July 29th, 2013
It is with great sadness that I find myself writing this letter
Brians portrait to you. As you know, Brian and I shared
a love for
athleticism, intellectual life and art. This common bond was formed
the year we shared at my studio on Wareham Street and around town
Boston, 2006-07. Brian would come to do his homework at the studio
painted and we would talk, and laugh, and be good company for
each other. I
would often drive Brian to diving practice in the afternoons at
he felt he was not being challenged. This opinion may have been
by his experience at the studio where life, as we jibed, was asymptotically
off the charts.
The studio operated as a traditional salon with a constant flow
artists, PhDs and geniuses, including one of Brians
Graydon Parrish. Brian quickly fell into our circle as we listened
detailed descriptions of the beauty of human form and his mastery
designing his dives
Those who are just technical in
their diving lack
grace. Unfortunately divers are not scored on their grace
He once said.
At the studio Grace was valued above all else and Brian, I felt,
others, was cut from the cloth. There Brian developed an opinion
studying business at B. U. paled by comparison to a practice of
Science at Berkeley. After many discussions, Brian hatched his
major in architecture and design. I was happy for him and yet
quite sad to
see him move back to California that late August.
We kept in touch over the years that followed. I started working
portrait in 2010, maybe 2011 and continued with it between passages
painting His Holiness, The 13th Dalai Lama. It started as a sepia
and later became a meditation on youth and optimism. I sent Brian
iterations via text as it evolved. He admired that I was painting
that I had him on my mind. In exchange he send me his drawings
and asked my
advice. These correspondences meant so much to me. Brians
as an artist was formed.
Last September Brian asked to study with me. I of
course was utterly delighted to say yes! We planned with verve
and a sense of possibility for the summer ahead. I received many
lucid phone calls throughout last winter and spring from Brian
telling me he couldnt wait to get here and that he wished
on many occasion he were already on island.
It was my plan for him to focus exclusively on contemporary
Beaux Arts training. Brian knew I was deeply committed to the
revitalization of American Classicism. He too agreed that classical
architecture out shined so much of the irony, parody, and nihilism,
in todays art world. Brian wanted to make a contribution
to this cause.
His acumen and winsome nature seemed ripe for the endeavor.
Given all that I now know of Brians silent struggle, I
find it deeply
profound that he crossed the country and made it to this tiny
island to see
me before he died. Despite the severity of his illness, which
never disclosed to me, he got here. Despite my instructions for
return home and take more time to recover, he defied me and got
got here because he knew I loved him and would forgive him for
the slips he
underwent. He got here because he had the incentive and desire
reinvent and search for an artistic answer to the dilemma of life,
suffering, and its joy. Now I know what those tears meant as we
other on the top of Main Street just a few weeks ago. He had just
journey into what would have become the sojourn of Raphael, Leonardo,
Titian and others kindred spirits. In Brians darkness, postponing
journey till winter or next summer, after traveling so far to
get here and
through such a tough time in rehab was a great disappointment.
California must have felt like such a step backward. It was a
he stood before me. Those tears where a fusion of joy that he
made it to
Nantucket and heartache that the dream we shared had been so terribly
compromised. He wanted to be well. I knew it.
I hope you can see in his portrait the dignity and intelligence
I knew your
son to possess. He was so refined a young man, utterly gracious
endearing. From optimism and beauty comes patience and forgiveness.
at it today, I can only say I placed full faith in Brians
potential. It is
tragic that his illness veiled the lens through which he saw the
same light that we too must continue to follow and pray for.
Please keep the painting in your family along with this letter.
I have also
enclosed Brians pedagogical lineage as he did study drawing
messaging with me. For all intensive purposes I believe Brian
this great stream of thinkers and I will always include him as
one of my
exceptional students who touched my life and whose life I had
of knowing. I will cherish him in my heart forever.
Call any time. My prayers are with you, Jim, Michelle, and Jenna.
With sincere condolences,