Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A deluxe limited edition volume richly illustrated with paintings and drawings by artist David Delamare.
Deluxe slip-cased book of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" featuring a newly researched text and 94 new illustrations by David Delamare.
Deluxe slip-cased book of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" featuring a newly researched text and 94 new illustrations by David Delamare.
826 backers pledged $83,372 to help bring this project to life.

DAVID DELAMARE 1951-2016

65 likes

On September 19th, artist and musician David Delamare died suddenly of natural causes in his Portland, Oregon studio at the age of 64.

He is survived by his wife Wendy Ice, his mother Una, his rabbit muses, a giant tortoise, and many friends and patrons.

David Delamare was born in December 1951 in Leicester, UK but lived almost all of his life in the Hawthorne District of Portland, Oregon. 

Delamare was not his given name. In early adulthood, he borrowed the stage name of his maternal grandmother, a British vaudeville dancer known as “Ida Delamare.”

David was always an artist—drawing, painting, and making picture books, even as a small child. His mother Una encouraged his imagination by sewing costumes, making stuffed animals, providing art supplies, taking him on “magic walks,” and turning friends away at the door when he preferred to draw or paint.

David was proud never to have held a “real” (non-art-related) job. In his early adulthood, he paid the bills by playing in a blues band, repairing stained glass, and working as a sign painter. 

He developed his signature visual style very early. Though his technical skills and choice of media evolved over the decades, his work was always immediately recognizable.

In his twenties, David made a living applying that style to business commissions. But he never surrendered to the financial pressure to do work that was strictly commercial, and at the earliest opportunity, he left the world of commissions behind.

David's visual ideas rose from a deep cultural foundation. He was a serious student of music, art, and philosophy. The week before he died, he listed his favorite books, in no particular order, for a planned Facebook post. This is that list:

Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry,  Ulysses by James Joyce,   Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov,   I, Claudius by Robert Graves,   Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll,   An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser,   Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison,   As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton,   Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie,  The Wapshot Chronicles by John Cheever,  A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess,  The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West,  Molloy Trilogy by Samuel Beckett,  Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh,  Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy,  To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf,  Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham,  American Pastoral by Philip Roth,  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald,  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens,  Moby Dick by Herman Melville,  Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov,  The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy, and Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis

David was a devoted cinephile. (A list of his 100 favorite films may be found here.)  So he was delighted to receive a commission by director Francis Ford Coppola to develop production sketches. He also created production paintings for Warner Brothers Animated Features.  

His artwork appeared in television shows, including Marsalis on Music and in the background of various feature films, most recently Amy Schumer's Trainwreck

David did not automatically accept such offers. Over the years, he turned down multiple requests to illustrate celebrity books. If an idea didn’t inspire him, he didn’t paint it. David believed that creativity required momentum and to step off the path, even briefly, could mean losing his way.

David was passionate about live theater. He was a particular fan of Shakespeare and was a regular visitor to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

 

 

He also enjoyed modern playwrights including Tom Stoppard, Samuel Beckett, Alan Bennett, Edward Albee, and, especially, Harold Pinter. Once, he designed sets and costume concepts for an American production of Trevor Nunn's Peter Pan.  

David was also a musician and composer. He was a professional blues guitarist in his youth but set his instrument aside for more than three decades. A few years ago, he began composing again, plugging the Gibson “Melody Maker” guitar of his youth into an iPad. When he died, he had just recorded music and written lyrics for his first full-length album. 

David illustrated his first book, The Hawk’s Tale in 1988. This was followed by The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1990), The Nutcracker (1991), his own original story The Christmas Secret (1991), The Twelve Days of Christmas (1992), his adaptation of Cinderella (1993), his original story, The Man in the Moon and the Hot Air Balloon (1996), and Midnight Farm (1997), a collaboration with Carly Simon.

Over the years, David’s paintings appeared in books, magazines and on album covers. They also found their way into the collections of both the Mazza Museum (in Ohio) and the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (in Texas.) His book, Cinderella, was also featured in the "The Cinderella Project" at the University of Southern Mississippi.

David’s work was widely beloved, but its sophisticated sensibilities and subdued tertiary color palette sometimes made it challenging to market. Publishers and manufacturers pressured him to add color, remove nudity, or otherwise make the work more “accessible.” Publishers also sought consistency, to “build a brand,” but David was unpredictable. One day he might paint a “children’s” image and the next day a nude.

His range of subject matter never seemed inconsistent to David or his partner Wendy. They saw all the images as part of the same imagined world. In fact, in recent years, they began developing and writing characters for an underground world that encompassed all the various elements that appeared in David's paintings. Hints of this may be found in this slideshow:

 

In the year 2000, Collins & Brown published Mermaids & Magic Shows: The Paintings of David Delamare. The book showed the full range of Delamare images, but this was not typical.

In 1999, Wendy (then David's girlfriend) established an independent print and card publishing business (Bad Monkey Productions) to grant David more creative flexibility. This was the beginning of his gradual break from traditional galleries and publishers.   

In 2001, David finally produced an “edgier” book, Animerotics: A Forbidden Cabaret in 26 Acts. The publisher, while comfortable with nudity, was puzzled by David’s conceptual notion. In response, Wendy conceived a faux-historical “back-story” which the couple co-wrote.

Over the next dozen years, David and Wendy scrambled to make a modest living with painting and print sales. Meanwhile, David developed book projects but set them aside for possible future self-publication.

By 2013, the downturn in the economy had plunged the art studio into debt, and the couple doubted they could survive without making the work more "commercial."

In December of that year, at the suggestion of friends, they turned to patrons, launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund their first self-published book—a deluxe illustrated version of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The campaign was a success and seemed to promise the answer to the problem David had faced since his youth—how to make entirely authentic art while paying the bills.

Meanwhile, the two were collaborating on an animated adaptation of David’s book, The Christmas Secret and, after nineteen and a half years together, decided to marry in a tiny living room ceremony.

The enthusiasm of Kickstarter patrons led the couple to expand their goals and, ultimately, the book became David's most ambitious published project, with 96 color images (possibly a new record for Alice) a unique layout, and a new scholarly text. 

But the improvements and a problematic print run put the studio more than two years behind schedule and deeper in debt.

Finally, eight years into the project, on Friday, September 16th, David and Wendy received and approved the reprinted book elements for binding. 

The mood that weekend was celebratory. The Alice book was complete, and David had just finished the last painting for the team's next book (a collection of fairy images).

David spent the weekend putting his studio in order, carefully labeling notebooks, arranging art supplies, and filing paperwork. On the evening of Sunday, September 18th, he visited an old friend’s house to see a new private library while Wendy went out with a backer friend to see a band.  David had seen a video of the band and asked Wendy to assess the vocalist, so it became a sort of scouting trip. 

That night Wendy played the band's music for David and they agreed to invite the vocalist to record.  It was the perfect ending to a week of creative resolution.

As Wendy prepared for bed,  David’s bunny muse Rupert Quincy suddenly refused to eat. Such behavior in a rabbit can be dangerous, so Wendy stayed up, and the couple took turns for hours rubbing Rupert's belly and force-feeding him water. At last Rupert ate and Wendy was free to sleep.

