful for connecting those moments as I have had a wonderful career so far. It is a career that has been varied and one that has led me to continue to learn and expand into new areas of the arts.
Maybe, by some stretch, the convergence of Times article and the TV Graphics class constitutes an epiphany or it was just an aligning of the planets in some cosmic grand plan. Either way, I am happy that it all happened the way it did.