I've been having a difficult time thinking of the right words over the past week or so since I learned about the death of my student Antoine Capitani. I don't deal with these things very well and putting down my thoughts into words is always a struggle.
I became Antoine's art teacher after I did an Art Tea's at Eagle Hill's Cultural Center. I had received an e-mail from the school's art teacher Pat Bock telling me a young student in her class would like to know if I would be willing to teach private lessons for him at the school.
This was the first time I got a chance to meet Antoine. Over the past year I watched his talents flourish as I continued with his lessons as well as working with him during the Artist in Residence program. Much like Antoine himself, his work was very honest and genuine. What he was feeling he put down on paper. I tried my best to help him cultivate those ideas into illustrations while also paying tribute to many of the artist he admired such as Magritte.
Fellow artist Veronica Fish who took part in the Artist in Residence and got to know Antoine as well posted an illustration of his on her own blog called The Dreaming. It was one of the first projects we worked on together.
In that one we payed tribute to his favorite artist Magritte and I can still remember suggesting that he do the lines for the clouds in marker.
Another one of his biggest strenghts was his use of color and his fearlessness in mixing colors. He really didn't take to coloring on Photoshop when I showed it to him. It just lacked the passion of coloring things by hand for him.
When I got the message about Antoine's death Wednesday morning it hit me hard. I felt like not only the world had lost a really talented and original artist but it also lost probably one of the nicest kids I have ever met.
Antoine was always kind and always genuine. Every lesson he would ask how I was doing and after Syd and I got married how my wife was doing.
Sometimes we forgot, or at least we don't see, the positive effect we have on the people around us. And what a giant hole we leave in people's lives when we're gone.
Two of my prize possessions are a t-shirt he made of one of his prints and a thank you card he made for me at the end of the Artist in Residence. I recently bought a frame for it and hung it in my studio.
I was also very happy to hear that Eagle Hill did a showing of Antoine's work after the Memorial Service they had for him on Monday. I was sorry I wasn't able to make it to the service or the show. I think I could have really used it.
I will miss Antoine. He was my student and for everyone who had the privilege of meeting he was a good friend.