Drawn to a Gift


What I wrote in haste on Facebook – a little over a week ago – didn’t do justice to his talent. There were twenty words, followed by a three word tag line: “Do your gift”. The artwork I received from Trent sits on a shelf nine feet behind where I now sit quietly typing away on my desktop. My virtual canvas is eerily opposite, in all aspects, from this comically amusing predator – otherwise known as a “Verbose Vulture”. I am currently in a dreary, rainy outside December’s day basement office, not in my car during a sunny day as I was nine days ago enjoying this beautiful sketch from a delightful soul.

It was a very gratifying mail moment at the post office when I saw my order arrived. Only a few weeks earlier, I watched Trent turn lines and curves into magical, mythical, black and white, two-dimensional walk-abouts on paper. These creatures with normal heads and normal bodies, but disconnected connections, lived once in the imaginations of Trent’s fans. Into little strips of paper these requests were made: rabbit head on a squirrel’s body, perhaps an elephant holding a balloon while standing on a mouse? Sometimes, simple, wonderful trampoline animals that started his bounce toward international fame. I would estimate thousands of requested combinations filtered through Trent’s talented brain, into a sharpie, then onto a blank, small paper canvas by the time I visited his site.

On the website, I found an amazing world of creativity. His expansive works aren’t contained to just a bucket of one-minute sketch requests from fans. I enjoyed perusing over his “Motley Menagerie” and “View of the Zoo” coloring books that not only would fill in the lines of some cool animals, but also could color your world with some fun and enjoyment as well.

There was apparel for sale on-line confirming a life of “Different not Less”, “No Limits”, and “Drawn to be Different” as a way to say, “You know what? I’m me … and that’s ok”. Not such a bad thing to be reminded that we are all remarkably unique. One-of-a kind. Special.

https://drawingsbytrent.com/ as he is formally known. I would like to call him, instead, a friend with the sharpies. He is someone who is drawn to a gift.

This is what I see when glancing back at that vulture over my shoulder. He sits beside a few sketches I’ve had in the family for a while. Some looking back at me I’ve dabbled in myself – and others from a very talented nephew who has significantly outdrawn his uncle. Silently off to my left at the moment, however, is my piano. I challenge my nephew to a duel – anytime. His pens and pencils against my Chopin and we’ll see who wins.

It would be a cackle to the finish because both he and I would understand what Trent recognizes. If you are doing your gift – regardless who is around – that gift returns a joy multi-fold back to you. The bonus is an aura given off to everyone else who may happen to be around … be it right by your side, or through cables, airwaves, or wires miles away. I saw this in Trent’s smile that very first time his pen melted into the paper.

I know that feeling. I know that feeling when one finger softens into a key to start a Mozart Fantasia or Chopin Nocturne. I know the joy of producing something out of nothing. Hearing, or seeing an idea come to life – from nothing, something – is, well, fantastic.

I read Trent’s story. It is unique and different from mine … and yours, perhaps. Of course, it is. He is autistic. If you have a chance, click on the above link. I love the words they wrote: ” … (We) want to encourage families to help their children achieve their full potential, educate communities on the important role individuals of all skill and ability levels play, and inspire everyone to discover and use their own talents.”

Honestly, all I needed to do is cut and paste that quote. Thirty-seven words of theirs almost said everything I wanted to say here. Almost.

That quote is missing what pegged my heart from the very beginning.

I sat here and asked myself, what could be the exact expression to park my feelings in the perfect space where Trent’s art first appeared prior to that sunny day? What words best describe his gift that drew me in to his world before I ever opened the package?

Revisiting the site, I found their words … their phrase: “THE EMOTION IN HIS ART IS UNMISTAKABLE.”

There it was … all in CAPS. Perfect.

It was Trent’s happiness and joy in doing his gift. Pulling me in was just the simple act of a twenty-four year old man with autism drawing fun-loving fantasticals with a sharpie marker, requested slivers of paper, small paper canvases, a desk, and abounding cheerfulness. No more complicated than that.

Looking closer at the picture above, I see the eyes of my friendly vulture looking directly at me. He’s smiling. He sees in me what I need to re-acknowledge in myself. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder to recognize some gifts in my life and enjoy the experience of them in my life.

This is solely an extension – a halo effect, if you will – from Trent. I extend the same to you. Live your gift. Do your gift. Your emotion in what you do will be unmistakable and, perhaps, twenty words will be enough to describe your fantastic journey and influence on someone else’s life.

For me, twenty wasn’t for Trent. I had to do more. His story was too important not to share. We need reminders. We need “Verbose Vultures” looking over our shoulders – even during dreary December days.