The Ties that Bind, 2009. Mixed Media Installation made from 42 9”x10” panels covering 57 x 73 inches.
Exterior (pictured above): India Ink on paper.
About The Ties That Bind…
My dad has been a merchant marine officer for over 30 years. He works on cargo ships traveling the world, navigating and checking cargo. it has taken twenty-three years to compile this definition of my father’s career. My dad’s actual job description has always been vague to me because it is a culture that I have never experienced firsthand.
Year after year, while I went to school, trick-or-treated and celebrated birthdays as a kid, my dad traveled the world for four to six months on a ship carrying over 2,000 containers back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean. The only understanding I had of his job was obtained through letters, postcards, souvenirs, and if we were lucky, a phone call.
As I have grown older, my family’s dynamic and lifestyle have begun to fascinate me. Each family member plays such a vital role in making this long-distance lifestyle thrive. It has trained all five of us to be stronger, more independent people. Although such a unique lifestyle puzzles many of the people I have met over the years, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My artwork explores how I have come to understand the merchant marine lifestyle. From life on land to life at sea, the paintings are a visual timeline of how our lives fit together over such distance each year. The drawings and paintings inside the panels are records of my naive understanding of merchant marine life as a child at home, while the exterior represents my current, more technical perception of my dad’s life at sea.