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Creating a career with art

His message is simple and constant.

Everyone can be creative and artistic.

Bill Buchner, a commercial graphics illustrator, volunteered to teach art to Hillside Elementary School sixth-graders and they were ready to take the journey.

The Cottage Grove resident is getting a chance to do what he thought of doing when he began his graphics career as a young man. Buchner once wanted to be a teacher.

One of his art projects involved students making a mosaic with magazine photos. The second step was to cut a circle from the mosaic and make mobiles, which are hanging in the classrooms.

In addition to art, students had to learn about fulcrums and the mathematics of balance.

"You can use creativity no matter what you do," Buchner said. "The creative process is not apart from everyday no matter what you are doing."

To bring his message home to students, he stresses what they learn contributes to their creativity, including science and history.

It is important to dream, he told Amy Albertson's class last week, adding that making a dream come true requires a lot of work.

His lesson included "doodling," and what can happen by just starting with an idea. "It starts with one thing and then it mushrooms," Buchner said.

He reminded students not to doodle at inappropriate times, such as when they need to pay attention to their teachers.

Buchner said he always liked to draw.

"I knew at an early age that it was a talent not everybody had," he said.

In fourth grade, he could see his teacher was struggling with drawing a three-dimensional cube. He asked and was given permission to finish it for her.

"She was grateful," he added.

His father taught him to draw, Buchner said. He was an innovative carpenter who used trusses in building houses during the 1940s, long before they became a common element in construction.

Buchner felt he was not good at math until a teacher told him that if he considered himself an artist, he was already a mathematician.

He currently has a full-time business that he runs from his home office, working for small businesses, manufacturers and non-profit organizations.

What might have spurred him on to keep making art and establishing a successful career was a comment made by an art teacher.

"I was told I didn't have any talent," Buchner said. "I thank that teacher, in a way, because it made me want to prove I could do it."

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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