• Chester B Simpson

"The Mad Marker Strikes Again"

Updated: Apr 17

How I came to love art and the trouble it got me into.


Growing up I always knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to draw, paint and be an artist.


When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I started to draw on the programs they gave us at church, which we attended with my mom every Sunday morning. The services were very long and boring for a little kid, so I would take the program and draw on every unprinted space.


My Mom liked my drawings and encouraged me to continue creating art. One day she decided to give me my first sketch pad, so I could keep all my drawings in one place. I took my sketch pad to church and school, getting great pleasure from being able to create my own little world.


One day, I got very sick and had to be taken out of school, having to be homebound taught. I couldn’t go outside and play with any of the other kids because they might get what I had. What I had was a kidney disease Nephritis, thus I was confined to the upstairs of our house so my sister and brother wouldn’t catch it. About twice a week, my mom took me to the children’s clinic where the nurses would draw my blood, analyze it and inject me with some medicine. I hated those injections cause sometimes the nurse would miss my vein causing a lot of pain. I’d ask my mom, who was a nurse, to inject me with the medicine and that would make me feel better.


This went on for 3 months and I was getting better in the spring, so my mom allowed me to go outside and play by myself for 15 minutes. She’d call me when it was time to come in.


I wanted to play as long as I could, so I climbed the cherry tree, which was filled with cherries, and I hid high up in the tree drawing on my sketch pad. She called and called, causing my dad to come out and tell me to, “get back in the house now!” I knew better than to mess with my ex-marine father.


Just three days later, I was back in school, playing with all my friends and drawing when I could.


When I got to high school, I took all the art classes that I could. I also ended up winning several art competitions.


One day when I was 15, I was playing football on the field behind our house. I got tackled by two of my friends while I had the ball and I heard my leg break. My dad had to carry me home and I ended up having to get a cast and walk with crutches.


Due to the cast, my parents had to drive me to school an hour before my classes started. I would draw during that time, then attend my classes as usual. In my final week on crutches, I had a black magic marker so all my friends could sign my cast.


I then got the bright idea to become a graffiti artist. On those mornings before the other students arrived, I used the black magic marker and wrote on the walls and water fountains.


I would always tag with, “The Mad Marker Strikes” or “ The Mad Marker Strikes Again” accompanied by a simple drawing.


I got my cast off but continued to share my drawings and graffiti in various locations around the school.


This went on for two to three weeks and the Mad Marker got written up in the school newspaper. Everyone wondered who was doing this to the school.


I made a mistake by telling a friend, who ratted me out to the principal. I was called into the office and confessed, which got me a three-day suspension.

My parents were not happy one bit. After those three days, they had to get off from work and have a meeting with the principal, just to get me back in school.

They let me back in and I went to my first class that day, which was working in the projection club, doing lights for plays, and delivering slides and movie projectors to the classes that needed them.


One of the club members had a porno movie and wanted to watch it in the projection room, so we started the movie and lit up some cigarettes. At that moment, the football coach walked in. He marched us straight to the principal’s office, where I had just been an hour before. He gave us a three-day suspension...


I had to show the suspension papers to my parents when they got home from work, and they were not at all happy.


I continued to do my art but decided it was best to keep it on paper and canvas from that point on.


Check out photographs by the artist: Rock-n-roll Photography

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