Monday, March 14, 2011

::::Goodbye To My Friend & Mentor::::

I've been working with Harvey Pekar for a little over two years now, almost daily. I have know idea how I could have lucked out like this as an artist, though I've certainly worked hard these past 15 years at my craft.

We started working on a book project. I started doing my own script writing side by side with our man. He told me that I "have a natural ability to write along with being a talented artist." I'm so glad I worked my ass off while he was alive. He kept saying to me."Why are you cranking so hard? You have time. You act like the end of the world is coming or something." And I told him. "Well, Harv, I think time is so valuable. And maybe you don't understand what kind of opportunity this is working with you." He and I collaborated on strips that went into Chicago NewCity, Austin Chronicle, Cleveland Freetimes, Cleveland Scene, Funnytimes, Heeb Magazine,
and our latest strip in the Jewish Review of Books

I never took him for granted, and when he visited my house and family, we doted on him and made him feel comfortable. And I think he loved that! What a ham! He got along great with my husband and children. He read to them and would always come over with a new book in hand. Or we would meet at the Cleveland Heights library (where he was treated like a king, btw) and work.

It was a lot of hard work, but it was so exciting and fun to show him progress. How often do you ever get somebody interested in your work? I soaked up every second of it. It was a rare set-up and we both knew it. He loved being on the ground floor and watching me try and do something different. The last day we worked together (day before he died) at a cafe on Lee Road. We were talkin' and (after we ripped apart LeBron) got into our daily art discussion. We talked about Joan Miro being an innovator in automatic drawing along with Masson. And how they started surrealism and how Miro didn't want to be pinned down to that movement because he wanted to be free to experiment with other styles. Who am I going to dish with about art now?? I'm devastated.

If you read my latest interview in Juxtapoz (click on bottom of article part 1 & 2)
You'd know that I confessed to tearing up during the film American Splendor (before I met him) What an inspiration!!! What an amazing hard-working man. He became my cult-classic professional hero. I had know idea that the wind was going to drift me into the seat next to him at a comix discussion? He symbolized (and was) the working-class D.I.Y. and I share the same work ethic. Talent is something that you have to unearth during your life journey. And you can't do it unless you are also blessed with this embedded drive in your mind and soul. And then you need the physical energy to try and get it out on paper in an organized fashion. He had all of those skills and he wasn't lazy. He would get inspired and then he would bolt at the speed of lightening back home and get it down on paper. HE DIDN"T MESS AROUND when it came to work. And that's why I admired him.

I know he had a great life. He got everything he wanted (except money). And now he's finally a free spirit. No more hip replacement surgeries, no more cancer treatments, no more feeling angst over taxes. no more trips to the body shop or changing cat litter. No more Cleveland winters (I'm a little jealous). I know he's in a gorgeous place with piles of many fruits and vegetables he's marveling over and eating. And of course "Panayiotis 9" is playing in the background. My condolences go out to his beloved wife Joyce Brabner and his daughter Danielle. I hope God is holding him in the palm of his hand. And I would like to end this with my all time favorite quote by him. From the story entitled "Alice Quinn" -- "As decades a' faces ran through my mind. I felt like cryin': Life seemed so sweet an'so sad an' so hard to let go of in the end. But this is Monday. I went t'work , hustled some records. Came home and wrote this. T'night I'll finish 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.' Life goes on. Every day is a new deal. Keep workin; and sump'n'll turn up." Something turned up for him. ––Tara

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