Solo Jester, Oil on Canvas, 36x48, Summer 2006
This portrait is of a student named Evan when he was 11 or 12. On the first day I met him, he was entering my class and did not know anyone. Most of the other students had known each other from previous classes or at school. He was new to the group. He was witty and shy. There was a costume rack in the corner of the classroom from which he picked up a jester hat and put it on his head. He caped himself in a red gown and sat, tilting his head down, provoking a solemn look on his face. He is now about 4 years older and still taking classes from me, also having now entered public school instead of being home schooled. He is the same witty character, but is nowhere near as shy. His take on the world is different from most…or perhaps uncomfortably similar to others’, and he wears It on his sleeve. He expresses his outlook openly and frankly, and his wit has the same frankness. It’s something that gets lost as life goes on, when we get told that there are ways to be and not to be. Perhaps no one wants to truly admit that they can relate to a sad solo jester, because then we would be admitting that we are stifling ourselves and have succumbed to being something we were told we should be instead of someone we had aspired to be all on our own. And at 11, this kid already seemed to know the game.