Jan Groover was the first person who taught me to see.
I read today that she died on January 1, 2012.
She was my teacher and mentor in college. She was the first person who taught me to trust my vision. The first person who made me feel like what I had to say as an artist was worthwhile. When she asked me to house sit for them during christmas break I felt like it was the highest honor. She and her husband Bruce lived on the Bowery in a huge loft that was tucked between restaurant supply stores. It was pretty sketchy at night but I didn't mind. In their living room they had floor to ceiling photographs by Weegee, Walker Evans and countless others. She had a darkroom and a still life studio. Bruce had his own painting studio.It was an artist's playground.It was so foreign to me. One night me and John Tremblay, ( another house sitter at times), cooked shrimp scampi with pasta (what we considered to be a sophisticated dish), acting as if their home was ours, playing at being artist, even though we already were and just didn't know it ( or I didn't know it). Their art was their lives. One time she hired me to help her out in the studio and while we were going through some prints, I accidently called her Mom. A freudian slip but also, she was my artistic mother, guiding me through an artistic life, nudging me without force. Throughout the years she hired me to make prints for her. At the time I was nothing but grateful, as I still am, but now I wonder, " why did she hire me?" " I couldn't have been that great a printer? I like to think she saw something in me. I hope she did. She and Bruce sold off their photos and moved to a house in rural France. We stayed in touch for awhile. Sometimes I would print for her when she came back to the states.
She got sick. Stomach cancer? I never really knew. I did know that she smoked a lot( remember her buying stakes of merits at Purchase?), enjoyed food and drink. They didn't have kids so their lives were for themselves it seemed.
here, here and here. We weren't in touch these last 5 years or so but I know that she's always been with me. I wish I had written that last letter. I wish there was one last time. I can't believe your not here anymore.