The only parameters for the show were that we had to use the paper provided to us by the gallery owner, Grace. Everyone had to work on the same size paper 11 x14 inches. Other than that, you could do whatever you wanted.
Originally, Grady wanted to do a watercolor collage, inspired by another Kitty Hawk featured artist, Lindsay Stripling, but quickly grew tired of his creation and lost interest in his vision. When that happens, I always encourage him to just MOVE ON. In that move on spirit, and inspired by an Australian artist we both discovered on Instagram, Nicole Law, he came up with a Plan B! He decided to calculate the number of days from the opening of the TWO HUNDRED SHOW until he turned 18 years old. He figured out how many days from January 8, 2016 until his 18th birthday and came up with 1,936 days. He worked out how many rows + lines would be required and drew out his foundation for the piece.
Then he proceeded to make approximately 95 tick marks in each row, with 12 red tick marks within the piece to symbolize his current age of 12 years old.
1,936 marks later and the piece was complete. We often talk about how we like art that is perfectly imperfect + I think both of our pieces definitely channel that wabi-sabi philosophy.
We both collaborated on the above piece, with Grady's beautiful words (previously dictated to me back in 2008 when he was five years old) and my watercolor + hand-lettering of his "Home" poem for the show. I almost backed out of this show, but Grady would have none of it. He said if I didn't submit something, he wasn't going to submit anything.
Nicely played, young man, nicely played.
I like the symbolism of both pieces as they relate to imperfections, the passage of time and the fact that we both were trying to capture a fleeting moment. I'm not sure if Grady would let me write down his words and share them as a poem today, right now, in all of his tween-dom. The marching on of time is present in both; the tick marks + the ripple effects of the bleeding watercolors. The five year old that uttered "I feel like a home that walks" is now the true manifestation of his earlier words. As a seventh grader, he is safe, secure, loved + content. He embodies that poem and it touches me to the core knowing that he knew he was loved + had an incredible amount of security at such a young age. It's every parent's wish, right? It also serves as a reminder to me of just how smart kids are. Listen to them. They have such clarity + wisdom + honesty to offer the world. They have so much to teach us.
If you are interested in either of these pieces, please visit Kitty Hawk's online gallery here to purchase or, better yet, pop by their lovingly curated gallery + see the work in person. Thank you for supporting a small local gallery + friendly artists (who are, by all calculations, getting older by the minute).