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Dr. Tim O'Brien ~ !

MAY 16, 2013
I knew if I wore a tie I would amount to something!

I fondly remember my parents buying me magic markers and large spiral pads.  I would open to a white page and feel an excitement and an anxiety.  A white page was and still is, akin to turning on a television.  I might happen upon a thrilling program, one I had not planned on seeing, or I find it a frustrating waste of time.  Many of my old pads from my youth have an attempted portrait, violently scribbled over and then the page is turned.  I wanted to be able to draw what was in my head but would have that vision run right into my limitations.  I kept at it, and soon I found ways to get what was in my head down onto paper. 
This drawing was something I always did.  I drew in classes, during math class, english, social studies, French and science. 
From my earliest memories of nursery school, I remember being singled out as a young artist.  When you're young and people tell you that you are something, I have to think it is such a relief.  I have watched other people I know work so hard to find out what they are.  I grew up knowing.  Perhaps of all the things I feel fortunate about it is this gift of knowing.
I've been an illustrator for 25 years.  It's been a thrill to be able to do this so long and still find it exciting and challenging and that I can still approach it as a hungry young artist.
The other part of my artist life has been as an educator.  For 23 years I've been teaching and find it to continually anchor me to the struggle of young people, to the magic of being with talents and finally to hear my thoughts and philosophy come out of my mouth.  I hear my ideas changing and evolving in a way I had not expected.  Teaching gave me a life long connection to being a student, something I hope I never lose.
It was with this mindset that I approached a daunting task; to prepare to give a commencement address on May 18th 2013 at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Lyme Connecticut.  This will be my third such address, the first two being at my alma mater, Paier College of Art.  This time I am not only older but certainly wiser and even more humble.  A good life is my goal, way beyond a good career.  The career affords me a life, and I attend to it thoughtfully and carfefully for that reason.  The art of living is harder.  The white paper is out in front of me, so to speak.  I have many pages turned with scribbles on them; attempts at something that I couldn't see clearly in my head or get right.  I feel that only now am I able to get down 'on paper' the life that is in my head.
On May 18th 2013,  I am  receiving an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree.
This is something that I never could even imagine and I really so thrilled.
Dr. O'Brien? 
A heartfelt thanks to Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, president Scott Colley, interim dean Sally Seaman the the board of trustees and faculty for this honor.
This is during my Motherwell stage. 1969.

A lifelong attempt at taming the curls. Fail.

Someone gave me an ink pen with a quill and I loved how solid the ink flowed. I also loved monsters. I think I was 8 here.

There was an ice storm in 1974 in Connecticut. I did this imagined movie poster of a huge blizzard and with a type treatment of the time...SNOW.

My humor at work in 1975. I loved Jaws and liked to imagine this happened while it was being filmed.

A deficiency notice from my senior year of High School. "Draws during his entire class" I'm not that proud of this, but I do wish I could tell him that it was going to be alright in the end.

College boy on a mission.

Dr. Timothy O'Brien, 2013. ;-)

From a section of my commencement address...
"Very few artists can boast of smooth sailing from apprenticeship to self sufficiency.  Most must travel like Columbus, across the ocean, moving forward on rickety ships on uncharted seas heading to India only to instead land somewhere in North America.  Sometimes mistakes make all the difference."