Niko Draws a Feeling

Everywhere Niko, a budding artist, looks, he sees something that calls out to be drawn. "It might be a mother bird building her nest. Or the low autumn sun peeking out from behind a cloud. Or the ice cream truck ring-a-linging down the street." Inspired, he draws and draws. But when he shows his pictures--fantastic, abstract scribbles of line and color and shape--to other people, they just don't get it. "What is it?" they ask. "It doesn't look like the ice cream truck." Niko explains: "It's not the ice cream truck.... It's the ring-a-ling." They ask, "Where's the bell?" Patiently, Niko repeats: "It's not the bell. It's the ring-a-ling." Discouraged, Niko seems ready to retreat into himself when he meets the new girl next door, who turns out to be a kindred spirit, one who experiences his art, rather than trying to pigeonhole it.

The creative process is clearly near and dear to the hearts of Bob Raczka (Fall Mixed Up; Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems) and Simone Shin (If I Could Drive, Mama). In Niko Draws a Feeling, Raczka provides possibly the best description of artistic inspiration ever: "[I]t felt like a window opening in his brain. An idea would flit through the open window like a butterfly, flutter down to his stomach, then along his arm and fingers to his pencils, where it would escape onto his paper in a whirlwind of color." Shin's mixed-media, digital and acrylic artwork wonderfully captures the passion and poignance of a misunderstood artist. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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