“I’ve always wanted to be a cartoonist. I started drawing on my parents’ living room walls. Then I went on through school, drawing in the margins on my test papers hoping to make teachers laugh to get extra credit.”

Those were the beginnings of longtime Daily News-Record cartoonist John Rose. An exhibit opened Friday at Arts Council of the Valley’s Smith House Galleries to celebrate a milestone of the popular comic strip Rose has drawn since 2001 — “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith,” according to a DN-R article Saturday.

Anyone who has ever had a passion can probably relate to Rose’s childhood story of doing what you love however you could — even if it meant getting in trouble for drawing on the walls.

It’s always inspiring to hear a story of someone who found a love for something — whether it be art in any form, technology or helping people — at a young age and followed their dreams into adulthood. It’s something we all probably hope for ourselves or at least our children.

Sometimes though, life doesn’t pan out the way we think it will as children. This can be especially true depending on what your passion is. Some of us who gravitated toward more artistic paths were probably told that we “needed a real job” and we “wouldn’t make any money” pursuing art — whatever our preferred medium may have been.

So often we adjust and adapt our dreams to fit the mold of a “real job.” Sometimes we feel we have to abandon those artistic passions altogether or simply assign them as hobbies. Other times, we get a chance to pursue a version of our passion that provides a steady income or set of benefits.

Having to do that doesn’t make you any less of an artist. If you have a passion and can continue to feed it and express yourself creatively, that is what matters. And with continued expressions and a lot of hard work, those childhood aspirations can be reached one way or another.

Sometimes we have to make a decision to go down a different path for awhile, and other times we have to put it all on the line to pursue our passions. One’s path as an artist can be varied, but genuine as long as we never lose sight of why we love what we love, and never forget those beginnings — like drawing on the walls.

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