Saturday, February 25, 2012

Uncommon Talent - the Gift of Gabe Vasquez

Gabe Vasquez does not comprehend how uncommonly talented he is. I believe he knows he's talented, but I don't think he understands how his particular brand of talent is extremely rare - at least in Iowa and, really, most other parts of the world.

While Gabe is a college student by day, he is an artist all the time, for it isn't possible to abandon artistic abilities, either willingly or on a whim. An artist is who a person is, not what he or she creates.
Gabe is an artist; his muse speaks through graffiti art. Gabe can see an image in his mind and then spray a spectrum of hues on a wall to bring his vision to life. Vivid, vibrant, intense, captivating.

I had heard of Gabe before but did not meet him until tonight. I listened as he told about coming from El Paso to Waldorf College as a business major and how - after a few semesters - he realized he needed to change majors. I heard him acknowledge that painting is his passion, and I sensed that he is never happier than when he has a can of spray paint in his can, bringing a small, rough sketch to life in super-sized proportions.

A wrestler, Gabe is familiar with the struggle of pinning a human to a mat. The give and take of those matches is shaped by pairing competitors of similar weight. However, when facing an unadorned wall that awaits transformation, Gabe's struggle is his alone. The give and take occurs inside himself. Only he can bring forth what is held in his mind. Only he can chose the colors and then wave strokes of brilliance into patterns, effectively pinning paint to the wall.

I hope Gabe doesn't end up in a career directly tied to any major he receives at college. After he earns his degree, I hope Gabe finds a way to follow his passion - to create art with the capacity to transform lives. If that's what happens, his college days will have been well spent.

Thanks, Mark Newcom, for teaching in a way that makes this kind of learning possible. I learned a lot tonight. I can only imagine the other lessons happening along the way.

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