Gary Golio

Children's Book Author
&
Visual Artist

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Gary Golio came to Earth many years ago disguised as a baby human. At an early age, he demonstrated unusual powers (like the ability to capture spiders with his bare hands), and began searching for his mission in life. As a boy, he created all sorts of electronic gadgets to deliver shocks and disrupt TV sets, and spent a lot of time imitating his favorite comic book superheroes--Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Dr. Strange--before realizing that he was meant to be an artist.

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My father was the first artist I knew, and he had been making art since childhood. Watching him sit down with a large sketchbook in his lap, it seemed to me like he could draw almost anything. Once, as if coming to life right under his hand, there slowly appeared an image of an American Indian on horseback. Where did that come from, I wondered--and how could I do something like that?

I had a wonderful teacher in 5th grade. She was very kind, and encouraged me to write my first stories--The Adventures of Flubbergirl--for Show & Tell. At about the same time, my father brought home some comic books for me to read, and those stories changed my life. From then on, I wanted to be a superhero (who doesn't?), so I began inventing costumes for myself, along with all sorts of electronic devices (wireless transmitters and remote control units) that I could use to capture and subdue criminals. Fortunately, no bank robbers ever crossed my path....

When I was also about ten, I saw a movie on TV called Lust for Life (with the actor Kirk Douglas), about the great Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. In the movie, they showed many of Vincent's paintings. When I went back to school on Monday morning, I was shocked to find books in the library with those same pictures. It felt like I knew those paintings and understood Vincent's life, so from then on I started looking more and more at art books. Only later did I decide that being an artist was a lot like being a superhero: you possessed amazing powers, everybody thought you were cool, and you could even make people happy by creating beautiful and exciting things for them to look at (visual art), to read (books), and to listen to (music).

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Secret Identity
The author, at ten years old, in his guise of mild-mannered reporter.

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A Little Philosophy...

Being an artist, more than anything, takes time and love: you have to love what you're doing, and you have to invest the time to get good at it. It's like putting coins in a piggy bank every day--you don't get rich right away, but after a few months or years, there's something to show (Desire + Practice = Accomplishment). The reason I always enjoyed reading about the lives of artists (like Vincent van Gogh) was because I wanted to know how to become an artist, and how other people had done it. By writing books about great artists (musicians, songwriters, painters, actors), I've tried to lay out some maps for young people interested in the arts, and to show how the arts can make for a richer life.

After graduating from a university arts program, I made my living for many years as a fine artist, selling my landscape paintings and working in museums. Later on, I went back to school for a Master's degree in social work, and have since served as a therapist for children and teens with addiction problems. Young people mean a great deal to me, and their well-being is essential to our future. As a child, I was much like Jimi, relying upon my imagination to survive and grow, and the arts were my lifeline, as they were his. My wife, Susanna Reich, is also an artist: an author of many award-winning books (susannareich.com), she has been an inspiration to me. Our daughter, Laurel, has found her own place in the arts, as a fine art photographer and documentarian (laurelgolio.com, wearetheyouth.org). As for our cat Chloe, she likes drawing birds and looking through catnip catalogues, which she does while listening to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart on her iPod Shuffle.
 

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