Larry died yesterday. I know I am just
one of thousands who want to wrap my arms around his young family so they know
they are loved. Part of living in a
small community is having the security of knowing that his family really is
surrounded by so many who will indeed care for and support them in their
grieving. The food is arriving, housing
is being arranged, and compassionate service is being provided without thought
to costs or schedules. The little things
started immediately. I can only
empathize with the loss that his family is feeling. To lose a father, a husband, a brother, a
son. To lose a family member. Like all loss, it is heartbreaking and
maddening, both of which are compounded by his young age and boundless energy for
I knew Larry as a friend and an unexpected mentor in the subjects of art and living as a creative person. I had not been looking for a guide, but he certainly became one. I did not understand just how much I relied on him until yesterday morning. I was not prepared for the interruption in our ongoing conversation. His artistic queries were always in my creative consciousness kicking around and looking for space and I already held our talks close to my heart. But now those gifts seem more vivid. They shouldn’t be-- they are the same words I remembered earlier this week. But knowing there will be no more makes what remains very rich.
So only a few thoughts in the context of art and living a creative life, gifts from Larry.
Larry was a worker. I recall sitting on the steps of his studio talking about his arrival in New York City and art school. He came to his passion for sculpture after another career and landed in the middle of the beret-wearing, clove-smoking cliques of life long artists. They sat in corners debating artistic theories he had yet to learn and arguing about light and the meaning of color. He might not have known the academic terms at the time, but looking at his fellow classmates he knew he could out work every single one of them. While they were debating the concepts and theories, he was in the studio. Larry was a worker.
Art matters. No one wants to be defined by one thing and Larry was certainly as complex a character as the rest of us. His interests and passions varied greatly. But his work was Art. Not art, but Art. And for a career cut tragically short, the impact of his work is inspiring. He created national treasures from a converted church that housed his studio on Main Street in Windsor, Vermont. He brought joy to the casual observer and the seasoned collector alike. Millions will walk by his Art installed in public spaces and connect with it, even though they might not know his name. He liked to talk about what was next and not what he had completed. I understand that way of thinking. But what he completed was extraordinary because of his ability to capture movement, tension, emotion, and passion in clay. And people react to it. They love it. They are inspired by it. I am inspired by it. Art matters.
Larry was gracious with his time, a savvy and quick witted gentleman, and someone who reached out to fellow creative artists--which is not small thing. He took no credit for his creative gifts, but he can certainly take credit for having put them to use and for having shared them with all of us. He will be missed by so many and in so many different ways.
Thank you Larry.