This photo was from my first art competition, 1971, Our Lady of The Assumption School, first grade, Miss Smith's class, (ahhh, Miss Smith! My first true love! How smitten I was! But I digress...) My entry was entitled “The Straw House,” and as you can see from the blue ribbon, it took first.
Sure you may well look at that and say, “Wow! That sucks!” but it was, after all, done by a six-year-old, (You say you’ve got a six-year-old who has done better art work? Fine. Post a picture of THEIR first prize ribbon!) and there was also an abstract element that didn’t quite carry over into the photo. The picture was outlined in drinking straws, and then painted in. So clever, (again, I'm talking "six-year-old clever.") Compare it to some of the visible competing entries for an idea in its appeal; it was different. Not technically superior, but it stood out. (And that always gets attention.) I’m not saying it was better than my classmates’ more, uh, "free-form" efforts, (but, of course, the judges did!) but it was my first blue ribbon piece of artwork. More importantly, though, it taught me early on that different was as good as better.
My mother took this photo of it, those thirty-eight, (or so,) years ago, all proud of her little boy’s achievement, and I store it now, here, in My Virtual Attic.