That morning, I was still sure that Kentuck would be full of creeps and weirdos. Mr. Dickson had told us in class that some of the artists travel around for a living, trying to sell their art at different festivals. I just assumed these artists were homeless and living out of their cars. Or maybe just lonely creeps that might crack at any moment. I pictured male artists as grimy old men, and female artists with wild hair and dirty clothes. Somewhat, my thoughts were relevant to the dream that I had the night before: my class was in the middle-of-nowhere, and these crummy-looking dirty people were talking about their art. But there wasn’t much of that at Kentuck.
There might be people like that at Kentuck . . . but none of the artists I met did or said anything creepy. I was surprised, but at the same time, I wasn’t. The artists at Kentuck— well, some of the artists at Kentuck were well-groomed and friendly. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed how fun it really was. All of the artists that I chose had really chill and cool personalities. They all sparked my interest for art, but I can’t draw, nor paint, nor sculpt—I barely even know how to make two parallel lines! I gave that up a while back, and now I just sit and admire from a far.
There were so many artists and so much different art I was mesmerized by it. I bought a glass magnet made by a glass artist, Chris McCarthy (located in booth H-01). Cost me five dollars, and I mean, it does look amazing! It looks like it has ends of yellow balloons inside of it.
I asked McCarthy, “What made you want to do glass art?”
His answer was just as simple. “I always felt it in here [pointed to his heart] to make stuff. It’s just one of those things. And plus I like to play with fire, and the glass gets to about 2,000 degrees when I’m making it and, uh, I just like to burn stuff.”
He was really a cool person and very easy to have a conversation with. I enjoyed talking to him. I found it funny that he treated us students like we bought one of his more expensive glass vases or something like that. He got my money, and he wrapped up my little magnet up in a bunch of plastic bubble wrap.
Now, Robbie Mueller, in booth F-08 . . . hands down the funniest artist ever! He is a retired teacher, who dabbles in mixed media art professionally. He has a piece called “WallE T. Swellbow” (Wallie T. Swellbow) a skateboard with no wheels. Here is the catch: the name of it is what made it so clever. A wallie is a skateboard trick, and a swellbow (swollen elbow) is what you get if you mess the trick up. Another piece that looked really peculiar was a Mardi Gras mask, but it was the biggest Mardi Gras mask I had ever seen! The mask had a giant hand-rolled cigarette hanging from its mouth and big full dreads on the head. Mueller said that it was inspired by Bob Marley and by his own daughter, who is really into both Mardi Gras and Marley.
Mueller asked, “Do you know who Bob Marley is?”
I was surprised at such a question. “Of course, I love his music!”
Then I met this guy, William MacGavin III in booth G-06, a professional woodworker and a student at the University of Alabama. He had to have been my favorite artist. Whenever he spoke, whatever he was saying caught my attention. MacGavin was showing off his didgeridoos. Some had vibrant, soft, but subtle colors. Others were more of a brown color, some lighter and some darker. Now, the only time I had ever seen a didgeridoo was on an episode of SpongeBob. Hearing MacGavin speak on what a didgeridoo does was just absolutely mind-blowing! I asked what his didgeridoos were made from.
He told me, “I make them out of yucca flowers, agave flowers, and various hard wood trees. A big part of my art is sustainability. The instruments that I make I do not cut while they are alive. I only find dead instruments that have been felt by a storm, a fire, general deforestation, or natural death of a plant and from them I will harvest the wood that I need. And then I would go through the process of making a didgeridoo.”
My buddy and I had to have gone by his booth at least three times. The third and final time, he let us play the digeridoo. I was skeptical about playing it, but he reassured me that he had cleaned it. It was hands-down my favorite moment at Kentuck.
William MacGavin told me the most inspiring thing at the end of our brief interview. “Something I would like to see in everybody is passion, no matter if it’s in the didgeridoo, if it’s in creative writing, if it’s in photography, engineering, anything I would just like people to develop their curiosity and be passionate about it.”
After speaking with him, I was happy to know more about a didgeridoo than what SpongeBob showed me.
I loved my Kentuck experience, from the time I stepped foot in my motel room the afternoon before until the time I stepped foot into Mr. Smith’s wondrous vehicle to go home. I wouldn’t change one second. Now, I’m looking forward to going back next year and meeting some new artists.