Monday Feb. 6 2012 7:43p 39º f – clear skies
I woke up a lot later than I was expecting this morning. About three hours into a fourteen hour day I got word that Robert Wood passed away.
I was absolutely heartbroken. I’d see him at least three times a week. Listen to him talk about French & other foreign film only much later to find out he absolutely loved South Park and Beavis & Butt Head. We’d talk about art, theatre, film and so on. Him; complex taste and extremely opinionated. Me; simple taste and short thoughts. But I loved to listen to him for some reason. Some days I’d hang on to his every word. Others I’d be tired, in a hurry and just let him vent or whatever he was doing before I’d walk away. He never gave many breaks in his speech for you to interject and excuse yourself. I found myself often times interrupting a thought only so he could hurry up and touch on a previous thought before I left only to come back to the topic I was trying to leave on and have him build on it.
The thought went through my head quite often, “Is he fucking with me?”
I’d give him rides home every other week and one night, I kid you not, he stayed in my van and talked until I ran out of gas. I left it run hoping he’d take the hint to scram but no such luck. Instead, he invited me in while I waited for somebody with a gas can. After spending so much time with this guy I was finally going to see his digs. I was so excited. He took me through the gallery & everything and it was everything that I’d expect to find himself surrounded in.
I got to know him best at The Rock Café. A “hip” welcoming Christian joint that served free coffee and was open till well after last call at the bars. Perfect place for him to set up shop with water color or sharpies and do a bunch of still life drawings or paintings of people.
He clearly knew I dabbled in drawing myself. So one night while he was talking about god knows what I asked if I could draw him. He agreed to it and in turn I asked if he’d use the same pen to draw me.
And so we did.
Aside from touching his beard all my dreams came true with Robert.
Later I used the line drawing of him in two separate digital pieces that showed at my very first art opening at Scribbles Coffee Co.
We’d talked about doing a duel opening but the owner of the shop was holding off for Robert’s own showing first.
He later put his stuff up there and there was one in the back that immediately caught my eye. I told him how interested I was in it but wasn’t able to pay what he was asking up front. So we worked out a deal where I’d pay in chunks. If anybody was able to pay him what he was asking before I paid the first installment, he had no obligation to hold it for me. I was able to make the first payment along with the following three weeks.
In hindsight, I wonder if he refused anybody who might’ve expressed an interest.
It saddens me the way you had to leave. A town that you lived in for so long that pushed you out just because it wanted to grow a little bigger.
Farewell, Robert. I can’t help but wonder what you found.
You will be missed.