David tucked her in as he had done without fail for twenty-two years and they spoke about how their artistic dreams had come together at last, how they had finally hit their stride as collaborators, and how fortunate they were to share philosophies and passions.

A few hours later, Wendy woke and realized that David wasn’t beside her. She would find him, seated on the floor, beneath his easel, where he often played with the rabbits. But, in the words of Lewis Carroll, he had "softly and suddenly vanished away."

After eight full years of work on the Alice book, David died on the very day that it began binding. He left with all his major work complete, all his affairs in order, in his favorite room, in his signature clothing (black v-neck t-shirt and Levis) with his beloved rabbits, at his favorite time of day, having just expressed contentment and love to his wife.

If it’s possible to have a perfect death, David Delamare had one.

A few days before, David took this photo from the front porch at a similar hour: 

He wrote of the moment, “Last night I stepped out for a breath of heady fall air—deserted streets, a hint of yellow on the horizon and the strains of Tom Waits coming from a parked pick-up. I suddenly felt as though the fabric of the universe could easily accommodate a child fairy hitching a piggyback from a dapper insect.”

This last painting was the result:

SOME PERSONAL NOTES FROM WENDY

Though I felt obligated to write the long article above for release on social media, it feels far too impersonal for communicating with you.

We all recognize that a list of interests and achievements doesn’t begin to capture what we love about a person, and David's work will always speak more eloquently of him than any words by someone else.

But it's good to talk about his death and how it affects us, and I hope that you will feel free to share your thoughts.   (Note: the Alice book is fine and expected to arrive here by November 10th.  You'll find details below.)

LIKELY QUESTIONS

WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG TO ANNOUNCE DAVID’S DEATH? 

If you’ve followed my Kickstarter updates, you know that I value relationships and reflection more than anything. You also know I believe that difficulties offer profound opportunities for meaning, depth, and community.

When David died, I knew that, if I paid close attention, this was likely going to be one of the most important internal growth periods of my life. But I also knew that if I was swallowed up in the busyness of related tasks and the tidal wave of communications that I might fail to grasp whatever meaning and lessons the situation might offer.

It might sound odd, but I didn’t want to “miss” David’s death. I wanted to be fully present for it and to let it inform and transform me. I also wanted others to be able to have a meaningful experience, so I had several goals:

I wanted to give David’s close friends a chance to process the information before David’s death became just another social media “post.” If a friend needed to talk for three hours on the phone, or come over and sit with me, I wanted to give them that opportunity. (No doubt I have missed some of those calls to close friends. If I missed you, I’m truly sorry. Let me know, and we’ll make time to meet and talk.)

I wanted to be fully available to David’s 92-year-old mother as she grieved the sudden loss of her only child. (She moved in and stayed with me until yesterday when she felt strong enough to go home.)

I wanted to take the time to reflect on David’s life and death and share any resulting insights with you. 

I wanted to deliver this news on a weekend, to minimize the likelihood that it would disturb you at work. I was planning to post earlier this weekend. Then I realized that this was a holiday (Halloween) weekend.  So, I’ve waited until you are likely to be done with any festivities.

I wanted to have at least one full day just to be with backers without any distraction. So Sunday, I’ll just stay home and respond to your comments. I know I won’t be able to answer everyone right away. But I’ll do my best over the coming days. 

WHAT CAUSED DAVID'S DEATH?

The Medical Examiner chose not to conduct an autopsy because the death appeared "natural." They attributed it to probable arteriosclerotic heart disease. David's physician received the death certificate yesterday and called to give his condolences. We went over David's entire health history together and didn’t find anything that strongly predicted this. But at the end of the conversation, the doctor asked, “was he under stress?” Umm, well…that's a long story.

WERE THERE ANY PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS?

Not really. David did have colon cancer eight years ago, and it’s possible that it or the chemotherapy might have weekend his system. Also, in April 2015 he briefly lost consciousness (while we were watching a film). He was kept overnight for observation and subjected to a battery of heart and vascular tests as well as a brain scan. Things weren’t perfect, but they found nothing that required medication or monitoring.

I often wondered whether it was the Alice book that saved David from cancer.  Now I wonder if the stress of the Alice book might have killed him. (It's possible for both things to be true.)  There is a third possibility that is even more interesting.  If the need to finish Alice kept David alive, it's possible that all the problems and delays with the book kept him here longer.  What if the book had delivered on time?  Would David have died then?  We'll never know.

WILL THERE BE A MEMORIAL?

David would not have wanted a traditional funeral. In fact, he probably would have asked us to do nothing, but would have reluctantly allowed an event to celebrate his life. 

After we’ve all had some time to heal and reflect, I will host a public event. Symbolically, I like the idea of gathering in the spring and timing it with the launch of our fairy book campaign.

The event will include a slideshow, his music, and maybe an art show. (Feel free to write to me privately to suggest other ideas or offer assistance.)

I want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in some way, so I have designated an email address specifically for you to send any writing or photos (of David, you with David, or you with his artwork). A few of these submissions might be included in the slideshow, but most will be used in a digital book which I will make available for everyone to download on the day of the event. Please take your time with these reflections. I won’t have a chance to begin compiling the things you send until after the new year.

Submissions for the digital memorial book or slideshow should be sent to david.delamare.art@gmail.com (This email address will be used strictly for this purpose.)

I will also be sure to stream (and record) the memorial so that everyone can see it regardless of their location.

WHAT HAPPENED TO DAVID'S REMAINS?

It was David's wish to be cremated, and that's been done. But I feel it’s important that those who loved him have a place to go and "be with him." So, I’ve reserved a beautiful grave, under an old chestnut tree, at the local pioneer cemetery. It's within walking distance of our home, so I'll be able to visit often.

The Lone Fir Cemetery is so lovely that it was once named by National Geographic as one of the “Top Ten Cemeteries to Visit” (worldwide). I made about six trips with family and friends to find the ideal plot. The umbrella in the photo below marks the spot where David's ashes will be interred.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE ALICE BOOK?

Remarkably, David’s death hasn't altered our schedule much. Since the book began binding on that very day, it was entirely out of my hands for several weeks, and I was free to focus on personal matters.

The old books are going to be shredded on Monday, and the new books are expected to arrive here in Portland, Oregon by November 10th. Between now and then I'll be studying backer records and preparing an email that will go out to each of you to confirm your book reservations.

Though we have a new, highly reputable printer and the finished samples looked gorgeous (far superior to the book produced last year), we will need to spend a few days doing a general inspection of the delivery. Then, if things are acceptable, I will write to all book backers and ask them to confirm their reservations so we can ship in plenty of time for Christmas.

There is just one unavoidable problem. David can’t sign the book. Fortunately, every book backer received at least six signatures—on the five stretch posters and the thank you card. (International backers will receive those with their books.)  I'm so glad now that we got carried away with stretch rewards and that David signed them early.

The copyright page of the book indicates that patron books are signed, but it doesn’t say by whom, so the obvious solution is to have me sign them. (As publisher, designer, co-editor, and someone who spent more time on the final drawings than David did, this is reasonable. )

When I send out your reservations, I’m going to ask you to let me know if you don’t want me to sign your book(s). If I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume that my signature is fine.

I’m also going to ask you a huge favor. After all the things you've tolerated, I’m reluctant to ask for anything, but I would like to sign the books without inscriptions or personalizations.

