Monday, October 15, 2012

Late Night Driver

Late Night Driver, Decision Portrait. Stitched words: 1979 - 2008; Fell asleep at the wheel. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidered and beaded.  Click on image to enlarge.

The Decision Portrait Series blog once included a "wish list" of portraits I wanted to stitch. I created this blog over a year ago but knew that some of the "decisions" were going to be very difficult to find. After all, how does one locate a person who decided to drive when actually too tired to successfully navigate the road? My research lead me to the South Carolina Highway Patrol Fatality Memorial Website.  (Jesse M. Sainz IV’s page is at

Facebook lead me to Jesse's sister. Then I met his mother. We worked together in order to create this portrait. Their hope is that Jesse will never be forgotten and that his tragic choice might cause someone to think about the wisdom of driving while too tired. This is my hope too. My husband and my artistic mentor both confessed times that they escaped Jesse's end....too tired to drive but behind the wheel.

I stitched the words in threads that don't have much contrast with Jesse's formal wear. I want his smiling face to draw viewers from a distance, from across the art gallery. The birth and death dates will become obvious before the phrase. It will make people come even closer. This is my way of bringing people face to face with this decision, up front, close and personal...something to remember and heed.

Jesse's mother wrote the following on the SC Highway Patrol Fatality Memorial website:

The tragic death of my 29 year old son will forever leave me with a broken heart. Jesse had recently taken a management position at Wild Wing at Sandhills and was on his way home from working a double shift. He was very tired and left Wild Wing around 3:15 a.m. and apparently fell asleep behind the wheel and left the road around 3:40 a.m. and was killed instantly. Needless to say my entire family will never be the same again.

Jesse was such a fun loving person and never met a stranger. We miss his personality which was so upbeat, happy go lucky and always smiling and making others laugh. He had the most beautiful smile that I will never forget. He could be having the worse day of his life and we'd go to cheer him up but he'd find a way to make us laugh. If Jesse had a penny for everytime he made others laugh he would have died a millionaire. These are just a few of the things everyone will miss about Jesse. The emptiness in our hearts will forever be present. No holiday will ever be the same for us. Jesse had so many friends and leaves behind so many people that miss him every day. He also leaves behind a sister, Jessica, who was so very close to her only sibling and feels so lost without him. His Grandparents are so devastated as Jesse was the first grandchild and has such a special place in their hearts.

We will miss our Jesse and his positive spirit, upbeat personality, and his smile which is as big as his heart. Jesse loved unconditionally and always made others feel as though he was their best friend.

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