Before I had the pleasure of calling Mary my friend, I knew her as the most talented artist in my grade—if not my entire middle school. Mary's intricate paintings have always sparked within me a sense of wonder and possibility. Her style and subjects possess a whimsicality that could only come from a fantastical mind (and if you know Mary, you know she's one of a kind).
Admiring Mary's creations through the years, I was infatuated with the idea of creating art myself, but I lacked faith in my ability to make anything worthwhile. Mary was a large part in the development of my creative confidence as I began shooting on 35mm film. She's always encouraged my ideas with enthusiasm and I've captured some of my favorite, most meaningful photos with her.
I now know the honor of being subject to the very hand that's had me awestruck for some time. Mary Wendel painted me in oil on wood with gold leaf detail (original photo by David Yamamoto).
Mary, without you I wouldn't know the importance of encouraging others to create, as well as believe in my own ability to make something valuable to myself. For this and your friendship, I'm forever grateful.