I’ve had many conversations about art with many people in my past, but my favorite was my recent conversation with legendary rock star mom, Nel Hoon. Her infamous son, Shannon Hoon, apparently displayed traits of an artist at a very young age, and she was very sweet to share the tale.
Shannon attended elementary school at Linwood School in the 1st and 2nd grade. He had always demonstrated special qualities that set him apart from the other students, but an assignment in 2nd grade would prove to be the first true sign of artistic greatness. The class was given an assignment to draw a picture of their family. They concentrated on drawing these portraits making sure to represent each family member with style, however, almost all were drawn in the ever popular children’s stick figure fashion. All of the families save one were drawn in that way except for the one portrait handed in by the already overly artistic, Shannon.
When Shannon’s teacher looked at the drawing it was definitely not a group of stick figures that she saw. What she saw was a VERY detailed portrait of a family. Not only were the people not stick figures, but they were drawn anatomically correct! Shannon was immediately punished with an old school spanking by the Principal, Mr. Otten, and the teacher immediately called Shannon’s mother into the school. The teacher then met Nel in the principal’s office, and began to relay the already destroyed drawing’s contents to her.
The drawing was anatomically correct as I had mentioned earlier. Nel had to pause to giggle before she continued with the details. “Shannon’s father was drawn as a dimensional figure, not just with a couple sticks, and had all the correct parts including the penis! I was drawn with boobs, a vagina, and even a hairy bush!” Mama Nel said, “Anna and Tim were even drawn that way too!” Nel continued, “That is when I KNEW Shannon was an artist! It really made me mad that they had punished him for such a beautiful thing, and I would give anything to have that drawing today.”
Spending time with Nel has really given me a chance to hear some fascinating stories, and this has definitely been one of my favorites. Sometimes I see myself in some of these stories of Shannon. I look back at my years in school, and my own overly artistic and rambunctious nature and wonder what the heck my teachers thought of me. I remember how weird I was compared to others, and I think about my own parent’s conversations with the teachers and principals, and wonder if they knew the creative direction I was headed. Growing up is definitely a little more challenging when you’re kinda strange. It’s hard to be the artist or the dork, but then I hear stories like these and I know it was all worth it. It’s commonly known that Shannon was a champion for the underdog. He cared for his friends and family fiercely, and protected them whether they were a millionaire or hobo in the gutter. Tales like this one remind me how special he was to us all, and how lucky we all are to have Shannon watching over us from the heavens, while Mama Nel cradles us all here together down on the ground.