Hello, I made some art about my dad. I actually made it for my niece. I was supposed to see her when Ming and I were in the area, and I was going to hand it to her.
But then her coworker got covid, and she didn’t want to share a germ. So she canceled. Drat. I was going to give her some Murray mints too.
This is how the art came about. I looked in a box of my old papers, and I saw a scrap of yellow paper where I’d taken notes during a conversation with my dad. I was like–wow. My dad is dead and gone, and this info seemed valuable. Who might want to know it?
The only person I could think of who might enjoy knowing all the places my dad ever lived was my niece. She was close to my dad when she was little. Yes, they watched Spongebob together. This was their song.
Wow, I hadn’t heard that in a while. I couldn’t help but dance. But how sad, the loss of that third chance love. Grandparents–what you gonna do.
I had been needing to make art, which makes me know for sure that I’m an artist–I have an art drive. Like sleep, food, sex, social contact. Are those the main drives people usually have? How about you?
The colors are what came to me, the swirl of life. A list of dates and places is clinical, but so many wild experiences are hidden in the list. The unknowable. Pleasure immeasurable, horrific suffering, intense fear, overwhelming beauty, bland boredom, poor choices and brilliant ones. The unsurvivable experiences we manage to survive through, until we don’t.
Because this art had a specific recipient in mind, I didn’t spell out a few things that I would for a general audience. My niece knows where Lompoc is, for example. So I didn’t need to say it’s in California.
My good friend happened to have made art about her dad on the same date. Hers was a thumbtack box that had photos and little things. It was made for a relative also. Strange we were both needed to make dad art on the same day.
Death has been on my mind a lot. Family, what we’re doing as relatives, what’s meaningful, and what we need from one another.
Love to all of us who are still trying, those of us who have given up, those on the other side, and those still here, kickin’.