Poole Clowning During a Modeling Session for Artist Mike Wimmer
While it is true that art was a profound and inexorable part of Dad, it is intertwined with his upbringing and influences; I think of two trees that have grown together — separate, yet indivisible.
Those tenacious trees took root in hard soil; Dad was born in 1935 in rural Marlow, Oklahoma as the only child of Hazel and Woodrow, who lived in the back of Woodrow’s father’s gas station. My grandfather was a laborer who painted as a hobby. My grandmother was a teacher and, with no other options for daycare, began taking Dad to school at the age of 3. In 1939 (fittingly, the same year Steinbeck wrote “The Grapes of Wrath”) Woodrow, unable to find work, set out for California, leaving Dad to be raised alone in the country by Hazel, a working single mother.
Pool Gas Station, Marlow OK. Birthplace of O. Gail Poole
Gail & Hazel, 1943
Cut to 80 years later, where a poor country boy’s work is being celebrated by audiences around the world.
2016, The Oklahoma Hall of Fame | Gaylord-Pickens Museum
The journey from point A to point B is profound on many levels, and shines a light on Dad’s dedication and his fortitude to persevere, no doubt fueled by the determination embedded in his deep Oklahoma roots.
The legacy of O. Gail Poole climbs steadily to greater heights because of the magical combination of the masterworks he created, and the enthusiasm of ordinary people, myself included, who have embraced Dad in his absence, inspired by his art and by his story.
I look forward to sharing both with you. I hope to see you Thursday.
Thank you, deeply, for your interest in O. Gail Poole.