Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Engineer and the Artist

My bike got a flat tire, so this morning I took the bus to work.  While waiting at the bus stop, this elderly man started talking to me.  He was waiting for a tow truck.  At first, I was slightly annoyed because I was all set to do some writing while I waited, but the more I listened to this man speak and tell his stories, the more I realized…writing can wait, I need to just listen to this dude.  So I listened.

At first, the man seemed very ordinary.  He talked about how he studied engineering in college, how at first he worked for big companies, but soon realized he wanted to be his own boss.  So he started an engineering company, designing mostly machinery for factories.  He sold his first two companies and now owns a third.
Then he talked about a man he knew from Chicago, who moved to LA to try to make it as an actor.  The man worked as a carpenter with Howard (the engineer) and ultimately got his big break in the movie American Graffiti.  Then he landed a major role in a science fiction movie called Star Wars.  It was Harrison Ford!  Over the years, Howard has remained friends with Harrison, whom he described as “a pretty boring guy.”

I have no idea why this man was telling me his stories, but I was captivated.  I’ve learned, in life, that sometimes you just need to stop and listen.
I told Howard about how I’m an English teacher and that I own an art gallery in town.  Then he started telling me about the art he does, in his spare time.  Because of his engineering background, Howard enjoys technical drawing, so he makes schematic drawings of cars, motors, and machines, programs them into his computer, and then engraves them onto prepared sheets of steel.  I said I’d be very interested in seeing his work, and I told him about my friend Pete Magoski, who is also an engineer, and whose schematic drawings of planes and spacecraft deserve to be exhibited.  They are a fascinating marriage of art and science.

As my bus arrived, Howard gave me his card, and as I rolled away, I was totally inspired.  I want to curate an art show about the marriage of art and science, featuring the work of Howard and Pete.  When I arrived at work, there was a song stuck in my head… “Today was a good day…”

My friend Pete Magoski, standing by the Endeavour Space Shuttle.  Photo by Michael Magoski.

1 comment:

  1. Great story. Let's see Howard's work on display soon.