Artist statement for this piece: Materials for this collage include a photograph of my grandfather c.1900 with bits of “visual quotes” from history, including images of a lapis lazuli Egyptian eye, a French palace and gardens in a 19th century tour guide, Roman arches, and a dying warrior from a 19th century print. Family Fiction represents my radical misunderstanding, during early boyhood, of my immigrant Hungarian peasant grandfather. Though he actually came from rural poverty and family dysfunction, I somehow saw him as direct and exotic linkage to the panoply of civilizations past; he represented the mysterious Other, a living conduit to adventure tales of gods, royals, and heroes I checked out of the children’s section of the public library. Such wonders of invention find welcome in a child’s mind. It is a fortunate period of creative preparation.
Richard Baldasty is a collagist and poet with recent work in current issues of Fewer Than 500 and Unbroken Journal. He lives in Spokane where his immigrant grandfather settled on a whim, entranced by apple blossom time. Historian Florence Boutwell records pre-World War I visitors trekking to promontories to overlook more than 1.6 million trees.
A Song for Richard