Art School

The short answer to the question, "why was I chased by a mob?" is simple. It's because I made art that people didn't like.

Why did I do this?

I think the answer starts with my youth.

For instance, as a kid I never dreamed about being an artist. I mean, why bother? The countless stories about starving artists are enough to put anyone off. So when I started university, I was practical and studied political science.

But then one day, a friend showed me a book filled with the paintings of Salvador Dali. Immediately, I was amazed by his imagery. However, what was even more amazing was his wealth. He certainly wasn’t starving.

And the more I looked at his art, the more I believed that if Dali could earn a living as an artist, then I could too. So the next day I bought some art supplies and started to draw.

I soon became obsessed. In fact, I became so obsessed that I lost interest in political science and seriously thought about studying art. But I didn’t, because I was still haunted by the stories of starving artists. So I compromised and studied the psychology of art. I figured that if I failed to earn a living as an artist, I could always be a psychologist.

By the way, I never took formal drawing lessons. I taught myself how to draw by spending countless hours copying cartoon characters from newspapers, MAD magazine and underground comix. Eventually I submitted some of my own original drawings to my university student newspaper. One of those drawings, entitled Show Business, was printed in the University of Victoria Martlet in 1973.

PICTURE: Rick Gibson 1973 original drawing in University of Victoria, Martlet student newspaper, entitled - Show Business

The closest I ever came to formal art studies was an interdisciplinary course taught by the artists John Dobereiner, Don Harvey, Pat Martin-Bates, and Roland Brenner. From them, I learned that anything could be used to make art.

I also volunteered at Canada's first art therapy clinic which was founded by Kathleen Collis. My role was to hand out art supplies to long-term psychiatric patients at the start of art therapy sessions. During these sessions, patients painted pictures or made sculptures. The sessions ended with each patient describing how their artistic creation represented their mood or personality. From this clinic, I learned that art could illustrate personal experiences.

I finished my formal education in 1974 with a degree in Psychology. Then I moved to Vancouver, Canada to get an informal education.