When I meet someone who really enjoys their vocation, I like to ask them when they knew they were interested in that field. More often than not, they will recall a story from their childhood. A friend of mine recalled cooking with his grandma, and knowing that from that time he wanted to be a chef and make people happy with food.
If someone asked me when I knew I wanted do art, I would go back to my childhood. In 2nd grade. I was the 2nd best dinosaur drawer, and in 4th grade I was able to draw the Eifel Tower in person on a family trip to Europe. Through grade school I continued to draw. Later I was able to take some photography classes in high school that I really enjoyed (back then we used darkrooms). Of all the experiences in school art was the most interesting and attractive to me. So naturally, by the time I signed up for college at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, an art major was the only path I wanted for me.
However, it wasn’t until the beginning of my senior year in college that I felt the calling to do art for my lifetime, and possibly for a living. I find this is difficult to convey to someone who has not had an encounter with God. The best way to describe the experience is that I did not have any tricks up my sleeve. I wanted to serve the God I had come to know, with what I had—and all I really had was art. I didn’t feel like I was much good at it either! But with a strong desire and several external confirmations, I jumped into pursuing art with everything I had. After this commitment, I experienced a confirmation in my soul that I could only compare to the experience of making my dad proud of me.
After college, I was encouraged by my professors to pursue a Master’s in Art. I did not pursue more education at that time, though, because I wanted to get out and start living life and making art outside the university walls. Within two years I was married and working in a bronze foundry pouring metal.