Drawing on Water

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea,” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. For Tacoma-born artist, Craig Snyder, Puget Sound was the mysterious, tide-driven entity that drew his father, a tugboat captain, away for long periods of time during his childhood. For wait, where am i?, a Spaceworks collaborative installation with Ruth Tomlinson, Tania Kupczak and Jessica Bender, Snyder is making one drawing each day based on the path of a Foss tug as it travels through Puget Sound. The abstract drawings are made of flowing forms based on daily satellite data as well as personal observation. Displayed one on top of the other, like the pages of a daily calendar, the line drawings have a meditative effect, drawing one into the progress of a journey without words. Snyder’s use of translucent vellum as a medium makes this an odyssey of luminous contours; ghostly tracings of movement can be seen through the layers. “Because his absence was often more noticeable than his presence, knowing which boat he was on provided a certain level of understanding and comfort,” he says of his dad. The documentation “serves to re-inform my understanding of my father’s life, and perhaps more importantly, to locate myself within it.”

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