This is the first of a number of posts I plan to do on the individuals whose art has influenced my work, or who simply made an impact on me in my life. This one features the first real live artist that I can remember.
When I was little, my Dad had a good friend named Gary Kremen. (It is troubling to me that he shares the name of another Gary Kremen who apparently started some sex hustling type publication. I did not read enough about him to find out.)
This Gary Kremen wore open shirts and had chest hair. He also had kinda bushy hair on his head. And twinkling blue eyes. I did not know much about him really, but I liked him. My sister always teased that I had a crush on him, but I was too young for that.
During one phase of my life, probably around age 8, he lived with my Dad and had a studio in the house. There was abundant light. He painted with oils, and he would tolerate my sister and I perching behind him and watching him work.
Everything he did was very realistic. I remember being fascinated by how well he could capture water. Many ocean scenes. His older work was all of airplanes. There are a bunch of his paintings in a downtown bar, F Street Station. I love going there because I know my Dad and Gary used to hang out there in the 1980s. It makes me feel a part of something.
He did one painting of a shipwreck that my Dad has always had. Perhaps I can get him to take a picture so I can post it another time.
Unfortunately, I could not find a lot of Gary’s work online. He may be most famous for making the world’s longest painting, approximately 62 feet long, of Prince William Sound. I remember when it was a work in progress, he painted a butterfly (bird?) on it for me.
He lived in a house in downtown which is right next to the Captain Cook boardwalk/deck thing overlooking the Inlet. And his studio gallery was where Snow City is today.
When he lived with us, my sister and I wanted to drum up business for him, so we made up posters and wore them on the front and back of ourselves and walked around the neighborhood. They all said that a real artist lived with us, and that they should follow us home to see his work.
I wish Gary were still around. He passed away in 2001.