Ron Tanaka came into our lives unannounced one day in 1983 having fallen in love with our 1981 Pinot Noir. His arrival marked the beginning of a special friendship that has resulted in two exhibitions of poems, photography and hand made paper collages. As a third generation Japanese American, his vision of blending the spirit of the East and West and his unwavering enthusiasm has changed our perceptions of the winegrowing lifestyle and the role of product art in 21st century.
The first set of poems, a case of twelve, is called The Mount Eden Poems. He uses a female fictional kindergarten teacher called Madeline Giboin as his mouthpiece.
In the early 1990’s Ron came to us with an idea for a new show which would blend fact and fiction based on our daughter, Sophie, who grew up on our mountaintop. Mountain Wines, A Girl Grows Up on Mount Eden is a series of 20 panels using the voice of a teenage girl to illuminate the relationships of family, mountain winegrowing and the underlying the spiritual force of Pacific Rim art which synthesizes Eastern and Western traditions. The model used was my wife, ellie’s, step-sister, Kelsey Gray, since my daughter was only eleven at the time. This digital experience was created to honor Ron and his work.