Working with the community college was a special event for me since I myself got
into art when I was in a community college in a small town, Wheeling, West
Virginia. Three years after my father, who worked in the steel industry in Japan,
took his family to the small town in the US, I met a community college teacher,
Karl Jacobson. As a foreign student struggling to get by the school assignments
by basically looking up all the words, Mr. Jacobson’s skill in speaking through
his drawings was just beyond magical. Until then, I had no idea that some
shapes and lines on a piece of paper could move people like music or books could.
I was like a grown man with measles: shaken up and helplessly driven away to
pursue what I saw. So having an exhibition and a talk at BCC was my way of
giving back to where I got it.
On October 2nd, my wife and I drove up to Berkshires to meet the typical
community college crowd at one of their art class rooms. They were just as they
were at my community college 20 years ago in another state 500 miles away;
they were from all kinds of backgrounds, young and old. I knew that some of them
were there against their own will (sort of), just to get the school credit. So I
wanted to make it as painless and hopefully as fun and interesting as possible.
Two most asked questions in the past talks had been “what are they made of?” and
“how did you do that?”. So I simply decided to tell them how I made the pieces:
hands on, practical sorts of information. I got 64 images of sculptures in progress
that included the very first idea sketches and finished pieces with some detail shots;
and I tried to follow the steps as I encouraged them to ask questions.
The talk went really smooth. People asked questions that totally complemented the
content of the talk. And nothing beats seeing people coming up to me totally excited
about the work as I am: letting me know that I did share something good with them.
I am pretty sure Mr. Jacobson would have approved of the talk.
Here is a picture of Karl Jacobson with one of his amazing paintings, “Musicians”.
I still feel weird to think that he is not with us anymore. He passed away early this
year. It was so sudden and totally unexpected to all.
He painted amazing pictures that changed my life completely.