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March 26, 2015

Paul McClure, jewellery artist (Saidye Bronfman Award)

Paul McClure, George Brown College design faculty and 2015 winner for a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. Just look at what he's doing.

It has been more than twenty-five years since I first lost a friend to HIV/AIDS. He was a dancer, had just been accepted to a prestigious program in Toronto, and when it took him it took him fast. I saw him and he looked well and the next I heard he was gone. It still shocks me someone who was so radiantly, obnoxiously full of life should be struck down as if it were nothing.

At this point, I couldn't tell you how many of my friends are dead. While every one of their lives mattered, I confess it's the artists who trouble me. I've re-written that last phrase several times now and have decided I don't have the words to convey the full freight I want from them. Their deaths trouble me: the dancers, the actors, the singers, the writers, and a potter who could tell the same stories as H.R. Giger but in ceramics. I'm troubled by all the work they could have brought into the world and all they work they won't every time one of them comes to mind and once again I find they're gone. How can the rest of us, the ones who are left, possibly make up for it? What if we just can't?

They all mattered. But it's the artists who trouble me. All that potential, existing somehow in anticipation of itself, and then...

And then I see something like this, Paul McClure's response to something like the same story, and beyond the surprise and the wonder is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 26, 2015 07:48 PM