My Father’s Memorial service is this week. http://www.recordpub.com/news%20local/2014/06/11/services-for-walter-watson-set-saturday It’s also my professor Miroslav Antic’s birthday http://www.stremmelgallery.com/artists/miroslav-antic as well as Father’s Day. I’m fairly overwhelmed by this powerful trifecta and I am grateful that I have had the tremendous gift of having these two wise and creative men as role models. Because of them, I had both unusual an childhood and an unusual education, remarkably and enviably so. They conspired to teach me all that they know about art and life and how to live; a life that has sent scurrying me across three continents trying to learn as much as I can, and yet knowing that I will never be as wise as they. I can only hope that I have ever made them proud. I hang my head, humbled, when I think how far I have to go.
I have written quite a lot about my father before. He taught me that discipline is as crucial for creation as talent. He taught me that dedication and strength and humility are the qualities I need to embrace to be my best self and to make my best work. Like my father I am idealistic and perfectionistic. Like my father I am driven to make things beautiful. His ethics, standards, and values were exemplary and have shaped my entire life.
My father and teacher had a great deal in common. I found (subconsciously) a teacher that enhanced and supported a lot of what I had already learned at home, the continuity that I can only see now astounds me. They were both of Eastern European decent, my Dad second generation Romanian, Miroslav an immigrant from Belgrade. They shared a a fierce work ethic, curiosity about the world, and a love of knowledge. How lucky am I that they passed these ideas on to me. They collectively made sure that I spent a lot time in other countries learning to be a global citizen, and they pushed me to understand and respect classical history and the evolution of artistic thought. Curiously, neither of them grew up with fathers themselves.
They were sophisticated , educated, me; worldly and wise. They did not try to protect me from the world, but instead encouraged me to live fully in it, to explore and make mistakes and mostly, to push myself as hard as possible to be and see and do and read and listen and experience and then respond with courage and authenticity and integrity. They taught me how to live.
This is a brutally difficult week for me,but I feel profoundly, ridiculously privileged to have my life, and I am ever more committed to being worthy of all that these men gave me. Now that my father has died and I have not seen Miroslav for many years, I know it’s up to me to hold myself to the same uncompromising standards that they held me to. I look inward for that strength. This is how we live.