The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC is not the place you would expect to find a chubby 9 year old boy on a Saturday morning, or any morning for that matter. Yet there I was, hands in pockets staring at a Rembrandt with a bewildered look on my face. Now you would think that something as plain and low-tech as a 16th century painting would not possess the power to enchant the mind of a 9 year old, but you would be wrong. I was completely stuck on this paining. It was if the walls of the frame were blocking my eyes from leaving. My brother walked up behind me and quietly mumbled “yah, I don’t like the stuff either. I just want to get out of here”. However, that was not the reason behind my puzzled expression. It was actually quite the opposite. I liked the painting very much, I just did not know why. I mean, it was just blobs of paint. It lacked color and uniformity. So why do I find it interesting?
During the drive home I carefully crafted the question I wanted to ask my mother. My mother was an amazing woman and an exceptional artist. Passed down from my grandfather, my mother was just born with a gift. Unfortunately she never took the time to pursue her talent but she did dabble in it off and on when I was growing up.
Avoiding the risk of ridicule from my two older brothers I waited until we walked in the house before asking my mother. We all shuffled in the door and my brothers bolted to the TV. This was my time to finally free my mental paralysis. So with a confident stance and confused expression I unleashed my complex, expertly crafted question. “Mom, why do paintings make people look at them?” Well my question was not as expertly crafted as I thought, but it was good enough to provoke an explanation. I will never forget what my mother told me. She simply turned to me and seed; “a painting, photograph, or sculpture is just visual poetry that speaks to your heart and soul. There are beautiful things in life that are insignificant to others and are gone in a flash. Artists like you and me have the ability to see the world in a different light. We can show people these unseen everyday treasures. That is our purpose…That is why we are here”
My name is Scott Anderson Franks and I am a graphic artist.