CARLISLE — Mike Gavazzi has created some kind of art for as long as he can remember, but he eventually found himself with an education at Penn State University and a 17-year career as a U.S. history teacher at Carlisle High School.
“I shifted into doing that whole go-to psychology thing,” he said. “I went and got my master’s degree first, still not knowing what I was going to do. And then I decided I wanted to teach — I did everything kind of backwards — and then I went and got my teaching certificate.”
When he was at school, he found that he didn’t really fit in with the art world at Penn State, so he decided not to pursue a degree in art from the school. But now that he has been a teacher for so long, Gavazzi said he thinks he is ready to try to do more with his art skills
The Chambersburg resident said after his children asked him why he hadn’t done anything with his artwork, he decided to give it a shot. Gavazzi is working on a graphic novel that he plans to publish himself.
Before his children convinced him to really go for it, Gavazzi said he had sold a couple of pieces to people, but nothing really major.
“It was kind of my kids who got me started on it, because we would always draw,” he said. “And then my kids, after a while, they were like, ‘Dad, why don’t you do this for a living?’ And so finally, one day, it was just like, ‘Why don’t I do something like this?’”
Gavazzi said he didn’t know what he was really interested in doing at first, but he wanted to put a project together. He said since he started the book in 2012, he can look back and see his development as an artist.
“I just said, ‘I’m just going to do this,’” Gavazzi said. “I just started with page one. I look back at that page, and I’m like, ‘What was I even thinking?’ I had no idea what I was doing. And anybody will tell you ... you can look at someone’s work, if they’ve done it over (a period of time) and you can see how they’ve progressed.”
Since Gavazzi has a full-time job as a teacher, he spends a lot of his time working on his novel at night, which makes for some long days. He said the time he has put into is incalculable.
His book is a classic good versus evil story with a twist using physics and energy to explain the plot. Because it hasn’t been published yet, Gavazzi is keeping as much of his project under wraps so he can to avoid someone stealing his ideas. But the book focuses on spirituality and free will.
Gavazzi was asked to be a part of the school’s first Sci-Fi Saturday on May 17, which has been one of the bigger motivators for him to finish the graphic novel.
Gavazzi said some of the most challenging parts of trying to break into the art world have been deciding where his work fits, figuring out the best project for his skills and getting the focus and determination down to get the work done in a timely fashion.
In the future, Gavazzi said he hopes he will be able to write more than this one graphic novel.
“I’m hoping there’s enough readers of the book, that it will allow me to continue on with the story to do my second book,” he said. “I mean, that’s my goal, like I would be happy if there’s enough people to be like ‘We want more, we want a second book.’ And then I could be like, ‘OK, I’m going to do this.’”
Contact Mike Gavazzi online at www.michaelpaulgavazzi.com and on Twitter @mikegavazzi.