The artist begins his life like the rest of society; that is to say he begins it with an aspiration he does not yet understand. The desire to create is there, but the seeds of consciousness are waiting to be sown. He starts off in an uncommon home to a middle class couple who want their child to excel.
They push the artist from an early age, favouring Plato’s Republic over The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Einstein’s theory of relativity over the theory of how many elves Santa has at his disposal. At this time the artist knows only the will of his parents. He assumes the material he is learning can be said of every child so does not question it.
By the time he begins high school the artist stands on a pedestal above his peers. He is not arrogant, for he possesses a natural humility born from the fragility of the works he is soon to create.
As he is leaving the school grounds he notices a collection of hedges near the back of the art building. They have never held any meaning until now. He is enraptured and carefully runs his fingers along the row, feeling the texture of every leaf, committing the individual quality of each to memory. He maps out their lines against the lines of his palm, fully appreciating the geometry of the row and its perfectly rectangular structure. In this moment his purpose is realised.
The artist informs his parents about his experience with the hedges. They are thrilled he has found a hobby, yet advise him to focus on things of greater importance. The artist, now more aware of his parents’ machinations resolves to find out all he can on perfecting his intended course. He visits a neighbour who has an affinity for horticulture and describes his feelings.
The neighbour listens, goes to his shed and comes back with a pair of shears. He hands them to the artist and directs him towards a worn down looking shrub. The artist grips the bulky shears tentatively, but as soon as he nears the shrub he knows what to do.
In his hands the shears become an extra limb, an arm that has been amputated and suddenly reattached. He injects life through his fingertips as the artist trims the shrub delicately, turning it into something spectacular. By the time he has finished the shrub has taken the form of a man proposing to his bride. The artist inspects his work while the neighbour stands in awe. He recovers and claps the artist on the back, offering him the chance to cut hedges in his garden as much as he likes. A rush of excitement overtakes the artist as he thanks the neighbour for the opportunity.
When he returns home the artist’s parents confront him about where he’s been and he replies he has lived more these past few hours than ever before. They press him further and he explains about the neighbour’s garden and what he accomplished with the shears.
“No son of mine is going to waste his potential trimming hedges for a living!” His father roars.
“Listen to your father, dear.” His mother pleads.
The artist insists he has found his ambition.
“You’re young. You’ll think something else is your calling next week.” His father sighs.
“You should appreciate the education we’ve given you and not squander it.” His mother adds.
The artist rebukes them.
In the early hours of the morning the artist returns to the neighbour’s garden. He finds the shears resting against his masterpiece and takes them in hand. Even in the hazy twilight the artist can see the foliage and the new forms he will craft them into. He starts on a low hanging bush, working his clipping magic. He never loses the diligent gleam in his eye while he creates, the seeds of consciousness growing into pure, undulated talent. The shears are his brush, the greenery his canvas.
As first light breaks across the garden the artist is gone, but his mark is not. A city has been carved overnight. Grand spires rustle in the early breeze and families smile in their creator’s absence. Neither the neighbour nor the artist’s parents will see him again, but they will hear of him.