Randall Enos Profile
posted: November 22, 2006
"I started drawing when I was about eight or nine and I was fascinated with boxers, for some reason. So my first pictures were pictures of boxers. I even had a punching bag in the basement that I would work on. I took a burlap sack and I stuffed it with loose papers and all kinds of stuff and I would punch the devil out of that for days and days. Every time I came home from school, I'd be punching. Anyway, I made pictures of boxers.
"But what really pushed me over the edge was my father became very enamored of a friend of his who had a kid that drew and my father would brag about this kid's pictures, saying, “Oh! He's so wonderful!” and I was so jealous. And then this kid went to this little art school that we had in New Bedford, the Swain School of Design. So, I actually went there for a little while, too. We had pencils with sandpaper blocks and you had to make a nice chiseled point of the pencil, and we had to make perfect parallel lines. They wouldn't let you draw anything else until you made these pages and pages of beautifully graduated tones with a pencil and I just couldn't deal with it. I tried and tried and tried but I finally dropped out.
"There were times when I was so busy in the 60's and the 70's that I never got time to even think about the work because it was just coming in so much. But I'm still plagued by self-doubt quite a bit; most of the time I'm unhappy with what I do. My pictures always bang out at me like a sore thumb when I flip a page and see my own work. I'm sure that if I were someone else and opened the magazine and saw my picture, I wouldn't like it.
"I've always felt that way. That's why I'm not very precious about my work; I keep my work in deplorable condition. I had a big flood one time and it destroyed a lot of work and it didn't even faze me. I throw my linoleum blocks away now; as soon as I finish cutting them, I toss 'em because I can't keep up with the volume of them anymore.
"I think I could get away with more than I do, commercially, because I hold back on myself too much. I can draw a regular cartoon; I can do a Beetle Bailey; I have a lot of experience in that world. But I don’t want to do that. I want to go someplace else. I think my problem is that I was meant to be an abstract painter. I want to do something that's completely personal with me and not lifted from the comic pages. I don’t like it when I make a picture that's too clear and people can see exactly what is going on. As I'm getting older I'm getting more and more abstract which isn’t great for the kind of business I'm in, but it's where I feel like going."