We didn’t think things through when we offered those options. Inscriptions would make the shipping process extraordinarily complicated and dramatically increase the risk of error. (In fact, we immediately regretted the decision and were dreading the way it was going to slow things down.)

I’m hoping you’ll forgive me for just signing your book (or, in the case of a gold, silver, or bronze book, signing and numbering it). By keeping things simple, we’ll be able to get books out much more quickly.

Frankly, there’s another reason for this request. I’m doing well emotionally and haven’t had the kind of complete meltdown I would have expected following such a loss. But I don’t know how the next few weeks are going to feel. If a large sadness starts creeping in, with its attendant lack of focus or energy, the frustrating complexity of inscriptions might just tip me over the edge into depression, and that won’t serve anyone.

The new book interiors look dramatically better than the old ones.     This is due partly to the many painstaking improvements I made to the drawings last spring.  Also, I doubled the resolution on most images (from 300 to 600).  But, finally, we're using an entirely different, new "stochastic" printing technology that uses a much finer, random dot pattern.

After all the problems we had last year, I wasn't going to take any chances.  I chose the best printer I could find and then hired a new print broker with solid color management skills to oversee the project. 

In late August, I traveled to Seattle to do book proofing with the broker and everything went beautifully. Of course, I came home excited to tell you. I posted on the Alice Facebook Page and began writing an update. But right in the middle of it, I received one of those “anniversary” posts from Facebook in which they show you what you were doing the year before.

There it was, mocking me, a perky announcement from 2015, saying that we had finished proofing. It was a cruel reminder that we had lost a full year and had been at this same place before only to have the printer botch the printing. 

I suddenly felt uneasy and decided not to say anything before seeing the actual printed pages. On Friday, September 16th we finally received them.

They were gorgeous. David pronounced them “f—ing spectacular.”  (David almost never swore, so this was high praise.)  Sometimes the pages didn’t look exactly like the proofs, but in those cases, David preferred the book.  I kept asking him, “are you sure?” to which he’d respond, “Absolutely—I can’t stop looking at it.”

It was true, all weekend, I kept finding him with the book. He was so happy. And I suddenly knew absolutely that every delay, every worry, and every expense had been worth it. Our collective commitment to quality had finally paid off. It might take us years to dig out of debt, but the book would last forever.

I think it was on Sunday morning that I finally let myself look through the book as a reader rather than a publisher, pretending to see it as you might, and I wept. The tears were happy, relieved and, above all, grateful. We had finally succeeded. 

Of course, I couldn’t wait to tell you. Sunday afternoon I snapped pictures, trying to show you how much it had improved from the year before. David said if I was willing to wait until the next day, that he would help but I waved him away telling him I didn’t want to wait. The news was too exciting. That turned out to be the last day of his life.  

This is just one example of the pages of the old and new books laid side-by-side.  The hare on the left (from last year) was too dark and poor printing resulted in a red hue.  Note, also, that when I revisited the drawings, I returned to the organic lower edges (rather than using a digital "gradient" fade).  This involved a lot of extra work because I had to mask around every tiny pencil mark, but I think the effect is desirable.

HOW CAN I HELP?

You really needn’t do anything at all. You’ve already done so much to support us with your pledge and your long patience. 

But friends are asking and, to be entirely honest, the next few months are going to be a financial struggle.  So, as much as I love flowers, if you are thinking of sending any, please consider a donation instead.  (Also, I'm trying to keep things as "normal" as possible, which will be hard to do if the house looks like a florist shop. ) 

In the spring, I plan to launch the fairy book campaign, and I hope that some of you will support it. The book, if funded, will be in the same size and format as Alice, so it will make a beautiful companion piece.  Of course, almost by definition, that project is bound to go more smoothly than this one.  

If you want to purchase anything, the daviddelamare.com and delamare-alice.com websites are functional, but I haven't updated them to remove hand-signed items.  (Giclée prints will ship with digital signatures.)   

Please don't plan to reserve any extra books quite yet. Given all the delays, I'd prefer to get existing backer book reservations out as quickly as possible then, after you've seen the books, circle back for additions.

If you'd like to write to me, I'm at:

Wendy Ice, PMB 1012, 4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214-5246

(Note that this is just a post office box, not a business or residence.)

If you want to send a digital donation, you can use this Paypal link.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The vast majority of David’s paintings have never been seen except by the individuals who own them. And there are journals and sketches here that no one but David has seen (not even me). 

I gave David a lot of solitude, and though he didn’t mind me (or anyone) looking in his notebooks, I seldom did. Now I find myself dipping into those books and discovering new facets and depths to his imagination. There is so much to see, and it’s so rich and interesting, that I’m only allowing myself a tiny bit at a time.

It's exciting to realize that after twenty-two years of living and working with David, there is still so much to discover. And I’m eager to share what I find with you. 

David is not gone. And there is still time for all of us to get to know him much better. With your help, I’d like to develop a comprehensive retrospective project that will allow everyone to see his body of finished work (1000+ images) as well as his sketches, photos, stories, and writing fragments. This will take several years to produce and will require multiple volumes. 

I will slowly work on this retrospective in the background while I work on the other planned projects (a fairy book, a mermaid book, a book of figurative pieces, Alice playing cards, Mermaid playing cards, etc.)  

A generous couple has helped by offering me a legal budget to protect David’s work after my death. They are also donating a fire safe for David’s journals and photos.

The retrospective will be a huge job, and I’ll need a lot of support and help to make it happen. But I think it’s important, partly to protect David’s legacy, but even more as a general contribution to the art world. David was so focused, so prolific, and so multi-talented (painting, writing, and composing) that his collective body of work seen as a whole will give a valuable window into the creative process. 

A FEW PERSONAL INSIGHTS

"We have no cause to be mistrustful of our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors they are our terrors; if it has abysses those abysses belong to us, if dangers are there we must strive to love them. And if only we regulate our life according to that principle which advises always to hold to the difficult, what even now appears most alien to us will become most familiar and loyal. How could we forget those old myths which are to be found in the beginnings of every people; the myths of the dragons which are transformed, at the last moment, into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our life are princesses, who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrifying is at bottom the helplessness that seeks our help."

—Rainer Maria Rilke (translated from the German by Reginald Snell)

I have, from the first day, felt remarkably calm, centered, and at peace about David’s death. This astonishes me and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure it if would last. (This was another reason I wanted to wait to communicate—I didn't want to tell you I was fine only to say a couple of weeks later that I was in a deep depression and couldn't ship books.)

I always imagined that if I ever lost David, I would be inconsolable. But while this peace is surprising, it is not mysterious. I can explain it, and I want to, in part because I hope it will bring others peace as well.

I have written to you almost every day, beginning with the night that David died. But the writing has been long, circuitous, fragmented and often repetitive (because I come back to an idea and approach it from a different angle.) This is usually, the nature of my writing to you, but this time the complexity is even greater.

So, today, I finally just set all my notes aside and quickly typed this condensed version.  Here, in no particular order are a few of the thoughts I've had:

I am deeply grateful that David died in the way that he did—without fear, suffering, or loss of faculties. I could tell by the position that I found him in (on the floor with the bunnies, leaning back, nothing disturbed, just a few feet from the phone) that whatever happened was instantaneous. 

