Sunday, March 28, 2010

From Sydne Schinkel, Cave Creek AZ

Dear Valerie,
Wow! What a great site! Love your poems, and of course I've always loved Vance's art. He was truly one of the best fine artists ("real" artists) we ever knew. I seem to remember Vance mentioning that you were doing a book with your poems and his art, and I hoped to see it when it was finished. This website is wonderful and I am so glad you are doing it.

You might have wondered what it was that we had with Vance, besides arguing with him about whether or not there was an after life, which I trust he found out does exist. :-) We felt like family, as you know, and he used to confide things to us I don't think he told other people. When we first met him, he used to do and say things that were meant to shock us, but because we accepted him and didn't become shocked by what he said or did, we became good friends. I was brought up by artists and there were some very "weird" stories about my "wild" grandfather when I was growing up, so Vance was just a true artist to me. It was expected that he was different. His art was absolutely amazing!

Some of the most cherished memories Thom and I have, of the times we spent with Vance over the years we knew him, were the times we went over to his house and sat there with him all night watching him paint or do pastels! He loved to work at night, and we loved watching him create art. We'd put some music on the stereo and he'd work on a painting for a few hours and then switch to another one, and it was always SO awesome to witness his freedom of expression and the spontaneity with which he attacked the canvas. The beauty he created on the canvas was magical. We learned so much from him about creating abstract art and he was the inspiration for many of my ceramics works. He used to visit my studio and critique my ceramic art, and show me how to "loosen up" the application of oil colors which I applied to some of my large vessels. He loved Thom's and my work, and he was our best friend for many years.

After Thom became sick from the hormones and antibiotics in beef, we stopped accepting Vance's invitations to come over for one of his famous barbecued steak dinners, and there started to be a gap in our relationship. He started hanging around with different people and got his first illness right after that. We spent numerous hours trying to explain that he had to change his diet, but your brother had his own ideas, bless him, and would agree with us in person and then eat everything he wanted to again after we'd gone.

We visited him a few times while he was in the hospital the first time, and then we went to Belize for about 5 or 6 weeks, and when we returned, we couldn't find him. He had been forced out of his beautiful home, and we heard he lived in an apartment in Carefree someplace. His cell phone had been changed, so we couldn't phone him. Thom went looking for him at some of his favorite haunts, and finally asked the bartender at Harold's to let Vance know we were looking for him. A couple of weeks later, we got a call from him, and he told us of the bad news that the doctors had given him. Thom tried to get him to go to a healing center in Mesa, but he wasn't interested. His friends had changed and our relationship had become very polite and distant. - We loved Vance and I know he loved us, so it was very sad that we lost touch with him towards the end. I know we will see him again in the big after-life party, so I am happy about that. :-)

And I am very glad you are making such a wonderful site for his work and embellishing his art with your poems. I am sending the site url on to some other friends who knew him.
If you would like a photo of the pastel that we have, let me know and I will take a digital photo and send it to you. I am glad we are staying in touch.

Much love and many blessings,

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