Pen and Ink Drawings by Mississippi Delta artist Joe Moorman
I do my art late at night when everyone else is asleep, when the phone is not ringing, when no one else can rob me of my time. I always feel like I am getting away with something that the whole damn world has tried to prevent. Art is an act of social deviance for me, and I think I understand why:
When I was in the second grade back in the Mississippi Delta, I began getting into trouble at school. Although I did well on tests, it frustrated my teacher that I was always drawing and didn’t participate in class. I remember endless friction in the classroom over my drawing, and eventually there were meetings with my mother. What may have been a minor issue in most homes became the source of high drama for me for several reasons. Firstly, no one back then had heard of Asperger’s Syndrome (a mild from of Autism) or understood behavioral problems as anything other than a discipline issue. Secondly, the public schools of my small town were perceived as failing due to white flight after desegregation, and my parents were spending money they didn’t have to send me to the new private school.
I remember the anger in my father’s voice and promising that I would stop drawing at school. As it turned out, I had to make this promise several times that year because the problem kept happening over and over. I couldn’t seem to stop drawing. It was one of the few activities that I enjoyed at school, and it was strongly discouraged by my teachers.