Eight years ago, in December 2008 (the same year he started the Alice project), David was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer (stage IIIc) and given a 50% chance of surviving five years. We kept it secret in order to allow David to focus on his work and to protect his mother from the knowledge. 

He went through major surgery and chemo.  Many of you know what it was like—the seemingly endless appointments, the waiting for test results, and the constant anxiety of uncertainty. 

It was a great gift, that cancer. It taught us both to focus even more deeply, cherish each other, say everything that needed to be said, and never take tomorrow for granted. 

David might very easily have died in surgery, so every day after that surgery felt like a gift, a bonus, that might not ever have been granted.

But during that first year I suffered, because I couldn’t help imagining all the things that David might endure—pain, fear, or loss of faculties. I was terrified thinking of those possibilities. Sometimes I’d find myself walking down the street just weeping at it all. So within hours of David’s death, I felt relief that none of those nightmarish fears would ever come true.

As a side note, I don’t think David was ever very comfortable with the idea of growing old. Some part of him was probably a little disgruntled that we had just registered him with Medicare (the U.S. insurance plan for “seniors.”)

There was a moment, a few days after his death when I found David's mother sitting and smiling. “What are you thinking?” I asked. 

She, who is currently struggling with the indignities and frustrations of aging, said: “ I guess our Peter Pan will never be elderly.” 

 “That seems somehow right, doesn’t it?” I asked. 

 “Yes.”

I’m glad that I found David’s body. I’m pointing this out because I know that some of you must be horrified at the idea that I had that experience. But the very visceral experience of having time with David’s body (and doing the chest compressions that the emergency dispatcher requested) made the reality of his death absolutely real. I have not since his death, even once, forgotten that he’s gone or had the feeling that he is in the next room. This was a very good thing, and my heart breaks for those who don’t have that kind of “closure.”

—I’m new to death. I’ve never had to lose someone very close. But on that first night, determined to accept the new reality, I found myself throwing out all his toiletries (except cologne) and thinking how “normal” it all was. All the hubbub that had occurred in the hours before—the paramedics, the police, the examiners, the volunteer, the transporters, was strange and disruptive, but death itself is just part of the fabric of life. Losing David suddenly made me feel very comfortable with that fact.

David had just wrapped up all his major projects. As described above, he had just approved the Alice pages and finished the last painting for the fairy book. (He didn’t even have anything new waiting on the easel.) I had teased him, suggesting that he would surely paint more fairies, but he had said "no"—he really did think he was done. He had also finished composing all the music and lyrics for his first record album and had selected a vocalist. Given the fact that David was almost always midway through at least one major project, the timing of his death was miraculous. In fact, I imagine his passing as a kind of satisfied exhalation, the deepest possible sigh of contentment. And I can’t think of anything more beautiful

David’s life was not cut short. It was, by any meaningful standard, complete. Life doesn’t come with a guaranteed length based upon actuarial tables. None of us knows how long we’ll be here. The measure of a life isn’t how long it is but how well it is spent. 

David was one of those rare individuals who always knew precisely what he wanted to do and did it. He also had a lot of encouragement and support. He accomplished an extraordinary amount and then left projects behind (for which he has finished his part) so that his work will unfold for years beyond his death.

David is not “absent.” His physical body is gone, but he is very much here as a result of his art. His art remains vital and will continue to communicate with those who have the eyes to see. One of the songs in his record album has this refrain: "You can talk to me when I'm gone."  Indeed, we can.

 —I do not feel cheated. I had twenty-two extraordinary years with David—living and working together in the same space, even collaborating. Do I wish I had more? Yes, but I also have a deep clear sense that the timing of David’s death was right and that it fits into some greater work that I have to do. Part of that will be David’s retrospective (which will take me years to complete). But I think my larger work has something to do with patronage. You have taught me so much in these past years, and I want to take what I’m learning out into the world. David's death and how our community takes it in stride will be one of the stories I tell.   

I feel sadder for David's friends than I do for myself. David was reclusive, and we both worked long hours. I think everyone (except me) who loved him is feeling a little cheated right now. All I can offer is the reminder that he is still very much here and available to us by way of his art. In the coming years, I will gradually release much work that has never been seen. I will also share the discussions David and I had about the creative process. There will be many opportunities for all of us to get to know David better.

Authentic art is a distillation of a human being. If we pay attention, we will find more in David’s works than we ever could have discovered in conversation with him. This is, in part, because his work contained unconscious elements and associations that were invisible even to him. David trusted his imagination. He did not analyze it or look for symbols. When an intriguing image rose up, he simply expressed it. 

I know and appreciate David better right now than I ever have. I no longer see him through the veil of petty day-to-day concerns, needs, and frustrations. All that has fallen away and I can see him at his most essential. And the more I see, the more I love. I don’t believe he’s here in a ghostly sense, but I talk to him every night, marveling at how extraordinary he was. In fact, I have come to believe that we cannot fully see anyone while they’re alive.  I’ve thought about this before, but it’s very clear to me now.

I feel sad, of course. The deep and profound things keep getting larger and more beautiful, but I find myself missing the small things. I got a massage yesterday in preparation for this update (my first in a very long time, since I can’t afford them). I found myself weeping on the table when the therapist touched my feet because I missed David’s feet.

But when I cry for David (and, so far, the tears have never lasted more than a few minutes) I invariably find myself smiling in gratitude. I see so clearly that my pain is in direct proportion to my prior happiness. When I think, “I miss…” I might just as well say, “I loved…” Missing David is just a delayed celebration of all that he was.

I am sad because I was fortunate enough to love. I am sad because I had the best friend one could hope for. I am sad because David was a marvelous confidante and conversationalist. I am sad because I loved the sound of his voice. I am sad, in short, because I’ve been happy. 

This new sadness does not in any way diminish my previous happiness. All those moments still exist and always will. But now I can also treasure the sadness. It is a new gift to add to the old ones.

But I am not sad for David. Nor can I grieve the entirely-imaginary, never-promised, future years I might have had with him, because the twenty-two, full-time absolutely real years we shared were far too rich to leave any room for any feeling of unfulfillment. Remembering and reflecting upon them is gift enough to last me whatever time I might have left.

It can be sweet to share pain. The worst thing I've ever had to do was to tell David's mother about his death. I asked a physician-backer-friend for advice. Had he ever had to deliver such news? “Over 500 times,” he said, then added, “I became addicted to it.” Addicted? To that? I had to know more.

He explained that it was a great and meaningful honor to be with another human being at such a time of extremity and vulnerability. He advised me to give up attempting to control anything, to let Una lead. He reminded me that she wouldn’t be able to hear what I was saying and would not remember much that followed. He urged me to simply love and be present.

This parallels what we’ve been through together. You have (metaphorically speaking) held my hand through some rough times and you’ve let me go through it as I’ve had to, without attempting to control things. (I know that many of you, though curious, have resisted asking me how things are going because you want to give me space and express trust.  It's always absolutely fine to ask at any time, but I treasure the fact that you have been so respectful and protective.) 

Telling Una that her only child had died was heart-rending. It was horrible, but we got through it. After the denial she sobbed while I comforted her, then I broke down, and she comforted me.  In the end, my friend was right; it was somehow beautiful and an honor.

