Last month, February 13, I received a text message from Hogla, a college friend, asking me if I was aware that our printmaking teacher, Joe Moran, had past away in October. Shocked and sad I answered, “no.” She found out because California State University of San Bernardino, where I went to college, was having a art show titled “Reflections, The Art & Life of Joe Moran” hence the post title.
The first day of the art show was Saturday, Feb. 19. I wrote some happy memories I shared of Joe in case I had the strength to share them with everyone there. Unfortunately, due to the bad weather I wasn’t able to attend.
Here’s what I wrote:
Today my heart is broken and also happy. Broken because a great man that influenced my life has sadly passed away and happy because I was honored to have known him. Joe Moran was my printmaking teacher in college. After taking his class twice to meet my studio credits I continued taking his classes until I graduated. There was something welcoming of our printmaking studio room; the doors were always unlocked. It wasn’t a class you walked into but a gathering of family and friends with Joe head of household. He always encouraged us to try new printmaking methods and taught me to enjoy the art I created. Though, I didn’t have a relationship with my father at the time, I realized that Joe was one of a few college professors that filled that void. He like other professors recognized the change in me as I grew in college and they expressed their proudness. I will never forget my talks and laughs with Joe. And he calling me “his novia.” I’m glad I got to see Joe once more and write to him a few times after I graduated in 2006. I guess in a way I’m still in denial because I believe that wonderful people like Joe don’t died that they live forever to keep influencing our lives. But Joe will live forever, in our hearts and in our art.
This picture is the last time I saw Joe. He was retiring and this was the last day of his last printmaking class.
My friend Vanessa, whom I meet in printmaking class, and I tired to go to the show again the following week but once again our plans were canceled due to the weather. We were finally able to make it on the last day of the show, Thursday, March 10th. Vanessa and I met up with two other printmaking buddies, Flow and Mona.
The show was kind of small but perfect in a way. They had a slide show of this artwork and his work hanging in frames. It was beautiful, yet sad. An unknown artist painted a portrait of Joe. I asked my friend Flow to take a picture of me by it. I regret never getting a picture of just Joe and I. Now, I have one though he wasn’t physically there. But, his spirit was there; I felt it in his artwork and being there with the girls.
After the show, we peeked into the windows of our old printmaking studio class reminiscing about the fun we had and pointing out how everything was in the wrong place. We ended our gathering at Farmer Boys. I was so happy to caught up with my old college friends, Vanessa, Flow, and Mona. At one point, I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants. I had seen Vanessa a few times because she lives in the same city I do, but never had a chance to really hang out since I graduated until that day. We decided to all meet up at least once every other month.
The evening was bittersweet. It’s funny how life can be filled of sadness and enjoy all at the same time.
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