Thirty stone stories. One at a time.
In a crowd I wonder about the people who surround me. Is that laughing couple making fun of someone or have they just heard a good joke? Do those children belong to someone in the crowd or are they lost and looking for a home? Does that woman look angry because of a sagging mouth or is she is disgusted by what she sees? What is their inner dialog? What would it sound like?
In high school a friend and I used to go to O'hare airport (when it was legal to go to the departure gates without a ticket). We would sit and watch the travelers and make up stories about their lives and destinations. This one was a spy going to Poland, that one was a starlet on her way to Hollywood, those two just learned that their uncle had left them a fortune. We always added a sense of drama to the mundane.
People dressed up to get on planes in those days. No one had wheels on their luggage so there was a lot of lugging going on. Grim determination was mixed with anticipatory grins for the adventure before them. It wasn't difficult to imagine legends behind their gait.
Last year I spent a week at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It was an opportunity to refocus my inner dialog. I collected rocks, hiked every day, watched the sun set into water and imagined the stories behind the people on the beaches. The rocks I collected had holes in them. They reminded me of faces. I thought of them as silent witnesses to the human drama that surrounded them.
Now I am assembling my own crowd using these inanimate objects to build an animation. Each square has its own story. Thirty-five of them — because the whole is almost my height and I can reach both sides to hold the edges.
Every day I wait for the sun to pass over my east facing studio window to cast light on my work. Cloudy days remind me to take stock and go inward.
Today is a light gray day. I'd say its about 30% dark out there. Or, you could think of it as 70% light. Days like today give the studio a neutral background, devoid of hot spots and tremors. Days like today let me focus on sound, and smell. Inner thoughts and resting.
What bird collects little pieces of junk? Bowerbird? Magpie? Crow? I need to google it. We have a lot in common. This studio is replete with little alters to trash and treasure. I've been collecting rocks since I was old enough to have pockets. Watching children animate legos, sticks, and, yes, rocks to tell their stories inspires me to take a look around and wonder who's talking to who. Do those trembling leaves need reassurance? Did that leaning tree really want to nuzzle up to her neighbor? Using raw canvas I have started a series of rock faces that animate my environment. They remind me of cartoon panels. The textural background adds an environment to the imagined communication.