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Detritus (part 3)

September 12, 2008

My dive into my grade school years concludes with some bits-n-pieces of stuff from high school…

Tony D’s business card, 1986

Exhibit H: I really did have a business card in high school. And I really did want to be an illustrator. But I wasn’t one. Hey, a kid can dream…you never know what might happen.

Tony D’s high school ID

Exhibit I: my senior school ID. I went without glasses for a couple of years so I could “blend in”. I also practiced a crooked smile in the mirror ala Harrison Ford and Bruce Willis. It didn’t make me any cooler.

STUART NEWS Newspaper article with a teenaged, mula-winning Tony D

Exhibit J: By my senior year, I was entering all sorts of art competitions. Sometimes I’d place, sometimes I’d get overlooked and get nothing. This portrait of Pat Benatar won me some scholarship money. I loved drawing portraits of the rock-n-rollers back then as music was an integral part of my teenage life…and still is today.

This antique is called a record

Exhibit K: Speaking of Rock-n-Roll, I’ve spoken about the impact of beautifully designed and packaged albums before. And, though this was over 10 years old by the time I graduated in high school, this tri-fold presentation of Elton John’s 1974 classic, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, was just awesome. You had typeset lyrics matched with hand-rendered imagery.

Look! Its like a 12″ book of rock!

With my record player and headphones, I was lost in Elt’s falsetto harmonies and Ian Beck’s and David Larkham’s cool illustrations. Both of artists, of course, went on to illustrate popular children’s books.

authentic Mixed tape, 1988

Exhibit L: This time period in my life would not be complete without showing this – the liner card to a mixed-tape from my high school girlfriend. Though I haven’t talked her in years and years, people like her that came in and out of my life certainly help mold and prepare me for the next chapter in my story.

Old Tony with Polaroid of teen-age Tony

Like the art contests that I didn’t win, my failed relationships (I feel) toughened my skin and strengthened my resolve on that winding journey to success and happiness.

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.