Thursday, January 3, 2019


"Moving On," by James Aschbacher

I recently found this lovely tribute on James Aschbacher’s memorial page online:

“Reading about James, I see this whimsical art came from his soul. Although I didn't know him, I love him through his art. I know he is creating beautiful art on the Other Side.”

That’s how I like to think of him. In fact, in my original idea for this year’s Christmas card, James was cheerfully painting a mural on the Pearly Gates.

(But I abandoned that idea because it was too conceptual, and too complicated to draw. )

Besides, not sure if I go along with the whole Heavenly Father/Pearly Gates mythology, anyway.

At the end of the Harry Potter movies I was binge-watching over the holidays, Harry, temporarily dead, encounters his deceased mentor, Professor Dumbledore, in a tunnel of bright white light. (It looks suspiciously like King’s Cross Station, as Harry says, “only cleaner. And without the trains.”)

While Harry opts to return to life and sort things out, Dumbledore says he himself must go.

“Where?” asks Harry.

“On,” Dumbledore replies.

That’s the concept I like: mysterious and unconfined by any specific rules or belief systems. Just “on.”

Or, as the late, very much-lamented Mr. Earl, master spinner of vintage rock ’n’ roll platters for the late, lamented KUSP, used to sign off, “Catch you on the Flip Side!”

But I agree with tribute-writer Claire Norman that James’ art was the expression of his soul.

In this 2011 piece of his, “Act of Creation,” I see James as the central figure, firmly rooted to the earth, but with little batons of bright ideas swirling around inside him, while the fruits of his imagination rise up like stars!

Wherever my Art Boy has gone on to, those stars must be just as bright.

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