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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Reflections of An Artist at Large


I displayed an artistic talent at an early age. I first experimented in dirty diapers and mashed potatoes. As I grew older, I moved up to crayons on drywall and markers on flesh. This met with harsh reviews from the critics ("No! Not on the walls!", You do NOT color your sister") and many hours of painting in my room, or on my room, depending on how you saw it. I saw it as a way to give my Jackson Five poster a "Salvador Dali" feel to it, Mom and Dad saw it as my journey into "non-conformity"... Unshaken by these minor setbacks, I continued my artistic development venturing into coloring books. At this stage I began to dabble in art theory.

Dad: "Very nice, Bridget. But bunnies aren't orange and fire trucks aren't purple."

Me: "Bunnies don't wear jackets and fire trucks don't have faces either!"

Contempt for Dad. More painting on room or in room. Who'd have thought I'd need a lawyer at this age? Upon entering grade school, I took up pencil. I would draw everything from horses to trees to houses to cars. You name it, I'd draw it. I'd even draw cartoon characters, like Snoopy, Magilla Gorilla, Popeye and Underdog, while watching television. This continued through, middle school into high school, where I discovered drafting. At the time, I thought this was the coolest thing, drawing odd-shaped objects from every angle. I began to ponder becoming an architect. I wanted to learn exciting, inspiring concepts and design important buildings! Hey, I just might become the next Frank LLoyd Wright. My high school drafting teacher, Mr. Harper, saw this plan quite differently than I did... He was rather "linear" by nature...

Mr. Harper: "Miss Petrella, you have a very exciting, inspiring concept for a motel... with a bright brass fire pole and a Star Trek Captain's bridge design that, as far as I can tell, has never been attempted by mortal men. You were to supposed to design a two-bedroom house."

Okay, so maybe architecture wasn't exactly my "thing". Besides, there were too many little annoyances like building codes and those nagging laws of physics. I still wanted to do something deep within the art world, so, I headed to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and The University of Pittsburgh. As an "art school student of doom"-- I spent the next 5 years commuting past cows, cornfields, and barns while religiously studying illustration, watercolor, cartooning, graphic design, painting, markers, watercolors, oils. I knew this is where my talent could be nurtured and brought to the forefront. That is, until the COLOSSAL portfolio review... just before my last semester.

Professor: "Bridget, do you see this cow?"

Me: "Yes."

Professor: "Well, with the exception of your 'study on Norwegian dogs with braided nose hairs'-- it is indeed a bit of a plunge into madness, however, it isn't EXACTLY the 'marketing madness' we were hoping for with this assignment. Tell me, what does an Indonesian cow with no karma on a retreat in Nepal have to do with dairy farmers selling milk?"

Hmmm. What was he trying to say? Okay, just another insignificant speed bump on my journey. I simply turned it all into surrealist cartoon sketches, quickly done the night before, snagged my degree, graduated with honors and began to explore this world of marketing and public relations a bit more closely. It certainly wasn't "spiritual"...

Copyright © 2005 Bridget Petrella Media Relations

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