It took a while for me to think about writing anything in reference to the death of my friend Luther E. Vann last month because when it occurred I was already working on a different kind of essay about his life and art. Slamming the breaks on that project, going into a tailspin of grief, and then finally regaining focus took some work.
These days a lot of people––maybe too many people––know that feeling of sanity-shattering loss. Surely, even as I type these words, the tens of thousands fleeing the inferno in Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, can feel the pain of it.
So can others around the globe who find their attention directed toward the news of a toddler killed while fleeing a war zone with siblings not yet in their teens, a mother or father lost to yet another mass shooting, or a pestilential outbreak that suddenly changed with no warning whatsoever the spiraling course of human history.
Psychic Interiors, Cityscapes, and Multiverses
Consequently, I had to wait. But soon enough it became apparent that, more than anything else, he would have wanted an article (or two or three or more) that extended our conversations on the pitfalls and triumphs of living lives immersed in pursuits of inspired creative visions.
Chronicling Legacies of Black Artists in Savannah-Georgia
- History and Erasure: Chronicling Legacies of Black Artists in Savannah (part 1)
- Of Laureates and Visionaries: Chronicling Legacies of Black Artists in Savannah (part 2)
- The Jazz Factor: Chronicling Legacies of Black Artists in Savannah (part 3)
The scope is expansive and inclusive because Luther’s work was the same. In my attempt to communicate something more dynamic than tear-flooded woe, the essay presents a view of the artist’s life and work through multiple lenses. They place in context issues like the erasure of history (a.k.a. erasures of history), and the cultivation of different creative influences.
Counted among the latter are the late novelist and Nobel Prize for Literature winner Doris Lessing, especially where the impact of her novel The Golden Notebook is concerned.
The essay also examines the role that the music of iconic masters of jazz like piano virtuoso Thelonious Monk played in Luther’s creative processes.
Background Color Schemes
The different background color schemes of yellow-gold (seen in the art graphic for this blog post), purple (presented with the second installment), and black (the third) are not arbitrary. In addition to being important to his uniquely-applied craftsmanship, they were also important to what he called his “particular language of painting,” the one that made it possible for him to say what he needed to say about humanity, about the mysteries of the cosmos, and, about himself.
© Bright Skylark Literary Productions