After we survived that conversation I asked Una to stay in my home as long as she wanted (permanently if that had been her choice.) This was absolutely the right thing for both of us.  On night one I had been alone in the cold, empty house, shaking (probably from shock) under a heated blanket. On night two, with Una here, the house felt warm and cozy again.   Now it was, for a time, the two of us under the heated blanket, like teenage girls at a slumber party, telling stories and secrets, and celebrating our shared crush. We were strong for each other, and it eased the transition for both of us.  By the time that she left for home yesterday, the house had begun to feel relatively normal again.

David’s death is just one more chapter in our unfolding shared story. Like the other difficulties, we can look superficially and see this as “bad luck” or a “bad sign” or we can choose to embrace it as a profound opportunity to add meaning to our experience, reflect thoughtfully, and strengthen our connections. I hope you will choose to join me in diving deep.

You are the reason I am so strong right now.  You have steadfastly supported me through all the setbacks of the past several years and through that process, I've learned to find meaning in what is difficult.  Without all that practice and support, I'm certain I'd be in a very different state of mind.

IS THIS ALL RELEVANT TO OUR WORK TOGETHER? 

I think so. I’ve been saying for some time that what interests me most about this project is not the book but who we are as we create it. We can look at the book at a superficial level, as an object of paper and cloth and ink. Or we can look deeper and ask what it is that we’re truly engaged in.

David’s life was a creative triumph because he knew exactly who he was and he expressed that self with discipline, focus, consistency, and passion. He was an extraordinary role model for artists and, I think, for anyone who values authentic self-expression.

But David did not create in a vacuum. He was born to a mother who encouraged his talents from the earliest age and was still encouraging them in her last conversation with him. Then, for over twenty years, I protected him from the forces, such as dull responsibilities and commercial pressures, that would have taken him off course. Finally, you provided the patience and support (in all its various forms) that allowed him to complete his most ambitious project without any compromise. Without such patronage, David would have accomplished far less. He had a lot of help.

Every time that you formally choose to be a patron or quietly encourage someone's personal vision, you are enriching a life. And you never know when that life might end. To give encouragement or support is to shape a life "story."  It is a profoundly important act.

I believe that a patron’s generous energy (I’m tempted to call it “love”) matters more than any physical outcome. As many of you have already pointed out, this project is already a success, not because of the book, but because of who we have been together. The book will be a delightful souvenir, but our journey is the real accomplishment.

If we come to patronage not as consumers but in the sincere spirit of furthering creativity, risk, expression, and growth, we will measure projects in in terms larger than mere budgets and schedules (though those are important, too). We will also look at who the creators and backers are as they work together and how they allow themselves to be enlightened, challenged, or transformed by the experience.

And it is not just the creators who succeed or fail. The patrons do, too. Whatever one might think about this project or the way that we’ve handled it as “creators,” one has to marvel at the backers. We are over two years behind our original estimated schedule, and every single backer has been a model of civility.  Many have also modeled love. An objective observer might or might not feel that I have succeeded, but there is no question that you have. What you’ve done is extraordinary.

It’s also important to remember that I am just one person out of more than 800 on this team. Nothing I do can ever take away your achievement. If I turned out to be flaky or a charlatan or if the book didn't exist at all, it wouldn't diminish the dignity or worth of your actions. 

Meanwhile, all the difficulties that we’ve faced together only add to the richness of the project. For those who choose to have the experience, the difficulties have stretched us, confirmed our values, strengthened our connections, and revealed our humanity. This may all sound far too grand. This is only a book, after all, a tiny “investment.” But our lives are defined, in the end, by the aggregate of small gestures and seemingly minor choices.

Crowdfunding is an artificial and highly symbolic construct. We are, consciously or unconsciously, working with ideas and forces that have a deeper significance, even as alchemists once worked with material substances but were actually working on the soul. I have argued and will continue to argue that it is the deeper work we do together that matters most.

A FINAL NOTE:

David died happily.  Our last conversation, probably within an hour of his death, was a deeply contented one. It could have been about laundry, or gossip, or the election, but it was about shared passion, collaboration, and creative triumph.  You were responsible for the content of David's last words and my final memory of him.

You may not recall, though I've mentioned it before, that when I first approached you on Kickstarter, I was feeling pretty hopeless. I was deeply frustrated with my work. It increasingly looked as though the only way we could get back on our feet financially would be to make our work commercial. We could pay the bills but lose our souls.

Then we found you and there was new hope. I admit I got a little carried away with my enthusiasm and maybe I made the book overly ambitious. (I still haven’t told you all about our ridiculously time-consuming work on the text.)

Things went wrong, and we slipped further into debt, but we had a new faith and optimism, and it showed in everything we did. We were happier, more contented, and suddenly connected with a community.

Now that the book is done and looks gorgeous, I have absolutely no regrets, and I hope you won’t either. Of course, now that David is gone I’m particularly grateful that we never lost our nerve.

You gave us the confidence to stick to our vision—not with your initial pledge, but with your continued trust, patience, and support when things went wrong. Without your willingness to hang with us we would have pulled back, we would have cut corners, and David still wouldn’t have that thing that every artist dreams of—that one perfect, completely ambitious project without any compromise. Thank you for giving David’s story such a beautiful ending.

 

Aesgaerius, Geraldine A. Jeter, and 63 more people like this update.

Comments

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Laura Kolaczkowski on December 4, 2016

      Dear Wendy,
      I have been involved in my own life changes recently and had not seen this notice of David’s death until the mention of his passing in your recent email about shipping the Alice books. Your words give comfort to me and I’m sure the others who have taken the time to read your tribute to David and his work. My father passed unexpectedly on Oct. 1, and so much of what you say about grieving and celebrating with Una mirrors much of what my mother has experienced.

      Like so many others, your messages of updates and the looks into your life have made David and you members of our own family, and that sharing adds to the personal value I assign to this ‘project.’ The passion of your work and the talent of David, have turned what started out as just another Kickstarter project into much more than a book. The legacy of this project is both David’s and yours and I am happy you will be signing my copies in his place.

      I am so sorry about David’s death and wish he were here to begin more projects that brighten the world, but I am comforted by your words of his sense of completion and contentment, and now more than ever I anxiously await my delivery of Alice to celebrate its completion with you. Peace, Laura

    2. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on November 14, 2016

      Bo—thank you for your inspiring words. It IS wonders-full and remarkable that we found each other but just as wonder-full and remarkable that we found this family. The “Alice” book is, ultimately, as much your creation as it is ours. Without comments and emails like yours I’m certain I would have lost focus and energy along the way and settled for something less. Looking forward to more work and discoveries! (By the way, if you happen to find yourself down south—we’re going to do a little book event here in Portland on December 18th.)

      Chelle—there is so much new to see. And the next project will be just as ambitious as Alice.

      I’m so proud of you for all the great ways you’ve gotten your work out into the world. I’m sorry you had to deal with someone difficult. This “industry” attract so many folks who exploit artists, you are bound to encounter some. Thank goodness crowdfunding is offering some alternatives to those more traditional paths.

      Donna—thank you so much. I feel so blessed by the time I had with David. And I am similarly blessed by the wonderful friends I have made through this process. I look forward to sharing new adventures with you. And, though I’ll welcome any turns the roads may take, it will also be fine if things go smoothly for a patch!

