Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is This All an Art (Or an Obsession) or Both?

The brilliance of Dalton Ghetti
A few years ago, Bridgeport artist Dalton Ghetti visited with students in the Connecticut Writing Project to discuss his pencil-tip chiseled artistry and his obsession of making beauty out of the smallest of spaces. His work is remarkable on numerous levels, but he didn't share much insight on why this? Why pencil tips? He just did what he did the way he does it and the rest falls into place.

Yesterday, after a 14 hour day (or was it 18 - it all blurs together) I began thinking about his obsession. Why this? Why would someone dedicate his life to creating beauty out of the tiniest of points - something familiar but so impossible to work with.

Then it hit me rather hard. This is sort of what I do - this is what teachers who have dedicated their lives to working with K-12 public schools, especially in urban settings, have been obsessed with their entire life. It is a calling. It is an art. It is possession and an obsession. The materials they are given to work with are almost impossible, but still we try to find beauty in it. We sculpt. We create. We look for the metaphors. We keep at it.

It is love.

I have a photograph of Dalton Ghetti's artwork on my office door (the entire alphabet chiseled on the tips of pencils) but I've never stopped to contemplate the master too deeply. Last night, however, as I was putting finishing touches on a presentation that will be given at 4:55 pm after a morning with a potential granter at 8 a.m., a meeting at noon, and at 1, and at 3, and at 4, I started thinking - "Phew! What is this profession that never seems to end?"

Then it hit me. It's not a profession. It's an obsession. And I love every second of it, even when I'm complaining the most.

To the artist, a pencil tip matters. To me, the success of every student matters, too. That's the challenge and the calling.

No comments:

Post a Comment