The Taste of Others

Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, opus 1749, acrylic on paper

Q: What did others say during the time you were showing interest in both Mathematics and art?

ReeL: They’d say, “Oh, so you’re going to be an architect?”

Q: Architect?

ReeL: yes, I guess that is the only thing they could think of that used both. Or some sort of design engineer, industrial design or something like that.

Q: Did you consider any of that?

ReeL: No. Never. Me? the guy who hates to make things?   Architecture, industrial design and engineers are

the ultimate thing-makers.

Besides my father was an engineer, so I knew enough of what that would be like to be very clear that I was not going anywhere near that.  To his great disappointment I should say.

Q: Was your father OK with you being an artist?

ReeL: No, Not really. He never confronted me directly on it, he knew not to do that. But as we got older, he let me know very clearly what he really thought, which wasn’t much.

Q: But both your mother and step-mother were artists. Painters, in fact.

ReeL: Oh, for him it was always OK for women to do art.   He had paintings on his walls:  but it was all  part of interior decorating to him which was a woman’s world.  Sort of an old-school macho sexism.

He let me know very clearly that he was not pleased by the direction I took.

Q: Never a reconciliation later in life?

ReeL: No, definitely not.

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