    3. Missing avatar

      bo bricklemyer on November 12, 2016

      Dear Wendy,
      I am saddened and amazed. Can death be perfect, as well as inevitable? It seems the answer is "yes!"
      It is both wonder-full and remarkable that you two found each other and traveled the road you did - and because of that journey we will all have the book you both so caringly (and arduously) created. Thank you!
      And thank you for the thoughtful notification of news that we who never met him will now only get to do so in the ethereal sense -- as a part of experiencing that other deep reality singing through us -- and by appreciating the artist creations he has left for us to enjoy while we remain.
      In admiration and with love,
      Bo

    4. Chelle Destefano
      Superbacker
      on November 12, 2016

      Wow I would love to see the other projects he has finished :) I'm excited about getting the book soon and then backing his next project. We all here love you :) projects are going well, Paris exhibition went very well, but London that one there has been some awful shock for me where I had a whole collection of my artworks withheld in London by the organiser who was not genuine and cancelled my exhibition 1 hour before it was due to start and made up excuses. Still trying to get my artworks home and the money back, huge amount it was. But I'm home now and sorting through it all and planning my next project that involves a moon :) you will have seen my project update where there is a picture there of that. You are more than welcome to send abandoned pics my way anytime. Thinking of you and you can chat to me anytime you need to xo

    5. Donna Brearcliffe (aka Scanlon) on November 12, 2016

      Wendy - I'm just catching up on Kickstarter messages and I'm deeply saddened by the news of David's passing. My deepest sympathy for your loss. The words you've written paint a wonderful picture of David's life and of the time you and he had together. As I cried while reading, I found your words comforting. While I have never met you or David I feel that I have gotten to know you both through this project and your thoughtful updates throughout. I look forward to the future projects you have planned. I know I am on the opposite coast, but if there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to let me know. All my best wishes.

    6. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on November 2, 2016

      Thank you, Chelle. We have much more to do together. He had finished several big projects that still need help from all of us. Thank goodness for that. I'd be lost if I didn't have this connection with the Kickstarter family. I hope all your projects are going well. I haven't been able to keep up with everything lately. I think of you whenever I see a cool image of an abandoned space and am always tempted to forward photos.

    7. Chelle Destefano
      Superbacker
      on November 2, 2016

      I just read this with shock n sadness for you and his family. I understand u saying it was his time, right time similar to willy wonka who passed away n the right on the next night on our Australian tv our reality show on cooking sweets n cakes the levitating hat of willy wonka was the very episode that happened right before he passed and was aired just after he passed and we all over the nation were gobsmacked - timing! Your Dave's passing right after finishing the book is amazing but so sad. My thoughts and healing to you n I know he lives on always n through u too xox

    8. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on November 2, 2016

      Thanks, Sheri. It is definitely hard to wrap my mind completely around David's death. At a deep level, I see how miraculous his death was in its timing and I feel at peace.

      It's just the silly little things that throw me throughout the day. Nothing major, just the constant small reminders that this or that detail in my life has changed.

      But whatever I'm doing, I feel surrounded by love and support from this art/Kickstarter family and I just feel so grateful and blessed.

      I'm so glad that David was able to immortalize you and Clyde!

    9. Missing avatar

      Sheri Jurnecka on November 2, 2016

      Wendy, I was shocked and saddened to hear about David's untimely passing. Your words brought me and his other fans some degree of peace and understanding, but you have my utmost sympathy for your loss. I am truly honored to have been the benificiary of his great talent. Much love to you, Rupert, Chloe, and the rest of the menagerie.

    10. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on November 1, 2016

      David: thank you. Knowing David as well as I did, I can assure you that having his projects done would have meant everything to him. It's funny, I don't think he even had his next visual art project planned (very rare). This is exactly how he would have wanted to go. (Though another 30 years or so would have been ideal.)

    11. Missing avatar

      David H. Adler
      Superbacker
      on November 1, 2016

      I can only echo others' comments. I'm sad to hear this news, but somewhat less sad knowing that David was apparently settled and content when it happened.

      My thoughts go out to you and yours.

    12. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on November 1, 2016

      Maggie: Thank you. He definitely lives on in his work. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by it here. It's impossible to feel that he is gone.

      Frances : Thanks for exploring his other work. It all seem so consistent to me, though the superficial narrative changes. It was exciting to think about adding music to the mix in the future. I will definitely find a way to produce his album. Thanks, again.

    13. Frances Berkman on October 31, 2016

      Wendy; I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing such a moving tribute and for such a full story of the creation of this work and of David's life and art. This has prompted me to look up some of his older works and I am looking forward to seeing (and backing) his final project. What a team you made! Again, my deepest condolences.

    14. Maggie Allen on October 31, 2016

      I'm so very sorry for your loss. I'm glad he can live on through his work.

    15. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 31, 2016

      Steven Landau: Thanks so much. It will all work out. We've got a very large family to lean on. Thanks for being part of it.

      Ghylllebert: Thanks so much. Thank you for being part of this story and this family.

    16. Missing avatar

      Ghylllebert on October 31, 2016

      I'm proud to be a part of this wonderful story and sad that David is not there to receive my thanks and admiration. Me deepest condolences Wendy.

    17. Steven Landau
      Superbacker
      on October 31, 2016

      Wendy,
      I am literally speechless.
      You have all of my prayers!!!
      With sincere love,
      Steven Landau

    18. Steven Landau
      Superbacker
      on October 31, 2016

      Wendy,
      I am literally speechless.
      You have all of my prayers!!!
      With sincere love,
      Steven Landau

    19. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 31, 2016

      Su Carey: Thank you, we also enjoyed meeting you. I hope to be at the Bob's event next summer—this time with the Alice book in hand.

      Leith Macdonald: Thanks so much. It's funny, in our last conversation when he tucked me in, we talked about the evolution of our relationship and how for a time I had been resentful about doing all the practical work but that we had finally reached a point where we both felt fulfilled. But it's not that my work had changed so much. Though I had more creative work, I was still doing all the dull stuff as well. The difference was that now I was doing it out of love for this amazing community and it made all the difference. In the past, I could never have been excited about shipping, but I'm very excited about sending these books out to our Kickstarter family. And, of course, now that I know David's life was shorter than expected, I am really glad that I relieved him of practical distractions even if it meant putting some of my creativity on hold. Any task, when done with love can be satisfying.

    20. Leith Macdonald on October 31, 2016

      I cried, even though I've never met either of you. The two of you made a beautiful story of life and love together, that much is clear. David was so lucky to have you. Dealing with the everyday practicalities of making a living from creativity can be such a drain on inspiration and vision; you gave David the freedom to be an artist, and through you his imagination will be shared with us. I would be very honoured indeed to have your signature on my book. Love to you and the bunnies.

    21. su carey on October 31, 2016

      Wendy, I hope you know how I treasure meeting you and David, two other Alice lovers...I loved all your words here. You had the best full life together as friends- how lucky...so let me quote a little bit of Carroll: In a wonderland they lie,dreaming as the days go by,...
      Life, what is it but a dream?

    22. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 31, 2016

      Cindy Byhre: Thanks so much. I am really very much at peace. I know much of the strength comes from this Kickstarter family. I'm excited to share his legacy which is even richer than I knew.

