Actually, the person I am writing about is beautiful, talented, intelligent, has the most generous spirit and the quirkiest sense of humour, so of course when I have moments of self-doubt and stress it makes her just annoying (not really)!
Simone Matias blew into our lives as an au pair. She had signed up with Au pair in America and by some stroke of good fortune ended up being interviewed, liked and employed by our family. Part of the au pair programme was that they came into the country as “exchange students” and thus had to complete 80 hours of approved study in that year (host family paying for the education, of course). On the whole, most foreign students go off to community college and learn English as a second language, in Simone’s case, this was totally unneccessary as her English was good. She planned to go back to Brazil at the end of her year and start a career in journalism, but then fate in the shape of a pencil, paper, and two wacky people stepped in.
The wacky people were Simone and my then 5 year old second daughter. The two of them have very similar odd ball senses of humour, along with fertile imaginations and they soon invented a favourite pastime – drawing strange characters, even stranger inventions and making up the stories to go along with them. Within minutes of seeing Simone’s distinctive and expressive style of “doodling” I was convinced that journalism would be a waste of a life. Here was someone with oodles of talent just waiting to enthrall generations of children with her amazing drawings.
When the time came to discuss where Simone should do her hours of study, the bossy part of me reared its ugly head and I insisted that I would only spend the allocated funds on art school, (which would have made me very annoying) and so Simone sped off to New York city once a week to complete her hours at the Parson’s School of Art.
Back in Brazil, Simone pursued studies in art and illustration and is now a published and successful children’s book illustrator. One look at her website confirms that her amazing eye for unusual compositions, expressive characters and rich application of colour and texture, is enough to make her VERY annoying to those competing for the same book illustration contract, which I thankfully have never had to do.
We love her and miss her, but the good news is that we saved some of those wacky early drawings and maybe someday they will be valuable, either as early Simone Matias originals or to blackmail an important person in the book illustration world… just to be annoying.