We all have life themes that fascinate us, themes to which we are inevitably drawn to. Say, for example, some of mine are everyday history and old wives' tales, the grey areas of morality, odd anecdotes and I guess a certain nostalgia for the past. When I come across one of these themes, in books, magazines or stories I am told, I usually am instantly inspired and end up sketching ideas on a few pages of my notebook.
When I first watched the movie Grey Gardens, the new version with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, I was dazed. I mean, normally those "inspirational themes" come one at a time, little hints of them here and there, but the story of the Bouvier Beale girls had them all, at the same time, pouring out of every scene. Five minutes in and I was inspired, 15 after I was... overwhelmed.
Half in disbelieve, I watched the 1975 original documentary, only to discover that the real characters were even more fantastic than the fictionalised ones. By the end of the documentary I had already decided to start a personal project about them, but it took me months to start the first drawing.
Mother and daughter, both called Edith, the Bouvier Beale ladies were part of the 1930 - 1960's american high society. Relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy, they were true socialites and owned a 14-room house in East Hampton, named Grey Gardens. They were two creative ladies who loved to entertain, to sing and dance and be the centre of attention. But their lifestyle ended up catching up with them and so they slowly lost all of their money and with it all of their influences. What follows is a story about love, survival and broken dreams, a story that for me captures the beauty that can be found in the breaking point and the perfection of all imperfect stories.
So here are the first few illustrations of Mother, Darling.
I very much recommend you to watch both the movie and the documentary, but yet again, I might be biased...