      Brandon Viruet: I'm sorry to hear that you lost your mom. There's something very deep and special about the bond we have with our mothers. When David died, my mom was the first person I called. She came immediately and was a source of calm and strength. Looking forward to working with you on the fairy book!

    23. Missing avatar

      Brandon Viruet
      Superbacker
      on October 31, 2016

      Wow, Wendy. I'm speechless. I'm very sorry for your loss, but it sounds like it went as well as it could have. I lost my mom this time last year, but my mom's not my wife, so really I have no idea what you're going through. I wish you all the best. Count on my support for the fairy book. Signing off before I put my foot in my mouth. Know you are in my thoughts...

    24. Cindy Byhre on October 31, 2016

      Dear Wendy,
      I was so surprised and saddened to read the news of David this morning. He is still very much alive through you and his work. I would be honoured to have you sign my book. I hope the days get easier for you, and I believe that his legacy is meant to live on through you, who knew him best...

    25. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 30, 2016

      Alicia Elliot: thanks so much. He really did leave everything in order. It was nothing short of miraculous.

      Ulysses: First, know that you gave me the one of the greatest gifts of my life. You convinced me to launch this project. Without this beautiful community I would be lost right now. The Alice book journey prepared me for this next journey and I’m excited about the work ahead of us.

      We are all so interconnected. I opened that door years ago and you then opened a door for us. Who knows what new doors are about to open?

      I know in my heart of hearts that David’s death was right, that this was his time. David had a very concentrated life, very focused, very passionate. I know it seems he left early, but that’s based on some meaningless statistical data. In terms of the soul, he left at precisely the right time. I don’t know how I know that, but I do, just as I knew when I met him that I needed to be with him.

      Try to believe this and don’t waste a moment grieving him. Instead, celebrate this magical connection that we somehow managed to find—all because you had the courage to walk up to that door (twice). David and I will always be indebted to you—your instincts, your courage, and your persuasion. You did far more for us than we could ever do for you. I love you and am grateful that we are connected.

      Ethan: thank you SO much. It’s such a strange and wonderful symbiosis that we’ve developed. The inspiration is entirely mutual. I feel so deeply grateful for it and I’m so glad that we somehow stumbled into this together. I hope this is just the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship.

      Christopher T Hughes: Thank you. I think that the peace will continue because it comes from a very deep place. This community and the difficulties we’ve endured have given me the reason and the strength to explore and trust those depths. The peace comes from all of you. Trust me, alone I am fearful and uncertain. Together WE are amazing.

    26. Christopher T Hughes on October 30, 2016

      My sincerest condolences.

      You are an amazing person and I wish for you the continued peace that you have expressed throughout this update. I'm sure that others will write this but you have NOTHING to apologize for and it speaks to both your characters that you have anyway.

      Please keep us updated regarding future projects.

    27. Ethan on October 30, 2016

      Every Update on this project has somehow brought tears to my eyes, seriously every one. Not tears of sorrow or sadness, but tears of reflection and inspiration. Wendy you are a very strong person with a wonderful perspective on reality. Thank you for being you and for having the integrity to pull all of this off. You and this project will forever inspire me.

    28. Ulysses on October 30, 2016

      I don't know how to process this.

      Right now I am sitting on our dining room table, reading your worlds as the kids play with Legos and Danielle sweeps the floor. Outside it is a David day. Cool, overcast....a little rain.

      It has taken me all day to read this. I didn't want to. This is the truth. I didn't want to feel this right now. Danielle woke me at 8. She let me know David had died. I like staying up late, it is when my mind is most active. Sunday I sleep in, Sunday is the only day I recall my dreams. This morning I was lost in an odd dream, then awoken into what seems like another...

      I can't express this feeling. These thoughts. I was just a stranger who was too determined to meet the man who sat at the top of Mt Olympus. Seeing his work up and down the west coast was almost becoming a joke, he was everywhere!

      I think artists never know all the worlds they inhabit, their work lives on the walls of strangers. Their work spreads like dandelion seeds and they never know all the lives they touch.

      If you had not opened that door I never would have gotten to sit and speak with the both of you that day...16-17 years ago? Is that possible? That day is as fresh and real as yesterday was for me. I still remember David pointing to the full moon in one of my pieces and saying it was his favorite--that it was like the pause in music....this little bit of information set me on a path of artistic development that helped me grow as an artist.

      I hope David knew how much he meant to me. It may have not been much to him, but sharing his time and words was one of the most powerful moments in my life. Not many people would do that, in any walk of life.

      We treat strangers as threats, we keep people at arms length. The fact that the both of you were so welcoming helped me do the same in my life. I went on so many adventures, decided to pursue a path that was not safe or wise--because of that day I knocked on the studio door.

      This post is rambling. It still is a shock.

      Thank you, Wendy, for the hard work, for being you and for sharing this update. I can't put into words what I felt when you described him sitting at his easel. Those words is what cut through the wall of denial I had put up all day, as Danielle kept reminding me that I should read this update. Maybe if I waited another hour it wouldn't be real, or a mistake..,a dream. But now the image is beautiful.

      I will post again when I make sense...this was all just rambling babble. I am sorry...

    29. Alicia Elliott on October 30, 2016

      Wendy, I am so sorry to hear this news and send you and David's mother all my thoughts and condolences. David was incredibly talented, and if there is any happiness in this, it is that he left so peacefully and with 'all his ducks in a row' as such.
      Thank you for your beautiful message to us and take care of yourself!

    30. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 30, 2016

      Danielle Dickerson: thank you so much.

    31. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 30, 2016

      Thanks so much, Zoe. I think maybe sometime in the near future, I will ask local backers if they want to meet up somewhere to raise a glass to David. It would just be so nice to meet everyone face-to-face.

    32. Zoe Liddell on October 30, 2016

      I am so sorry, Wendy. Thank you for what you have written. I'm so glad to hear that David had his work on other projects wrapped up. I'll definitely be backing the next book as well.

      I feel so fortunate to have learned of David before the start of the Alice book Kickstarter. A friend bought one of his Alice themed cards to use as a birthday card for me as she knew I love all things Alice (naturally I still have said card.) I fell in love with painting the card had printed on it. Then to find out that you two were making the book was wonderful & backed the project.

      Finding out that you and David lived so close to me (I live in the Industrial District down closer to the Willamette River a good walk from the Hawthorne District) was so neat. I loved the idea that I was backing a local artist in my own small way.

      Please let me know if you need a hand with anything.

    33. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 30, 2016

      Teresa Koch: thank you so much. I feel very loved and supported and am going to be fine. Sending a hug to you.

    34. Teresa Koch on October 30, 2016

      Oh, Wendy - I am so sorry to hear of David's passing. At the same time, I am so happy that he was so content when he died.

      Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and with David's mother. If you need anything - ANYTHING - please don't hesitate to let us know.

      I'm sending a great big virtual hug from our family to you and yours. Take care and know that you are loved.

    35. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 30, 2016

      Olna: two typos in the same line! I meant to say "It IS sad and joyful, isn’t it, this being in this together? I am so glad you are part of this family." Thank you, again.

    36. Bad Monkey Productions Creator on October 30, 2016

      Peggy Tuttle : I’m so glad the words, helped. I feel very supported by you and this community. Thank you.

