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15 minutes with Gary Wells, Ada HS art teacher

He'd like to have lunch with Adam Duritz, the lead singer of the Counting Crows

Interviewed by Amelia Alexander
Gary Wells is one of my favorite teachers. The best part of my day during sophomore year was often our banter while I was working on my art. When I tried to think of the most interesting person to interview, Mr. Wells came to mind. 

Icon: “How would you define art?”

Mr. Wells:  My college professor asked us this question so of course we were like “well why don’t you define art!” Anyways, my favorite artist has a piece called Where Do We Come from? What Are We? Where Are We Going? Inspired by that, my professor said that art should answer two important questions: “Who am I and why am I here?” So that’s how I also answer that question.

Icon: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Mr Wells:  (laughs) I wanted to be a cowboy, probably. When I was growing up I had like 4 channels, one of which played a lot of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies.

Icon: What are your summer plans?

Mr Wells: Getting a new metal roof, which will probably encompass all of my time and money this summer. (laughs) 

Icon: What was the last movie or TV show that made you cry?

Mr. Wells: Moneyball (is shocked when I said that I had never seen it.) You have to watch it now! Any sports movie makes me cry for some reason! I always have to leave the room or cover up.

Icon: What is the funniest thing a student has ever said during your class?

Mr. Wells: Well, a former student, Bailey Bowers, actually filled out a small sketchbook full of funny quotes that she had overheard over the four years she spent in my classroom. My favorite that I can remember is, “I feel so grown up, I drove myself to the pediatrician!” I think it may have been your sister, Olivia Alexander, that said that! 

Icon: If you could have lunch with anybody in the world, who would you choose?

Mr. Wells: (thinks and laughs) “You’re going to think it’s stupid. I would choose Adam Duritz, the lead singer of the Counting Crows.” 

Icon: What’s your favorite book?   

Mr. Wells: (thinks for a long while) “Hmm. I really like Catcher in the Rye. I actually read that when I was in the military. I was on like a 24-hour fire watch. That’s the only book I’ve read in less than 24 hours.”

Icon: What’s your best advice?”

Mr. Well: (laughs) The first thing that comes to mind is, don’t burn bridges with people, especially in a small town. You might need their help later. It’s hard to be nice to people especially when they’ve hurt your kids, but in a place like Ada, you kind of have to be nice because you’re going to have to see them again.

Icon: Are you a morning person or a night person? 

Mr. Wells:  I’m a morning person. I’m always the first one awake in my house. I like waking up to a quiet house.

Icon: “Did you play any sports in high school?”

Mr Wells: (sigh)  Yeah cross country. I was so bad that it took me until my junior year to earn a letter in it. My best time was just under 21 minutes.

Icon: Who is your favorite artist?

Mr. Wells: Paul Guagian. He abandoned his family to travel to Tahiti, so he kinda was a bad person, but his artwork is incredible. He was close with Van Gogh and they lived together for a little while. His well-known work was the stuff he did in Tahiti. 

Icon: Who is your favorite Alexander?

Mr Wells: (laughs does not hesitate) Shelleigh.