As struggling immigrants, my parents could not afford to send us to college. Hence, my siblings and I worked hard to put ourselves through. For me, it meant becoming Valedictorian from highschool so that I could get a scholarship to college, which I did. My hard work and good grades enabled me to attend the prestigious Newcomb College of Tulane University (one of the last women's colleges in the country).
Immediately, I was drawn to Newcomb's reputation for its art programs. Coming from a line of creative and passionate women (on my mother's side), I became enthralled with all the art classes, including print making, drawing, sculpting and painting. I adored the arts and spent all of my time in the basement of Newcomb working projects and watching more talented artists at work.
It was sophomore year and it came time to declare my major. Although my parents never came to visit me at my dorm (since they were disappointed that I had chosen not to live at home during college as my other siblings did), they did just this one time. My father and mother, both wearing worried looks, told me that although they realized I liked the arts, as immigrants, we could not afford to follow our dreams, but rather had to dedicate our minds and energy into becoming something that could support ourselves financially. "Do something, become someone, that will enable you to support yourself and your family one day. Becoming an artist is a silly idea, it is not something we can afford to do."
Those harsh words hurt me like nothing else, but I knew them to be true and the reality I needed to face. So that same evening, I went over to the Newcomb Art Building and took all of my finished pieces that I stored downstairs and threw them out in the dumpster behind the blown glass studio. I had made a decision and I needed to put all that silliness behind me. I could not do what I wanted to do in life and throwing my work in the dumpster was my way of committing myself to a new direction in life.
Two years later, I graduated Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Newcomb College with a B.A. in Communication Studies. I received the award for the Most Outstanding Communication Scholar and was invited to attend a special awards reception at the prestigious Newcomb Faculty Lounge which houses the most exquisite collection of Newcomb's art pieces collected through the years. After making my rounds greeting and thanking various professors, I perused the glass displays of beautiful pottery, sculptures and other art pieces. Some of the names on the pieces I recognized as now famous artists and Newcomb graduates such as Mignon Faget. I continued to look at all the displays when two of them (one metal welded sculpture and another a cardboard painted sculpture) caught my eye. They were two of my pieces! I stared at them in disbelief with tears in my eyes and saw that underneath them, each had a card that read "anonymous." Someone must have pulled them out from the dumpster that evening more than two years ago! Even though I had obtained every academic honor there was (which meant that I could now receive a scholarship to attend Tulane Law School -- which I did), I could not be more proud of what I saw behind the glass display. I didn't say a word to anyone, I never went back and don't even know if they are still there on display, but to this day, seeing those two pieces among the elite Newcomb art collection gives me a sense of validation. I may not have followed my dream then. I couldn't. I went on to become a lawyer and became quite good and financially successful at it. But I always went back to the feeling of utter happiness and pride that I felt when I saw those two "anonymous" sculptures in the Newcomb Faculty Lounge.
So now, at 42 years of age, I am finally doing what I have been wanting to do all of those years. I am creating, painting furniture, making my pieces works of art. Yes, I am a lawyer and if need be (and sometimes the financial need is too great), I can go back to practicing law. My parents were right in a way to steer me into a more academic path. I cannot fault them for helping me have a career to fall back on. But it's time for me to let my creative side take over for a while. I've waited a long time for this moment and it's finally here.
For a sample of my work, please visit me at http://www.disegnokarinagentinetta.1stdibs.com/. Most of what you see has been "beautified" by me either by upholstering, painting or just simply adding a touch here and there of my little magic powder.