We were talking of how an artist, once fairly well known in their community, could fall off the planet. But I think it is possible to disappear and "re-emerge" - time and time again in fact. I Know I've done it and I am not the only one.
There was one man in particular who had disappeared and it shocked me. He was so forceful, had so much presence and personal power. I had even met people in SF, who when I talked about him, would say: "You are not the first person to talk to me about him. That guy changes lives."
He was an art dealer and he inspired in many ways. But he was also, I found out, an aspiring artist. Once we got close, his ideas were all he talked about.
But it was all talk and so often I wanted to say to him - "Well just fucking do it!" and this was way before the Nike ads.
My mom had told me that you shouldn't talk about your art ideas, that it drains them and then, they might not happen. I think she's right about that...
He had one idea in particular which he described in great detail; I loved it, but also felt it must take pretty good skills, and I had never really seen him make anything.
So anyway, I used to joke with my girlfriend about it. Like his famous stretcher bars he would rattle on about - how they had to be just so - finding the right studio - he had a million reasons to NOT paint! - I always thought that if I ever ran into him, maybe I would finally have the nerve (or just brazen sense of humor) to rib him about it. "Hey, did you ever find the stretchers that you needed?"
Well, when I got into Google, I tried to find him. And what was odd was how much, how completely, he had fallen off the face of the earth. This man who had once been the talk of the town - for his vision, his opinions and his ability to make things happen. And for also, no doubt, his volatile relationships. Gone. All I could find was one exhibition history of an artist who had him on there as a curator of some show in the 80s. It just blew my mind.
And it saddened me a little too, because he had so much fire.
Well, guess what? I finally found him. He just showed in a San Francisco group show - a painting of this idea he had rehashed so many times! ...So he finally made (and shown) one after all.