three met many times since then, William teaching video production,
camera operation and other technological advances to his students, Isidra
Gail has been the web designer for the Walt and Jane Walker for over
a decade: www.WaltWalker.com. Walt was known as the granddaddy of the
Los Angeles art scene-- one who could have passed for white, but chose
to paint black images and led the way by opening a gallery featuring
the works of black artists. He saw his art as viable and used it for
commercial work to sustain his family. He then parlayed those talents
into a stellar career as a fine artist.
As is the case with all successful artists, Walt had a dedicated agent:
his wife and business partner Jane Walker. He passed 9 years
ago, but at 92 years old, Mrs. Walker is still growing and learning
and working on the business of Walt's art. She makes things happen.
Seven years ago, she asked Gail
if she could help the world remember her husband. Eager to learn move
about video production, Gail agreed. She enlisted Isidra to write
the script and interview the subjects. Harold Brown had already
interviewed Mr. Walker years earlier, and was the first cameraman
on the project. He taped Jane Walker and Cecil and Miriam
Gail and Isidra busied themselves doing
research, looking high and low for footage and photos of Walt. Mrs.
Walker dug through her archives, but produced pieces of Walt's art
rarely seen. Certain items eluded them, especially pictures of Ray's
Redwood Kitchen, where Walt had exhibited for 10 years. William tried
to edit what they collected, but it was not enough.
At the 2007 Los Angeles Black
Business Expo, Isidra ran into
Mrs. Walker. She looked good, but now she was walking with a cane.
Isidra called, "Hello! How are you?"
She replied "I'm 87!"
Isidra told her husband about the interchange. Kwaku, who was exhibiting
his business on another aisle said "while you were gone, Moza
stopped by and said they extended the deadline for the Pan
African Film Festival (PAFF). You know, you guys had better finish
this movie because tomorrow is not promised."
A few minutes later, Isidra ran into
Sandra Evers-Manly, of the Black
Hollywood Education Resource Center. She fell into step with her
and asked "do you know where we can find money to finish a film
project?" Sandra asked "How much do you need?" The
next day, Isidra asked Gail, who set a price and Sandra answered the
William Byers agreed to shoot
and edit and in one day captured interviews with Ayuko Babu
(PAFF Director), Charles Bibbs (626
Gallery Owner), Russel Walker (Walt's son) and Jesse
Raudales (up and coming
Olympic artist walking in Walt's footsteps.) After a collaborative
editing mission that seemed forever, the three met the PAFF deadline.
Thanks to this chain of events, not
only was Walking Tall selected to premiere at the Pan
African Film Festival, it was nominated best Documentary Short.
Mrs. Walker is so excited, she
plans to be at both screenings, surrounded by her family and friends
and all who knew and loved Walt. She is also exhibiting Walt's work
and her own hand made jewelry at the Art Festival, stationed near
Ever the businesswoman, she is making
Walking Tall: The Life and Wife of Walt Walker available on
DVD and will market them nationally. William Byers pitched in and
designed the latest version of www.WaltWalker.com, with a big assist
from Gail Parker and Isidra Person-Lynn.