Searching for meaningful subject matter can be a difficult task for any artist. Not only because the artist wants the work to be meaningful and relevant, but also because executing a series of paintings involves committing to multiple canvases and potentially years of research and grueling studio work. Before I connected with the series, I knew that I wanted to create something that tells a local story, and to create a dialogue among my viewers. About 18 months ago, as co-organizer of the popular 10x10 lecture event, I invited former registrar for The Ringling, Jarred Wilson, to present.

At the time, Jarred and I shared some mutual friends, and I knew any presentation he’d offer would be a great one. That evening, Jarred presented/shared his historic postcard collection of old Florida while elaborating on their historic significance—and I had my Eureka moment. The following week, I reconnected with Jarred and started my own postcard collection.

It was like I was in the fourth grade collecting baseball cards again—running to the mailbox every day to see if a new one had arrived. I decided to focus/collect only the linen Sarasota postcards. Linen postcards were printed in the United States from the 1930s until the 1950s—a very significant time in the history of our community. Aesthetically, the saturated colors and the views of hyper-leisure scenes of “the way it used to be” struck me. From there, I started gathering information about the images—information about the buildings that no longer exist, how the land has changed and a general feeling for how it used to look in our community.

With the amount of development and newcomers to this area, I feel it’s important to convey and preserve the history of this community. Generating an understanding and appreciation for where we’ve been and where we are heading in Sarasota is important. The actual paintings are large-scale contemporary interpretations of the postcards. While the original postcards have a slight surface texture and saturated colors, I wanted to create a series of large-scale paintings with a lot of color, surface, pattern and movement. Needless to say, I’m enthusiastic to continue painting the series for years to come while sharing the history of the place we call home. SRQ