Friday, March 2, 2012

Franklyn Liegel - I will miss you.

If you were to look up Franklyn Liegel on the Internet, you'd find lots of references to his collage work, to the art shows he's curated and participated in and the students he's inspired. These two (fuzzy) pics are the only two I could find. You might even find somewhere that he's taught an amazing Collage class at Art Center (at night) for years and has a small but steady group of artists that take his class over and over and over again (for years). I'm one of those artists/students, though I've only known Franklyn for a year and only taken the class two semesters.
If you were to explore his studio, I'd imagine you'd find an amazing collection of books, judging by the way he always has one to lend to someone that refers to something in their work that he wants them to explore. Recently he opened a gift in front of the class, took one look at the new book and lent it to me to study for two weeks because he thought it would inspire me. When I returned it, I had sewn a patchwork case for it to keep it safe always in his studio. Franklyn keeps literal files on his students and reads and rereads our profiles that we submitted. One day about a year ago he came in excited to share with me that he was good friends and often shows his art with my favorite art professor at Pepperdine (Joe Piasentin).
This semester at our class has been sweet. We are only a class of 5 or 6 and all but one of us are repeats. There are even other Art Center professors who sign up as students for Franklyn's class. He's a quirky, free spirited and sometimes confusing person. He's hard of hearing and he can't see well. He has a temper. But I've not seen a professor throw so much of himself into his students - each one - in many years. We take the class because of him. And then we take it again.
Yesterday I was getting ready for class at night. I drive an hour through rush hour traffic across downtown LA to do this class from 7-10pm every Thursday. Babysitting isn't cheap. But as I was getting ready, I got a call from the school. Class is cancelled. Franklyn had passed away the day before. (WHAT?)
I'm stunned and so so sad.
Franklyn, you will be greatly missed. It was an honor to know you and to share a love for collages and quilts and books with you. You impacted my art tremendously and have given me confidence in my work that I didn't have before. You've exposed me to new techniques and artists and thoughts. I have pieces of paper around my house, with your name on them listing the things I wanted to talk with you about this week. I'm sorry you didn't get to see the quilt I finished this week that I was going bring to share or the book I wanted to show you. Thank you for being such an inspiration. I will miss you.



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