I grew up in Paris Texas in a small town where everyone knows everyone. The public school system was not as easy for me as it was for my brother and sister. When I was in 4th grade, my reading and spelling comprehension was below kindergarten level. As I was getting ready to go into the fifth grade, it became clear that the school was not able to accommodate my needs. In Texas, the school district was required by law to have a resource room set aside for students that were struggling in class. In this room, though, the lessons were not adapted. I was being taught the same way that I had been taught for the past four years: a method that did not work for me. In school, I was big on sports and naturally a very sociable guy. My friends would ask “Hey August, how come we didn’t see you in class? I would wave them off and respond “Oh I was pulled out of class.” At the time I was afraid others would judge me about my dyslexia.
After the fifth grade, I was homeschooled until I was ready to go to high school. My mother’s vigorous search for dyslexia-focused schools in Texas was disappointing. The only school that was close to home and seemed like a good match told me that I was too dyslexic and that I would be too much work. One weekend in the sixth grade, my friend Andrew and I played cops and burglars the whole day. When it was time for lunch, his grandmother brought us to a sandwich shop. I remember looking at the chalkboard with white lettering and having difficulty reading the sign. I was too embarrassed to ask my best friend or his grandmother to help me, so I just ended up not eating that day. I remember my tummy growling and thinking why am I so ashamed? It wasn’t easy to be confident when doctors said I wouldn’t make it past high school or that I could never go to college. Since my mother is initially from the northeast, she expanded her search and found The Kildonan School. My family was extremely eager to find out more about the school. I remember thinking how great of a situation it was to see a school that would tailor to my specific needs. Even though the school was everything I hoped for, it would be a financial burden for my family. One day I heard about the CDSF fund and about Jon Litt’s personal story which attracted me to the scholarship. When I was granted the award I was incredibly grateful to be able to relieve my parents and provide them with the financial freedom. Not only was the CDSF fund there for me throughout my high school, Jon was also able to assist with my college boarding. Yes, I ended up proving those doctors wrong and graduated college from a competitive art school in New York City, The Cooper Union. The Kildonan School focused less on what I couldn’t do and instead helped strengthen what I could do. In art, there isn’t any right or wrong way. In the end, The CDSF scholarship fund was there to support me and my dreams. By not having to worry about the financial burden of paying for school, I was able to tune into my art. I went to college and studied art, and today I get to carry out my passion and work for Saks Fifth Avenue and building sets
for Broadway shows.
Growing up with severe dyslexia, I did not have reading or writing as a method for learning or expression. Language, for me, is primarily a verbal and auditory tool; though I can read and write, the contents get lost in the difficulty of the action. When other artists are trying to learn more about their work, they often turn to the written word. When I am trying to learn more about my work, I have to do it with my hands. I have found my own way of learning. I cannot read the world, so I feel it.
My advice from one dyslexic student to another is that there’s more than one way to do something. It’s about finding the way that can make you succeed. I think it’s about figuring out solutions and problems someone said the 2018 model was water is for washing, and it’s the year about Solutions, not problems and figuring out another way. The biggest this is to learn how to ask for help and that in the end, you are
About My Art
My work requires my entire body, not just my hands. The physicalness of my sculptures is re- flected in how I make them and organize them in space. I measure the wood to my own body: my height of six feet, my shoulder span of twenty inches, and the two-and- a-half inches that is the width of my wrist. I want the viewer to have a physical experience next to my sculptures in the way that I do when I’m making them.
My sculptures are intended to be impermanent: they can all be disassembled and the elements— wood, rope, cleats, pulleys, turnbuckles—reworked and repurposed for new pieces. The spaces in which I install my work dictate the way I build: the impermanence reflects the impermanence of the sculpture in the place where it is hung. I secure the ropes with cleat hitches or other tempo- rary binds. Although the rope is crucial to suspending the sculpture, I see it as a way of drawing, a form of two dimensional mark- making that divides the three-dimensional room. The rope parti- tions the space into levels, so that the viewer has to decide how to navigate through the sculpture. The sculpture occupies the room the way a body does. In fact, because the viewer can sometimes move elements of the sculpture, the relationship between the bodies is constantly shifting.