“One of Matt Daigle’s earliest drawings at age 5”

Howdy my friends,

I wanted to share my wonderful experience past weekend… I was invited to attend as a motivational speaker at a summer camp program for deaf and hard of hearing students who are in transitioning from high school to college. I had so much fun. After my presentation I presented a cartooning workshop. I taught the how to develop cartoon animal characters from basic shapes. I guided them step by step until I could see their confidence growing. I am sure this is the very first time these student had any such workshop given to them. Cartooning is a unique art form and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share with these students my passion. They quickly realized that cartooning is fun and it is for that reason I love to do it. It makes me laugh. Plain and simple.

I learned that there are many deaf students who have not been exposed to deaf role models and their work. It was an eye opener. Many of them had no clue that there was such a thing as a deaf cartoonist. Many of the students were shocked to find out that someone could pursue such a career. It made me realize that much of our deaf art is not being shown or taught to the new generation or even exposed to our generation. I thought with the ease of the internet that exposure of this kind was happening but I was wrong. There is work to be done.

Upon leaving the event and the students I couldn’t help but ponder deaf culture and our accomplishments. I believe that when one of us succeed, we all succeed. Therefore, I challenge all of you to support your deaf friends and family members in their artistic, business, and athletic endeavors. This generation is responsible for educating the next. It is our job to celebrate one another. Next time you see a deaf artist displaying work, a deaf actor portraying a role, or a deaf athlete performing amazing feats— think to yourself —how I can help them on their journey? Perhaps you can think about buying a ticket to see a deaf play, attending a sporting event that a deaf person is participating in, buying deaf artwork, seek out deaf businesses, or simply tell people every chance you get about deaf people who are expressing themselves in creative ways. I sometimes think we spend far too much time focused on the negative aspects of one another and our culture and spend very little time applauding one another. Let’s break the cycle. Let’s believe in one another. Perhaps with more support successful deaf individuals would be more willing to share with their community. Its all about the cycle of give and take. If deaf individuals have to struggle on their own or even feel sabotaged by their own community how is it that we can stand with our hands out wanting them to give back to us once they have succeeded? Something to ponder.

Anyway, I hope you see my whole point about students from the summer camp program being not exposed to what our generations accomplishments. So in the spirit of gratitude and sharing I want to thank my fellow deaf cartoonists, Adrean Clark, Shawn Richardson, and Dan McClintok just to name a few. A big hand wave to all of you pioneers. Forging this road of artistic expression is less lonely with you around. Thanks for your support and of course, for making me laugh.

‘Til next time—Matt