Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In Memory of Nam

So, I was going to write a post about the challenges of getting down to work in a new studio; about how I don't know where my brushes or pencils are; I occasionally bump into doors, lights, or tables; and I seem to have forgotten all my favorite color combinations and mark making techniques.

However, I learned last night that one of my grad school colleagues passed away a couple of weeks ago, making those new-studio concerns seem very small. Nam Clark entered the UIUC MFA program in 2005, during my last year. He was making funny, smart, politically charged paintings and drawings at that time. We were all amazed by his work; it was already so sophisticated and fully developed, we figured he had a lot more to teach us than he had to learn in our little backwater program. Plus, he was actually painting(!) and not listening to those voices in our faculty that continually cast doubt of the relevancy of this medium. It was clear that Nam had the chops and the attitude to go far.

He was initially given this weird, raw, semi-studio in the sculpture building, but clearly that space didn't fit with the work he was making. He soon moved into the vacant studio next to me. I really enjoyed having him as a neighbor for those last few months of school. I could sense all the hard work and good energy coming out of his studio, and he inspired me to work harder and dig in further to my own practice. I feel sure that as he moved into teaching at UIUC and later at ISU, he was able to inspire many many others.

If that in the end is the point of making art, then Nam was a wild success indeed.

See more of Nam Clark's work here.

1 comment:

Paula said...

What was the circumstance of his dying? Accident? Illness? Family? Do you know?