Here the process begins again, tapping into more than a likeness, but the life and essence of someone I have never known. As I get to know my subject, “develop a relationship with the deceased”, as a friend once said. I feel very honored to be the artist chosen to capture such a great man.
The other day I met Mr. Sparks’ daughter. I gravitated to her, felt bonded with her. She was real, caring, a grown women who had a part of her daddy in her. Her love of animals, her desire to help others. It is these elements that I see and feel in the living that helps me bond with the deceased.
I just finished watching the memorial video of Mr. Sparks. At first I could get no sound and i searched through the video instead looking for profiles, something that was lacking in the reference material that I was given. Screen shot after screen shot I longed to hear what was being said about the man. I’m interested in his life, his part in history.
I found a button on the computer that gave me sound and watched the entire segment the second time this time with volume. These comments of those who knew and loved the man are as important as the physical reference. They help me to tap into the essence of who he was. One video segment made me smile. I rewound the video, saying “Stop, stop, oh there you are”. The twinkle in the eye, the smile. Let me capture that essence.
Now to transfer this to clay. I’m ever reminded of the little boy in the movie Hook. Who smooshes the grown Peter’s face around until he says, “Oh there you are Peter Pan!” That wonder is how I begin.
The state of Oklahoma and the state of Tennessee sure were lucky to have such a man as Willard R. Sparks