I was still at law school. It was in the evening and I was probably procrastinating about some assignment while listening to the radio (old tech cause this was in the late 80’s). I remember the next cleary though. An interview with an artist came on and grabbed my attention like a fistfull of T-shirt.
The artist was talking about his art and then the interviewer asked the artist why he decided to stop practicing law and go into professional art. Everything stood still at that moment and I thought this cannot be. An attorney changing career to professional artist was an idea that blew my young mind.
A bit of background – I had studied art at school, taken the lessons and lets just say that I doodled a few trees worth of paper in my early days. When career choices came up I went to the art-related career evenings, but they all emphasised industrial arts, which did not fire me up. I was also not into fashion design. Fine art as a career? Oh no! that was not on the career counsellor’s list! So I chose law obviously. Fast forward a few years and here is someone who did the whole law career and then gave it up. Brilliant – he had to be crazy. But there he was talking about the joy he was now having following his dream.
Who was he? To this day I cannot be sure. I think my mind was just processing the idea and I did not recall much else. If I had to guess I would suggest that it was Dale Elliott (that great South African artist who was an attorney once). This seems likely and I have certainly been inspired by Dale Elliott’s story.
Looking back is always instructive as patterns begin to emerge. There were so many small yet important markers along the way. Is it a coincidence that I purchased one of Dale’s prints as a young attorney and then many years later visited his studio and there was the same print framed prominently in front of me? Not to mention how so many other events fell into place leading to where I am today effectively living the same idea I heard over twenty years ago. Was it “attraction” or karma or just the natural development of things.
I am not a fatalist, but I do believe that what we decide upon is not always a rational conscious state of mind. It is our true selves that makes the decision and we find ourselves on a certain path. Whatever it is I am grateful.