Eating Crayons, Creating Masterpieces

March 24, 2016


When I was 5 years old, I grabbed some small, colorful, dry-soil-like dust, and put it in my mouth. It tasted worse than durian fruit. Apologies to anyone who likes durian but I really hate it. What I put in my mouth was crayon. Please don’t ask me why I ate it, because I also asked myself the same question. However, I believe that this event was the motivation for getting interested in art. Because after that happened, I started to draw on every wall that I could reach with crayons. I remember that I also drew on my dog; he once had to get a new haircut.

I really loved to draw or paint. I would draw stupid monsters with 10 eyes, 3 noses, and 5 mouths, and some weird human beings that had 11 arms and one big eye on the back, but nothing on the face. I think that counted as a monster, but it was human for me at the time. However, that joy of drawing ended in my middle school year.

My mom and I got serious about my major when I went up to middle school. She suggested I try various things like music, dance, sports, or something else except studying, because when my mom saw my first grade scores, she knew that I had zero talent for academics. Thanks mom.

I tried music, like drums, guitar, or singing, but I gave up because I liked hanging out with my friends more than playing music. Dance? Nope. Not with this body. Athlete? I liked to play sports, but not in serious way. So at last, what I chose was art.

I started to attend art academy. And what they asked me to do first was to fill out A3-sized paper, which is twice as big as normal paper, in vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines to make me draw straight lines as if using a ruler. While I was drawing about 100 lines, I started to wonder why I selected art. I just liked to doodle, not draw straight lines. I felt, this was insane.

And things got worse when I got to 9th grade, and decided to go to art high school in Korea. I started to prepare for the drawing and painting exams for school.  I had to draw 10 hours a day for half a year. And even though I got into art school, I couldn’t feel excited about the school. Because what they wanted was for me to learn how to draw perfectly, without meaning inside - just like a drawing “machine”.

So I decided to move out: to the United States, to Shattuck, to find what I really wanted to draw. And as I expected, this place helped me to find what I really wanted. And helped me enjoy art again. I especially want to thank Mr. Walker who mostly helped me to get from machine to human artist.

Lastly, thanks mom, for helping me out to find what I really wanted, for not forcing me to study, and for sending me here to follow my dream.

- Hee Rim Ahn ’16

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