A pencil portrait of my grandfather Lloyd Berry as a gift for his 84th birthday. It's drawn from an old photograph taken on set in the mountains while filming a whiskey commercial for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In the advert he was playing a sort of mountain-man-pioneer, carving his existence in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountain Range. The whiskey I guess was his only indulgence in the tough lonesome life of a pioneer.
My Grandfather was a bit of a pioneer vagabond himself, at least in the 40's and 50's. He joined the army at the time of the second world war but was discharged when it was discovered that he was just 16. After that he drifted around North America 'riding the boxcars', working a variety of jobs to support himself. I guess that's partly where I get the wanderlust from. Last time I spoke to him on the phone, about a week ago, I asked him what jobs he had worked throughout his colourful life. He answered in his characteristic North American gruff drawl, "Well Omar........I worked on a boat, a tug boat moving the big ships, I worked in a goldmine for a while, sorting the good rock from the bad, I was a lumberjack in the timber-trade up north for a while.......hell........what else was there........um........I did some acting as you know, in pictures, commercials, the theatres."
His favourite phrase, as far my brother and I are concerned, is "Goddamn son of a bitch."
I make it a week before the birthday package arrives on his doorstep in the sleepy suburbs of Vancouver.