Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Artist, friend, and neighbor, Clare, has left this life, leaving behind a wealth of stories and fine artworks. Even the small taste of his life here is still a feast.
Carmine Anthony Joseph (last name withheld--but it's fully Italian!) (aka: "Downstairs Clare") born 1935, moved from Brooklyn, New York to California in 1958. Survived by his loving wife of 32 years, The Jean That Goes With Clare (a faithful supporter and reader of this blog), his younger brother and sister, and three of his four grown children from his first wife, with growing children of their own.
A multi-talented man, Clare could act and sing (good enough at opera to be sought out by scouts from the Met), cook like an artist and create art for those with fine art taste.
The thing one would remember most about Clare, once meeting him in person, was his hearty, belly borne laughter. Stories told from his life were the kind one remembers and repeats all their life, memorable and amazing.
He was a big wonderful bear of a man with the warmest of hearts and the wisdom of much experience.
Just a taste of Clare's life drawing skill.
When Clare moved in downstairs he was a bit frozen art wise. The thought occurred to me that if I brought him a basket filled with cheap art paper cut down to half-sheet size and various paints with a command to make marks of some kind on a sheet daily that I would come downstairs to see each day, he might get going.
We called them "Go Pages".
Boy! Did that idea ever work! He went crazy and made hundreds of these over the course of 6 months, several each day, each set utterly different, yet all astonishingly glorious.
Making them became a daily spiritual meditation for Clare. He came to call the practice God Pages and published his favorites in a hardbound book given at the holidays to family and friends.
In 2005, Clare was commissioned by my husband to create several large works for the newly completed dining hall cafe at his organization's head quarters in Los Angeles.
The pieces are spectacularly beautiful and light-filled, capturing the essence of the location and finishing the space to perfection.
Equally impressive were Clare's line art works and etchings. He worked behind the scenes for 20 years in the Legitimate Theater Union for the Music Center and touring companies where he had ample opportunity to make quick sketches of dancers during their rehearsals and performances.
This great man's life in triptych.
Jean and Clare's obvious love was affecting to anyone who was lucky enough to see them together. They were a perfect match for each other.
Clare holding a grandchild upper left, Jean and Clare's wedding in 1977, upper right, the way Clare always looked at his Jean said it all, lower left, Jean and Clare sharing a warm laugh after sticking out their tongues at me on his last birthday at home, lower right.
There' s a famous story Clare told me, in his usual entertaining way, that really illustrates the kind of romance Clare and Jean were blessed to have.
They used to meet each week at a little cafe and became regulars there after a while. They would eat and enjoy their time together so much, laughing, talking, telling stories, really into each other. They began to notice the wait staff would gather to peek at them during these lunches and whisper.
Finally, at some point, the head waiter approached them sheepishly to ask permission to ask them a very personal question: were they married? When they both answered yes, the waiter leaned in to ask "...to each other?"
Goodbye to our dear friend. We love you and were blessed to have known and been inspired by you.
More examples of Clare's artworks, interests, stories of his presence in our lives, and what's happening next with his works here.