A Man Called Typewriter & The Artican Curse

9062149365_cff8c91935_oOn Saturday afternoon, Typewriter Tim Jordan was at The Tick Tock Tavern a little bit ahead of his normal schedule, loading up our mezzanine with artworks done by the good people who take part in projects at Artists First. That’s a Maplewood-based storefront that offers open art studio hours (along with materials and instruction) for people with disabilities; formerly, it was known as the Turner Center for the Arts. This was the third time we’d opened our doors to Artists First/TCA and we teamed up with the band Unifyah to host a CD listening party for that ska/reggae group’s latest album at the same hour, thinking the two events would dovetail nicely.

Not gonna lie, the turnout was a downer. Sure, there were plenty of reasons. A nice, beautiful Saturday; maybe too nice, too beautiful to be indoors. The Cards in the playoffs, making a mess out of everyone else’s plans. Other art events and sales were taking place around town. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Still, dudes, I was bummed.

At the end of the two-hour fundraiser, I wrote a check to Tim, a teacher at Artists First. I was sheepish in handing him a check for a such a small total, though we also bought a piece of art for the bar.

Me: “Wish it were bigger.” Tim: “Don’t we all.”

A day later, Typewriter Tim, in the guise of the performance artist Bodybagman, apparently fell off of a wall while performing at Artica. Thought he’d dislocated his hip, though he’d actually broken it. In the span of a day, he went from his usual gregarious self to an injured version; though I shouldn’t assume that he’s not upbeat today, too. He kinda just comes that way.

What’s weird is that a year ago, I doubly-broke my wrist while leaving Artica, in a cycling accident that took a toll on both body and mind. I went under the knife, as will Tim. When something like that happens, you deal with pain, first. And the awkwardness of daily activities. Plus there’s the pain. The loss of income and the outta pocket expenses. And there’s the mental push of getting right again, hard to do, what with all that pain. It sucks and it somehow sucks more when it happens at/during something you love. Tim will have a memory of his first Artica, but not one that anyone would want.

This year, I wasn’t able to attend as much of Artica as in the recent past. It’s a great place to chill and be energized, to spend multiple hours just being around. It’s a hopeful, spirited, whimsical, sort childlike environment. So, the kinda place that Tim would seemingly fit into, any day, and certainly during one pretty weekend in October.

This accident’s a drag, but you take something out of the experiences of others. This bit of badness reminds me to give a lot more, whenever possible. ‘Cause of this…

Here’s a quick anecdote from Saturday. Tim was talking about the artist Paul Stanton. I’ve never met Paul, not even during some drop-bys at Artists First. But along the way, I’ve bought three pieces of Paul’s for the bar (Miles Davis, Dizzy Dean, Redd Foxx) and one for my house (Nelly). Self-taught and then polished at Artists First, Paul’s got a recognizable style, one that you’re immediately drawn to when looking at AF  works in a group setting. Not to say the others don’t have gifts, but Paul’s obviously in possession of a unique talent. Just a couple days back, Tim was preaching to the choir of one, me, that he was going to keep working to break Paul in St. Louis and beyond; they’ve already combined to get Paul’s work into a few “important” hands. And that’s the plan for the foreseeable future: to do portraits of famous folks and to get those works into their possession.

It’s an interesting concept. One of probably 100 that Tim’s talked about doing over the past years and one that obviously means something to him. You can hear it in his voice, when he talks about Paul and the desire to see him be a working artist.

Tim and I have circled similar scenes for years. Shared a physical space more than once, usually with something interesting happening. We’ve done a good turn for each other, when possible. And today?

Today’s a day to encourage the ultimate encourager.