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November 30, 2014

Where Did Art Start For You? - Lee Edward Fodi, Author and Illustrator

In the days leading up to GivingTuesday on December 2, 2014, we are sharing stories from artists in the ArtStarts community. We asked them, "Where did art start for you?" It's a question that asks us to reflect on our own lives in order to see where along our journey our passion for the arts was sparked.

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday is a movement for giving and volunteering that takes place this year on December 2, 2014. Taking place each year right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday is proof that the holiday season can be about both giving and giving back. GivingTuesday is the perfect time for the world to come together and show how powerful humanity can be when we unite to give on one day.


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Read author and illustrator Lee Edward Fodi's story below and share your own story at

Where did art start for you?

As someone who spends a lot of time presenting and reading in schools, I am asked this question a lot.

In some ways, I wish there was one moment of epiphany, where I decided I wanted to be a writer. The truth is that I think I just always was one. My mother tells me that I was telling stories with pictures as soon as I was old enough to pick up a crayon.

Another truth is that there was dearth of the arts in my childhood. Growing up in a small, rural farming community, I did not have access to art galleries, performances, or other artistic presentations. Thankfully, I had books, and these were what I escaped into. When I was doing chores, and couldn’t be reading, I had to rely on someone else to entertain me—and that someone ended up being myself. Whether I was picking cherries or cleaning the chicken coop, I would disappear into my daydreams and tell myself stories.

Turning those stories into books became a natural part of the process. When my chores were done, and my homework, too, I could really dive into my own worlds and take myself on adventure. I wrote many "books" as a child.

I can't tell you exactly when I wrote my first book, but the earliest one that has survived is one I wrote when I was five of six. It's called The Farm 7720. I can’t tell you why it’s called that, but that’s part of the charm. Equally charming is the fact that I scribbled out half the chapters; surely, I must have had an ambitious plan to write an epic chapter novel, got half way through, then decided I was done!

Many things have changed since I’ve become a "professional" author: my process, my daily routine (no more chickens!), and my location (which means I consume a lot more art than when I was a kid). The one thing that has not changed is my passion for storytelling.

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