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"My Midwest, working-class parents had a son who loved to draw, and did their best to encourage my interest from what little they knew or what little experience they had with art. Much of what I saw was religious art: Bible story books, church missals, and the church calendar that arrived each Christmas with dramatically painted illustrations that followed the readings of the coming church year. Or by special request, they would sometimes pull the only art history volume that our family owned down from off its bookshelf perch next to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and if I sat up and back on the sofa and let the book carefully rest across my legs, as if they had handed me a newborn to hold, I could peruse its pages for as long as I liked, which was often hours.... Thus, before I could read, I developed three of my greatest loves, all mingled together, and imbued with the power of each: art, religion, and big naked men. My five-year-old brain did not separate these three loves, but rather saw them as inhabiting one very enticing world, a foreign world to which I had the keys in my Crayon box." continue reading...