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April 10, 2011 11:26 pm

Did You Say God?

avatar by Ron Agam

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My famous father always repeats this phrase: “man was created in the image of God;” imagine being a child hearing that quite often. In my little mind, my dad was the strongest image – not God, I did not even comprehend what is a God and why would I even think about a subject so obscure and almost ethereal.

Then slowly, with time and some “schooling,” my mind started to develop a narrative and configure a strategy that would enable me to become an “artist”. As a child, I used to spend time every weekend drawing and creating, sitting next  to my father on a table that seemed as long as a railroad track. I was fascinated by this man who would spend hours and days of his life drawing squares and circles and triangles in almost all the colors of the rainbow. In his atelier, there was a monastic-like silence; it was a temple for Art.

My mother would send me to my dad’s “atelier” so that she could have some rest from a very turbulent child, and perhaps also wishing that I’d learn something helpful in my life. I am laughing now remembering how I entered this very fascinating period of my life. I wish she could have been here today and see where I am in life.
I was four or five. He would give me some paper and colors, and here I was becoming an artist. I would spend hours drawing and scribbling not realizing the privilege that I had to be seated next to “God”. I was doing my “gribouillage” with an intensity and passion that was truly unique. No one could stop me, except when I had no more paper to draw on.

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My “artwork” was hung and plastered all over his studio, a sign of a certain achievement; being a little boy, I could not be prouder.
One day a famous collector arrived at his studio, and while opening the door he saw some works taped on the wall. Immediately, he looked at my father and told him: “Agam, I love your new works; these drawings are really great.” Needless to say, I repeated this story to everyone who had ears to listen to me. I was so proud.

I remember playing with Calder at his place in Sachet, he was older than my dad by many years. His stature was very impressive to me; he was very gregarious and friendly, and with big smiles. After the visit to his place, I started to paint big red and yellow circles.
Later on I learned that my father’s studio was also Paul Gauguin’s atelier for a period of his life. If I had known that as a child perhaps my art teacher would have given me an A+ instead of just an A.

And yes, man was created in the image of God. We do not imitate; we are gifted to create and invent.  At 53, I finally found my childhood again.



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