Friday, March 14, 2014

Untitled (or. what happens when I can't sum my thoughts up neatly)

For the month of January, I was in residency at Caldera. Jim Leisy was one of the four other artists there. My studio was in the grand hall – the biggest room in the central area of the campus - and Jim would usually stop by a couple of times a day to find out what I was working on, to tell me what he was working on, to ask if I wanted to go for a hike, or in to town. We talked about so many things – our families and our significant others, how trees think, infectious diseases, black vinegar and chinese taxicabs, amateur physics, music, photography, electronics, soldering, time, the solar system… Once I didn’t see him for a full day, and I checked in on him – he was working too hard and stressed on the deadline of our open studios. His 3D printer had broken and he was not happy.

I found out this morning that Jim passed away yesterday – suddenly and unexpectedly. I’ve wandered around today with the wind knocked out of me. I know full well from many of our conversations that he wasn’t done living – he had so many things he still had to do. I’m so sorry for his partner and his sons. My heart goes out to them.

I didn’t take very many photos at Caldera. It’s a gorgeous place that attracts a lot of photographers. I am not a particularly brilliant photographer (and my best camera is my iphone), and I let others – like Jim - document the place. I watched facebook fill up with photos of Jim today and wished that I had taken my own photo of Jim at some point.

The morning after Jim’s printer broke, I came in to my studio to a robot and a note. The note was on an index card and said only ‘2 AM!!!’ and the 3D printed robot stood on top of it. The robot has been sitting on my desk (first at Caldera, now back at home), staring at me since then. I went looking for the note this afternoon (and failed) and found a folder full of photos that he had taken and left on my studio desk the morning we’d left. There’s a picture of him in that stack, and I’m glad that the photo that I have of to remember him by was taken by a far more talented photographer than myself.

Godspeed Jim. You are talented man. I’m sorry that I didn’t know you sooner and I’m sorry that I didn’t know you longer. I’m glad that I feel like I got to know you well, if for ever so briefly.