      Mike: Thank you so much.

      James W. Lloyd: I’m so glad the delay helped for you. (I worried that it might not be understood.) Know that David might not make more things, but there are many more things from him that none of us has seen. And I feel that all these things, both known and unknown, will continue pouring out their depths to us as long we are open to them. I feel that very deeply. There is so much more to see. Not at all done. I’m looking forward to continued travels with you.

      Jessica Twiss: Thanks for being such a regular part of our world. I hope that continues.

      Leewelo Lorekeeper: another poem! Even now. Yes, indeed, let us all rejoice!
      John Carr: Yes, what a journey it has been and will continue to be.

      Erica Sales: What a beautiful quote. Thank you. And, no, I do not feel at all alone.
      Pixie: You have shared in it more than you know. I hope that we will continue finding ways to build meaning through his work.

      George Alberigi III: Thank you. Love to you, too.

      Lorenzo Kristov: Thank you so much for your kind words and understanding, . also for calling this a family. For that is what it is to me. Thank you also for thinking of the bunnies. I meant to write of them, but forgot. I think they are on the mend. Rupert did his first “binky” the other day since David’s death (a bunny leap for joy). It made me know that he was on his way back. I am just sure that he knew David was in trouble that night and I know it’s been hard for him to have David gone. Thanks, again.

      Daniel Fowler: Your words brought tears to my eyes. Yes, it was such a gift to be with David’s body at the end, and I asked for (and received) more time with him.
      My heart breaks for you, thinking that you didn’t have that. Thank you so much for telling about the bottle. I will borrow that very idea. David loved his gin and tonics and I have his bottle here, untouched since he died. Whenever his loved ones want to drink to him, I will pour gin into the bottle before pouring some out and we will keep this bottle always. (I just went and found it to keep it separate from the others.) Of course, when we perform this ritual, I will also think of you and your son. Thank you for his service and for being who you are.

      Ola Jenn Smith: It IT sad and joyful, isn’t it, this being in this together? I am so glad you are part of this family.

    37. Danielle Dickerson on October 30, 2016

      Oh, Wendy, I don't even know what to say. I am shocked and deeply saddened by this unexpected news, and I am so very sorry for your loss. Sending love and condolences from the Dickerson family. Xoxo

    38. Olna Jenn Smith on October 30, 2016

      I am so sorry for your loss, and I am so sorry David is gone. I never, ever thought I'd cry over a Kickstarter creator? And I wouldn't have, without you. Without your bravery and your openness with us. So thank you for the fact that I do feel both sorrow, and joy. This project has changed my life too. One day I'll write to you about it. I look forward to being here as you move on to more projects.

    39. Missing avatar

      Daniel Fowler on October 30, 2016

      Wendy, I cannot begin to express my gratitude for your shared expression of love and loss.
      I am thankful, please don't misunderstand, that you had a chance to experience his death and have the needed closure that you deserve. When I lost my son in Iraq in 2006 I wasn't afforded that opportunity and found myself seeing him, for many years, around every corner..
      I will share with you one tradition that brings me Comfort. When he came back from basic training for his two weeks of leave. On his last day before being shipped out.
      We had a small goodbye get together with two of his friends and one of my mine. Joseph had purchased a bottle of Crown Royal and we passed it around, each taking in a shot. When it got back to my son he started to take another shot with intentions of finishing the bottle amongst all of us. I stopped him and asked him if I could put the remainder away so that we can all get together upon his return and drink of the same bottle.
      Unfortunately he did not return. However I find great comfort each year to add to the original bottle and pour a shot for him and take a shot for myself. Mind you I am not a drinker =)
      I do hope that you are able to also find a tradition I will bring you comfort in the coming years.
      Thank you Wendy for sharing your words, life and love.
      My newest children and I look forward to receiving the book and reading (feeling) it often. Winters are long here in Alaska..
      Regards
      Daniel Fowler

    40. Lorenzo Kristov on October 30, 2016

      Thank you, Wendy, for your rich and heartfelt personal message about David, his passing, the Alice project, and where you are and have been in everything. Sorry that I've never met David and you, only know you through this project. I was instantly attracted to the Alice book when I first saw the KS invitation. Many artists have illustrated Alice, but I was struck by how vividly David's vision and skill brought to life a visual and emotional universe in which Alice could have lived but I never would have imagined quite like that in reading the book. And in the challenges with producing the book, you and David were always so respectful and appreciative of both the family of KS backers and the project itself. I was grateful for your decisions to do something better and never settle for results inferior to what your vision demanded, much more than I was ever concerned about having to wait longer. I look forward to receiving Alice, and with the story you've shared here of David's life and death and your life with him, I'll feel even greater joy in gifting the extra copies I ordered. All blessings upon you and your bunnies and other loved ones. - Lorenzo

    41. Pixie on October 30, 2016

      His was a beautiful life shared with you. I am honored to have shared in even the smallest piece of it. I am grateful that you both have touched my life and added to the beauty, strength, and inspiration surrounding myself and others. Sending my love.

    42. Erica Sales on October 30, 2016

      My god, Wndy! I'm heartbroken!
      I am sorry for your great loss. You are not alone in this. My thoughts and prayers are with you always. I have no words enough to comfort you. And my poor english don't help...
      "la mort n'est pas un sommeil éternel! [...] la mort est le commencement de l'immortalité." Maximilien Robespierre

    43. John Carr on October 30, 2016

      Reaching out, in spirit, Wendy; and offering you my hand.

      The book was always going to be the destination of a journey. And now so much more so.

    44. Leewelo Lorekeeper
      Superbacker
      on October 30, 2016

      (and *your* signature, this project is yours too)

    45. Leewelo Lorekeeper
      Superbacker
      on October 30, 2016

      An artful fairy has left us, leaving behind
      a lot of dust
      deposited on canvases, lives and hearts alike.

      Let all of us rejoice in kind
      when basked in the reflected light, a wanderlust
      so vibrant, joyous and dreamlike.

      To this world, in trust, the David Delamare's legacy,
      To his friends, an absence filled with loving memories.
      To Wendy, o strong Wendy, my heartfelt condolences.

    46. Missing avatar

      Jessica Twiss on October 30, 2016

      So sad to hear of David's passing. He is one of my favorite artists and I feel privileged to have his art in my home. Thank you for your beautiful words about his life and death. My deepest condolences.

    47. Missing avatar

      James W Lloyd on October 30, 2016

      First: Thanks for waiting to post. It helps (at least me) get past the initial shock of knowing someone who has become such a part of my life (even if at a remove, and mostly in looking at the beautiful pictures on my walls) will never more make those things that move me so much -- in ways I am still coming to understand -- to know it is all done now. Please, *your* signature, as Wendy to his Peter Pan. The book is as much yours as his, anyhow. I never wished for an inscription. I look forward to your Fairy book, and will post a donation today in hopes it will help make that happen.

    48. Mike Lang
      Superbacker
      on October 30, 2016

      Deepest condolences and very beautifully written piece.

    49. Missing avatar

      Peggy Tuttle on October 30, 2016

      Wendy, thank you so much for your beautiful words about David's passing. They did so much to help soften the shock and sadness I felt in reading your news. Please know that we are all thinking of you and wishing you continued comfort.