The other night Trever and I had dinner with one of his former Painting Professors who happens to be one of the most unique people I have ever met - like his eyes were closed half the time we were talking to him. I like quirky people, normal is so boring sometimes. For example, he flew all the way to Frankfurt to stand in front of one piece of art, not a whole gallery, one piece – I like that.
His wife passed away a year and half ago. It’s a grief I cannot begin to understand; as CS Lewis says “her absence is like the sky, spread over everything”. Grief is like a club no one wants to join, and those on the outside look in feeling sadness, but with no ability to really understand the pain or know how to interact with the insiders. After dinner he showed us some of his work in his studio that he has been making since his wife passed. I’ve never been good at art and sometimes I have a hard time understanding it, I think because it’s never said anything to me. But there I was in a chaotic art studio of a guy who made art because he had to, like he couldn’t live and not make art. His work is so true to him that I almost felt like an imposter standing in front of the pieces, like I was walking around his diary. His pieces said so many things; and I suddenly felt envious of what it must be like to be a painter. The ability to express oneself in a way that words might always fall short, that a painting could hold a novel that said everything to it’s maker and so little to it’s viewer. I guess I’ll always look at art differently now.
He told a parable of a new artist in a studio. This artist while painting is constantly hearing the opinions of Degas, Picasso, Monet and all the other greats who have influence over the creatives who have studied them. “These artists” he said, “are narcissistic, and they just want more replications of their own art; they won’t like anything unless it looks like them. If an artist does it right, he doesn’t pay attention to them and eventually they’ll leave, and he is left alone”. So lesson number two I learned in a garage next to a clay skeleton and a tar paper drawing, was to silence the voices, because replications are just that - they’ve already been done.
Photo by: Trever Hoehne