05/04/21: Sy Novak

Today I met a Mrs. Sy Novak. She’s an artist who is commissioned for graphic design projects. Things like logos, brochures, I’m sure the occasional mural. She lives down a long road on Vashon Island and has a wonderful art studio that sits above a garage. The garage is separated from the house by a small stone path, and they are both a light blue color, visible from the driveway. There was a log stump split in half on the right side of the driveway: a bike was lodged between the two halves and a skeleton was riding the bike. She has a silver cat who’s name I did not learn and a husband who’s face I barely saw (as he came outside halfway through our conversation and remained silent.) Sy explained to me that one weekend her husband and her visited the island and fell in love with it. I think I’m also in love with it, and I’ve set a long term goal to own a house there someday. There are a lot of older artists on the island, and most of the houses I see are 40+ years old. I’ve met many wonderful people there, and seen many wonderful things peeking through windows waiting for signatures or sitting outside on doorsteps. There people are on the tail end of what I want to be. Sy and I discussed the perfection of the island’s location: very rural, but half an hour from both Tacoma and Seattle. If you don’t need to leave the island, it’s very rural and there is very little traffic on the main highway that runs from north to south. Leaving the island is a 20-minute ride on a ferry that runs hourly: the southern ferry leads to point defiance and is a 5 minute drive from Ruston, and the north end ferry runs to Southworth and Fauntleroy (I have never been on this one, so I am unsure is it alternates or if there are two ferries.)

I want to contact Sy in hopes that she would let me tour her studio or interview her for a show I make up or maybe just to hang out. She’s the only person I’ve delivered to that I want to see again. Most people are nice enough, but don’t do a great job of catching my eye. She had this air of “crazy” about her, as if she saw things I didn’t. Her manner was calm, but excitable at the chance to interact with a stranger who I assume she thought was interesting. She complimented my nail polish and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I spent $8 on it at Safeway.

When I meet women like her that I look up to, sometimes I fantasize about what my life would have been like if they raised me. If I was raised by this woman I imagine I would be much more creative than I am now, and more talented too. I didn’t get any of my creativity from my parents, Serenity and depression did a great job of kickstarting it though. My mother was a shopper and my father is a builder, bless their hearts they didn’t know what to do with me. I think one time my dad bought me a “drawing manga for dummies” book when I was around 10, but I never picked it up. I wish I had, as I now have no knowledge on human proportion and not the slightest clue how to draw hands or a face. I will learn these things eventually, but I’m doing other things right now. Recently I’ve been embroidering. I like to embroider because I get to create drawings that can be worn. So far the only thing I’ve attached my drawings to is my battle pants. They are my armor and they make me feel better anywhere I go. I’ve put lots of time into them, and even though most of the art is simple, I’m proud of them. I still haven’t made a patch coat, so I think that’s my next project. At some point I’d like to be able to wear my resume, or at the very least I’d like to be seen as more than your standard pedestrian in passing.

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