husband to my humble, kind-hearted lola, and father to my pops, larry aranias is one of my heros. i’ve never met him before, nor do i know much about him, but he is proof that creativity runs in my blood.
when i was a young girl, my pops had a hand drawn picture of 3 people sitting portrait-style on his cork board. curious, i asked him who the people in the drawing were, and he told me it was him, my lola (grandma), and his brother that passed before i could meet him. i asked him who drew it, and he told me my lolo (grandpa) did. i thought it was so cool that my lolo was an artist. he was probably my first creative inspiration.
my dad then told me to go and wash my hands, and when i got back, he was holding a tabloid sized manila folder with the words “SCRAPBOOK of Larry Aranias” handdrawn on the front. There was also a drawing of what looked to be a landscape in the philippines (palm trees, sunset, sand and water), decorated with flowers and flourishes. The folder looked weathered.
Inside the folder, there were drawings/watercolor paintings of landscapes on art paper. As we went through the art one by one, I felt such a connection to my lolo. It blew my mind that he actually drew/painted the pictures, and i was actually touching something of the past. We came across one particular piece that had a poem inscribed on a scroll. I was too young to understand, but I asked about it. My pops told me that my lolo was dying of tuberculosis when he wrote it. He told me he was feeling very alone because he had to be under quarantine as they thought tuberculosis to be contagious. It all made sense, as his works were mostly of epic landscapes that feel lonely, and happy moments that were probably drawn from memory.
I want to share the poem with you, to celebrate his life, and art. By sharing this story, his memory will be honored even for the minute you take to read it.