My name is Steve and I have the best job in the world – teaching at an art school. Most parents think it’s important for their children to study math and languages, but believe me, art is no less vital for your little one to grow into an intelligent, versatile person with a sensitive soul. When I see my students express their innermost thoughts, aspirations and feelings in color and shape, I feel like I’m getting to really know them. You can live just a door away from a person, meet them at work every day and talk to them on coffee breaks, but you’ll never see the underside of their mind as openly and brightly as in a piece of art produced by them, be it a breathtaking painting or just a paper sculpture they unconsciously folded during a staff meeting. So don’t underestimate the power of art and encourage your kids to try their hand at it!
Unfortunately, my job doesn’t leave me too many opportunities for traveling. I can’t and I won’t leave my charges for too long in somebody else’s custody – imagining that bloated Mrs. Edmundson yelling at Andrew Miller for overturning his paints again and making Tess Austin paint flowers she’s allergic too keeps me returning to school like a boomerang 🙂 Besides, my salary isn’t that, emm, travel-friendly. But when I do get out into the outer world, I catch up big time! Last year, me and my wife Jessica loaded off our noisy son Max to his loving grandma and hopped on a plane to Paris. It was like a dream! A flashback to our honeymoon 🙂 Only better, cause that one was in California 🙂 Here is an incomplete list of what we did:
- Went on a boat cruise down the Seine. Sadly, the wonderful photos we took sank to the river bottom together with our camera. It’s not just Andrew Miller who constantly drops things!
- Visited the Louvre and Notre-Dame de Paris. Well, as an art teacher, I couldn’t ignore it, could I?
- Kissed on the Eiffel Tower. But that’s pretty much what everyone does in Paris.
- Choked on a croissant and were symbolically rescued by a doctor who happened to dine in the cafe. Thank God it was me, not my wife, cause the doctor was pretty handsome and I would be jealous to see his arms around her even if it was for her life’s sake.
- Sang together with street musicians for money 🙂 Yes, that night we were quite drunk. But we did earn a few franks to catch a taxi to the hotel.
Better than photos
However, even despite losing our entire photo archive in the cold waters of Paris, we did return with something to show to New Yorkers! It was a painting of Paris we fetched in one of the art shops. As it turned out, that was a replica of the original canvas by Leonid Afremov, a modern artist whose cityscapes can take you to any city of the world. After a bit of googling, I found the ‘Paris at Night’ painting we bought here. Even though it was just a reproduction, I was immediately stunned by its vibrant colors and amazing atmosphere. It was so evocative of our trip! The artist painted the scenery very brightly, despite the night hour. Just look at the Eiffel Tower, it’s glowing like a giant incandescent candle! And the sky is full of colorful strokes like fireworks! I’ve seen many famous paintings of Paris at night, but so far this one is my favorite. What else can I say, I’m looking forward to visiting Paris once again and buying another painting by Leonid Afremov! Or maybe a few 🙂
I’ve got plenty of souvenirs and fancy stuff at home given to me by my students. I guess their accumulating number means I’m good with kids 🙂 My wife grumbles that they take too much space, but I can’t bear myself to throw any of them away. Each item goes with a face and a story. Some of these kids still attend my classes, some don’t. Some of them are hanging in the neighborhood and I keep seeing them day after day, some are long out of town. I remember one really bright fellow, Richie Nikes, who came to our school three years ago. He was some sort of an autist, but not exactly a sociopathic one otherwise he would have studied at home. Surely, he had trouble socializing. Other kids kept aloof from him, so he spent most of the time alone, pulling a brush across the canvas somewhere in the corner and murmuring something to himself. But you should have seen the pictures he was painting! They were unusual, striking and… mature. The guy had a subtle style, even though he most likely didn’t realize it. I showed one of his works to our principal once and he thought it was from a recent exhibition 🙂 Too bad his family moved and I never saw him again. To be honest, I thought he didn’t even give much notice to my presence in the class. But, quite unexpectedly, I received a farewell gift from him – this mug https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXUOHZE/ref=strm_fun_nad_8_2. I stumbled upon it later on Amazon. Not sure whether it was his own idea or his parents’, but I thought it was very much like him. I still toy with it in the morning while drinking coffee 🙂 Godspeed, Richie Nikes!