Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo. Raphael. Rembrandt. Yes, you’ve guessed it . All of these masters are left-handed (doesn’t take a genius, actually). For some reason, “they” say lefties are artistic. Apparently, this has to do with being right-brain dominant. And apparently, the right brain controls one’s artistic faculties. And therefore, a manifestly left-handed person would tend to be artistic. So “they” say. Whoever “they” are.
This kind of stuff is hard to prove. I haven’t tested every single lefty in the world, so I wouldn’t know. I’d tend to go by personal experience. And I have one thing to say.
If left-handed people are artistic, then why do I suck in Art?
I absolutely disliked Art (as in the subject in school, not “a visual object or experience consciously created through an expression of skill or imagination”; hence the capital A) since the day I attended school and had to do it in class. I do (present tense, since I am still in school) pretty decently in school, and whatever (else) I wasn’t good at, I would work at it until I was decent in it. Not Art. My Art was abject misery. I got C’s most of the time, and I believe my Art teachers were being nice. Sometimes I got D’s and F’s. There was an occasional B and only one sad A ever in my Art career.
I remember that A well. It was for potato prints. The poor student, having accepted the mission of producing potato prints for his next Art class, would have to beg his mother for a wretched potato (if not, beg her to go get one from the market), explain to his father why he was cutting it up and colouring it instead of making french fries with it, and convince his frugal grandmother why, having done the potato print, why it was not recommended to cut out the surface that was painted on and use the rest of the potato for french fries. (Teachers, when you assign weird homework, do consider the collateral work/damage/corporal punishment that may result). The result (that is, the one on paper) was fantastic (sarcasm intended). I had cut a shape that resembled an asterisk on the inside of a potato (a noble one, I might add, that had managed to help create art rather than get eaten), splashed some paint on the cut surface, and printed the surface in straight lines across the paper that was to carry my masterpiece.
“Very nice, Chenghan, you got an A this time.” said Mrs Chia. “But you could have improved it by making it more interesting by making half-potato prints on the edges of the paper instead of ending with a full potato print and leaving empty spaces at the edges.” Improve on an A-grade piece of work? That would make it an A+ piece. I wouldn’t dare dream of it.
Rare is memorable. My vivid (I did not cook any of that stuff up, honest! With the exception of the Art teacher’s name, which I think has a 50% chance of being correct) recollection of the events surrounding my only A ever in Art is ample and sufficient evidence that it was my only A ever in Art. That Everest, sadly, was surrounded by Death Valleys everywhere else. Now why was I so bad? I would argue that it was precisely my left-handedness. 2 reasons:
First, I could not cut. (I neglect to say that Art in school was actually Art & Craft. Sorry, Craft, for omitting you.) I always wondered why my scissors always left frayed edges all over, and why they always consistently missed the line it was supposed to cut along. It was a tragedy that I only first encountered a left-hand scissors when I was 15, a year after my last year in which Art was a subject in school. If righties don’t know wtf I’m talking about, I forgive them.
Second, I was taught to draw by right-handed people. And how do right-handed people teach left-handed kids to draw? They use their left-hand to guide their guinea pigs’ left hands. So I inherited my right-handed teachers’ messed (I had meant to be much more rude about it) up left-handed drawing. By some miracle I managed to save my handwriting; not so my drawing. I recall a concerned Mom sending an 8-year-old me to extra drawing class and I had trouble with still life featuring a loaf of bread. Yes, let’s call it as it is. I had trouble drawing a cube-like shape. Ouch.
So in Art & Craft I was never really any good. For me, it was more like Fart & Graft.