We all start somewhere…

and where the journey takes us, who really knows in the end, until we get there, right? I hope my journey lasts until the day I die.

One of my favorite quotes, which happens to be from one of my favorite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, is: “Not all those who wander are lost;” from his poem “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter” in The Fellowship of the Ring.

It struck home with me, mostly because it sums up how I’ve felt on my artistic and creative journey so far. Sure, I’m not in line to be crowned King or Queen of anything, but I do feel that at times I wander, but then in those wanderings I learn something new, meet a new mentor, become inspired, and then feel as though I should inspire others as I ‘wander’ on to the next stage of things.

I found this sketch while going through some old files, and it made me step back and look at where I’ve been, what I’ve learned, and where I’m going. This is from 1993, and most likely done while waiting for the afternoon clients to come into the animal hospital where I worked at to pick up their ‘fur kids’. The afternoons when the Dr. was out were pretty slow, and I was efficient at getting everything done that needed to be done (ordering, cleaning, baths/grooming, more cleaning) so I could doodle away after lunch. Why did I keep this one sketch? Who knows… ok well most likely because I’ve always lusted after a half-ton shortbed, but hey…

This is where I started. These were the days I’d gaze dreamily at the artwork of Dave “Big” Deal, Thom Taylor, Steve Stanford, Chip Foose, and Kenny Youngblood. It was a couple years out of high school for me, and I was just getting into mini trucking and ‘that crowd’ at the time, which took me well out of my comfort zone of Manhattan Beach and that great barrier that is Sepulveda Blvd. Heck some of the guys in my club and the others we’d hang out with in San Pedro and Carson called me ‘Kelly’, because my hair was über blonde, and I resembled that actress from 90210, much to my chagrin. It didn’t help that my Dad had a red BMW 325i convertible at the time (which is not a good mid-life-crisis vehicle for anyone over 6′ tall and 200lbs, by the way, he was like an Ed Roth monster in that thing!).

But where did all this ‘Car Girl-ness’ come from? I’d had pretty much zero ‘car’ upbringing by my parents, other than the fact that my Dad said he’d always wanted a Merc like James Dean drove  in “Rebel Without a Cause”. He’s a structural engineer, genius-level IQ not very mechanical, but great at showing a 10 year old girl how to sink a 16-penny nail with two strikes of a framing hammer (yes, I could do that!). My Mom is a closet artist who could sketch up Lady Godiva on her horse, covered in roses, while chatting away in Finglish (Finnish and English) to my ‘Mummu’ on the phone, pretty much an insta-masterpiece in my eyes. Maybe it was the melding of the engineeryness of Dad and Mom’s artsyness that combined in me – drawing cars. At least that’s what I tell myself.

As I grew older, met more people ‘in the industry’ – including my ex-husband, Jeff Biane, who was project coordinator of the once-mighty Bell Tech and who built some of the baddest magazine trucks for them back in the day – my journey became ‘me’. I finally realized what I was meant to do, even if it meant working a ‘regular’ job and then drawing until 1am. Soon technology came into my life, with the purchase of my first Mac G3, and then Illustrator and Photoshop, and the learning curve that went with those… leading me to my first ‘real’ design job at Mattel, as a temp with the Hot Wheels Collectibles division.

Since then I’ve learned all kinds of new things, met all kinds of people, expanded my design ‘horizons’ well beyond where I thought possible (even into semi-engineery stuff like learning CSS/HTML) and even was blessed with the ultimate creation – two daughters, which make the best of my artwork pale in comparison. (however it is a blast to be your daughter’s very own ‘coloring book’).

In 2011 I plan on continuing my journey, using my acquired talents and trying out some new ones. My main goal (as I hate the term ‘resolution’) is to create as much as possible, even if it just means squeezing in a sketch while feeding my voracious little Victoria Jean. I will keep wandering, but as long as I’m using my abilities to their best, I will never feel lost.

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