I grew up on the North Shore of Boston, surrounded by a very large and very loud cast of characters — my family.
Throughout my childhood I was always captivated by the active conversational energies of my family — their mannerisms, their outbursts and their laughter at visits and gatherings. But, the details — I just loved all of the details. The squishy veins on the back of my grandfather’s hands, the way my father purses his lips — just for a moment — when he tries to suppress a smile, and my mother’s over-the-top, horror movie startled scream anytime she turns a corner, almost bumping into someone unexpectedly standing there.
I just cherished all the stories being told during kitchen prep for The Feast of the 7 Fishes on Christmas Eve and other family holidays. Not that they were motivational or inspirational. In fact, they were anything but! These dialogs feel more like “a day in the life” sort of storytelling — filled with witty commentary and knowing looks that dissolve into laughter. And special occasions like these are always the best time to hear them, the type of gatherings with a steady rotation of guests. I would get to see the chemistry of their performances. It was like seeing a play over and over again but with a loose script that allowed much more ebb and flow. The story would evolve over the course of an evening, but not ever really truly change. There was this alchemy of parts being omitted, other parts elaborated, pauses lengthened or shortened, a playful nudge, posture changes and subtle timing adjustments — all dependent upon the personality of the person talking as well as the particular mix of family members listening in at that moment — some listeners maybe even actively contributing to the collective memory of certain details from a shared experience from the past. There was magic in the nuances, giving the stories life.
Through animation, I hope to follow in this wonderful tradition — to capture those moments, find the essence and timing that are so vital to storytelling, and breathe life into my drawings — through my timeless love of the details attached to each moment. I still love the details.