took me under his wing five years ago at my first La Quinta (CA) festival and we became friends, much like performers who run off to join the circus. We visited at shows and shared our stories.
he circus called last month. Dennis was a victim of the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. His cat made it out with him. His parrot did not. His house, belongings, photo equipment and 60 framed inventory photos turned to ash. Judging from the photos, only dirt and one metal sculpture from his front porch survived.
I sent money to his Dennis's Go Fund Me Site and sat back to wonder what it would be like to lose all my stuff in a sudden ball of fire (I live in forested Colorado). Dennis cuts a bright example for me, measuring the damage and moving ahead, but I wonder: How will he change? How would I change?
I thought about artists and what their bare necessities might be. I settled on 'intuition and an eye,' both of which Dennis still has. For a sculptor, it may not even be necessary to have an eye, having watched videos of Zuniga in his last years, blind and sculpting huge terra cotta sculptures with just his intuition. Still, I could not make a case that equipment or location matter that much.
Catastrophe presents opportunity for change. Artists adapt all the time to better methods, broader ideas, whimsy and, yes, intuition. I think Dennis will make it just fine. We all will help.
Would I make it? Hmmm, I like to think so. Maybe I'll get a cat.