The Old Gate
Charcoal and ink on Strathmore board
Copyright © 1988 by Bruce Garrett
All Rights Reserved.
In the mid 1980s I began a series of drawings on the theme of first time love.
I'd crashed and burned twice by then and I was painfully broken hearted and
alone and the only connection I could manage with that which I was missing
most in my life was through my artwork. Some of that came out in strange bad
dream sorts of drawings, which like my brutally lonely photography I disliked
intensely but which I needed to get out of me. But sometimes it came out of
me as a revery of gay love and romance, at least to the degree that a so far
lifetime of unrequited love could allow me conceive it. That is what this series
was about. This is the one I am most proud of.
Like the others in this series, this piece was done in charcoal and ink and ink wash,
on heavy Strathmore board. I called it "The Old Gate", the name being a metaphor
for that transition from youth to adult that comes with that first heavy crush.
Two young lovers rest for a moment in the gateway of an old stone wall.
The gate represents the passageway to adulthood that love opens. An old growth
forest is on the other side of the wall, representing all the possibilities that
life presents them with. Light shines on them, beckoning them toward their future.
A metal latch ring opposite the gate is seen glinting in the sunlight,
representing their life together.
No I didn't draw this with all that in mind...I came up with that description just
now on the fly. But it expresses what I was doing pretty well. I work my drawings and my photography
nonverbally. I have an emotion I want to express and I look for images that do
At Epcot I showed a photo of this to a Disney artist who was making live art for the
guests to buy, and giving tips to young artists who came up to talk to him. I
dallied about it for a while then took a chance and asked him if he would like to
see one of mine. He smiled a big smile, looked it over give me some of the best complements I've
ever had on my artwork, doubly so since he was a working Disney artist. Like
another professional, Howard Cruse, he gave particular credit to my use of light.
He insisted that I keep doing it.
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