APEX — Black-and-white photographs of children and adults peek out amid the acrylic-painted forest in Dana and Chloe Wood’s award-winning piece on display at The Halle Cultural Arts Center.
The father-daughter team’s painting, “Cross Section,” won first place in the center’s juried show “Lineage,” which opened Aug. 30 and will end Oct. 4.
About a dozen artists submitted works that explore the metamorphosis of their creative journey or personal heritage.
Dana and Chloe Wood’s painting addresses both an artistic evolution and family history.
Dana Wood, 42, of Apex works full-time as a food buyer for Target and moonlights as an acrylic and oil painter. In recent years, he’s peppered his work with mixed media, and some of the credit goes to his oldest daughter, Chloe, 12, who has become his collaborator.
Chloe started painting when she was 5 or 6, and the collaboration started by accident.
“I used to travel a lot more. So I would start paintings and leave them up in our front room,” Wood said. “While I was traveling, Chloe would come in and she would either draw or paint on them, and I would see all these new little markings.”
At first he was frustrated with the doodles, but he later realized it was a happy creative accident.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do with those marks,” Wood said, “but then I really thought maybe I will incorporate them. Some of the stuff has turned out really neat.”
Each of his four children has started doodling on his art as soon as they were old enough to hold a paintbrush.
“It’s kind of cool how it’s kind of like a full family collaboration,” said Wood. “I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Chloe brings a freshness. She’ll say, ‘Hey Dad, it’s really cool what you’re doing but maybe try something different. Something new.’ It offers a youthful perspective on life.”
In “Cross Section,” Wood had the idea for painting the forest, while his daughter suggested and installed the black-and-white photographs.
“There a a lot of types of trees that share the same root system, and even though they look like individual trees in the forest they actually are all connected,” Wood said. “That was my idea of family. Chloe came along and said, ‘Hey Dad, I have a couple of ideas.’”
Chloe selected photographs showing four generations of family members.
“I was trying to get to know the people from our background,” she said. “I found some really cool pictures in a bunch of old photograph books.”
Dana Wood has been researching his family history for about 13 years.
“I just feel this tug to know where I came from and who I am, and my mom’s side of the family is from Mexico and my dad’s side of the family is from the United States,” he said. “ I just think it’s an interesting story.”
While most of his art focuses on his family and heritage, working with his daughter has allowed them some bonding time and an opportunity to give his children something lasting.
“It’s like time with your dad, which is super awesome,” Chloe said. “Because he likes to hang out with Felix, my brother, but he also likes to hang out with me, which is really cool.”
“The thing that I find neat about this whole experience is later when Chloe’s all grown up and I’m gone, she’ll have something to share with her children or with her family in the future that’s a part of us,” Wood said.