Several months ago, I noticed my son was getting into drawing maps. I have also shared this affinity since I was very young. What fascinated me most were the paths and the things you could see along the way. They evoke a fantasy of incredible journeys in the imagination.
I thought deeply about including this affinity within my work, but honestly, it didn't seem to fit. It wasn't until I decided to drop the expectations that others have of me that I discovered an answer in the pages of the notes I kept on my great-grandfather.
Ray, my great-grandfather, was an active and hardworking man who never stopped moving. I see Ray as a sure and robust individual, skilled in habitually solving-problems. Perhaps the rugged and complex sculptural landscape of Ferron Utah's canyonlands nourished a soul, inspired to cut, scrape, shape, and piece together structures and puzzles, like the supreme architects of the chopped buttes: water and gravity.
As a carpenter, he enjoyed building things of wood. One of the more memorable objects he made was a wooden ball puzzle.
He enjoyed puzzles and mazes. I remember many of them in his home, some handmade and some not. For example, we competed with family members to get a ring off a horseshoe and chain loop. The kids enjoyed a marble run called Labyrinth by Swedish company BRIO. I also remember playing Screwball Scramble on his living room floor.
After reading my notes and considering those memories' impact on me, I designed a map-like maze.
My kids, nieces, and nephews were fascinated by the gags woven amongst the paths. They were challenged and shocked by the puzzle. Finally, I realized this was all I ever wanted. I wanted kids to wonder at my art, puzzle over it, and explore it.
I am grateful for the inspiration from my ancestors because I feel it also comes from within.