At one time I secreted away my traumatic experiences, and it cost me. Today, writing and art are some of the means I speak up for myself and other survivors. Though trauma silences, art speaks. In both art and trauma, no voice should be bound by but all may be engaged by past, present, and inspiration of future.
Art has also freed me to play as I never knew how in a childhood stifled by abuse. The architectural lines with which I play may seem as unyielding as the bars of my youthful prison of mind, body, and soul. However, by finding a different view of or light to shed on architecture, my photography engages the truth that whatever the circumstance, the human spirit, by God’s grace, may ever arise in inspiration, creativity, and life.
The Old Mill ever engages present, ever remembers the past, and ever stands for those who will come. Most people come, especially in the spring and summer when blooms are happiest, to photograph the sculpture amidst its garden setting. I, however, was intrigued by what was within. The famous Rodriquez faux bois technique of shaping concrete posts and beams as aged wood, the windows that continually look toward a dawn that dances light in bright shapes from open windows and doors, the authentic 1800s grist mill handed down through the Cagle family at rest in the center, and a rainbow of shapes, textures, and colors of rocks in the walls. I came for a canvas against which to paint black and white in vivid textures, rich tonalities, and creative perspectives and unearthed the history of a sculpture and the men whose vision fashioned it.
To this day photographers come from far and wide to capture this sculpture among ever-green gardens in North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. The Old Mill is best known for gracing the opening credits of the 1939 Gone with the Wind movie, six years after the The Old Mill’s completion. Nine decades later it remains a monument to Justin Matthew’s vision for the 1800s mill replica, “quietly [weathering] the years in the depths of its secluded valley,” Matthew’s friend, Thomas R. Pugh, whose “tireless energy” embodies the water wheel, and famed Mexican sculpture Dionicio Rodgriquez, whose handiwork stands the test of time and art.