I heard the terrible news that Steve Emmett, a painting and drawing professor at Edinboro University of PA (where I studied), passed away Saturday, March 15.
I never personally had him as a professor while there, but I did have a run-in with him last October when I went to Edinboro to give a lecture about Flash animation. We ended up talking for a few hours, about his life up to his then current status, and I told him my short story and where a bunch of Edinboro students are working, some of whom he remembered from his classes.
He told me about how when he was younger he lived in Ventura, CA for a while, Colorado and a few other states before realizing that he didn't need to move around to find happiness. He said he was happy in the small town of Edinboro, able to pass his knowledge of art onto future artists at the school and still able to be a painter at home. He said "Let's be honest with each other, I know where I stand as an artist and I'm just not that great. I'm good, ya know, but not great." He did say he was OK with that, but those thoughts stuck with me for a while. At the time I tried encouraging him by saying many artists create work throughout their lifetime, and may not achieve artistic success in their lifetime, but do afterward. He agreed in part with me, but kept insisting his art was just alright, not memorable. I remembered and sincerely enjoyed his work from the faculty exhibits.
He left a lasting impression with me that I will always remember from that one conversation. He was very proud when I told him what many Edinboro students are working on in LA, NY and around the world. He talked proudly, and briefly, about his artistic sons. I know I'll always remember how full of life he was just a few months ago. My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
Here's a few of his paintings to remember him by that I grabbed from the Edinboro University website.