Lakeville Artist Went From Underdog to Top Dog
Edward J. Barrett can easily be described as a fine artist, gifted sculptor and skilled sign maker. All across the SouthCoast, Barrett’s work can be seen on business vehicles and storefront signs.
Barrett, my brother-in-law, has a story that is inspiring, especially for those who’ve been mistreated by others.
“As a kid in parochial school, I was dyslexic and had ADHD that was sugar-induced," he said. "Back in those days, nobody knew about this stuff, and because I was off the wall and couldn't learn in class, and only did well in art and God, the other kids called me 'retarded' and 'stupid.'”
Barrett was a special needs learner who credits his brother-in-law John Tellier as his first mentor, as well as a teacher who believed in his talents at Ashley School in the third grade.
“The classroom had only six students, and it was there that Miss Davidean helped start me in the right direction," he said.
He shared an interesting story about Miss Davidean.
"I had carved an elephant that I really loved creating, but I lost sight of it until recently. My wife, Evelyn, is taking care of an elderly woman who perked up when she heard the name Barrett. 'I used to have a Barrett in my class. He was such a gifted child. I still have a beautiful elephant he carved over 55 years ago,'” she said.
Eureka! The mystery of the missing elephant was solved.
Barrett went on to graduate from Butera School of Art. Today, he describes his art as being qualitatively on the same level as that at the Smithsonian Museum. His carving of a Great American blue egret in full flight is a masterpiece, worth about $25,000.
Barrett said he still needs to invest another 400 hours before completing a Mongolian war horse that will be worth $50,000 and a tribute to the founders, with a rendition of "We the People" also worth about $25,000.
As for measuring the level of his art, he said, “If they'd agree, I’d like to display my work locally at the beautiful Battleship Cove Museum or the (Heritage Gardens) on the Cape.”
“I consider myself a realistic artist with the idea of creating the least amount of distortion. I have to see something first. Then I can build it," he said.
As a child, he was defamed, but Barrett said he isn’t looking for fame now.
“I really don’t care if I’m recognized publicly, because that’s not my thing, but if I can introduce Jesus to someone who likes my work, then I’m okay with the praise," he said. “Jesus gives me all my talents. Keep Jesus No. 1 and you won’t step into No. 2.”