For next few years, I’ll be working on a series of abstract animations documenting my father’s life through his spoken word and poetry. The Poems For A Gentle Person project consists of narrative digital artworks inspired by his voice and words. The work translates loss amongst opportunity through a contemporary lens.
The goal is to explore the relationship between poet father as inspiration and daughter as artist. In 1981, I illustrated Mike Balisle’s Poems For A Gentle Person poetry book. The project features digital animations responsive to the content and rhythmic patterns. Minimalistic and abstract lines move and respond to each word.
In 2017, my grandfather, father, and I went on a road-trip from Madison, Wisconsin to Dallas, Texas. We brought my grandfather back to his birthplace of Alikchi, Oklahoma (medicine man in Choctaw). The Forest Heritage Center Museum in Broken Bow showcased The People of the Forest exhibit with photographs documenting local logging history. My grandfather recognized friends and family in the images.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma interviewed my grandfather to document his oral history. The experience changed my drawings into animations, reintroduced my father’s poetry, and inspired the Poems For A Gentle Person project.
The Poems For A Gentle Person project is currently in the research and development stage. The first animation documents my father’s The White Axes of Winter poem. 277 original frames representing 27 seconds.
White Axes of Winter description: My art practice investigates relationships within diverse environments that impact perception and truth. Through an abstracted narrative, the artwork is a virtual documentary of my father’s The White Axes of Winter poem. The animation highlights his life, poetry, and spoken word by translating loss amongst opportunity.
Rereading my father’s words redirected my artistic and professional mission. It’s never to late to take risks, reconnect, build new memories, and dream big. Today is for reconnection and validation.