I suppose that its the natural order of things, that the older one gets, the more depleted the inner circle becomes. As Flaubert once remarked “A friend who dies, is something of you that dies”
Still it sucks.
In the case of Greg Escalante, it really fucking sucks. And whilst I can sadly never claim to have been ‘tight’ in the chumminess league, for the short breadth of time that I did know him, I got the sense of someone who was genuinely altruistic, someone who was as cool as a latter day beau Brummel, but didn’t brandish any of the icy heirs and graces, one might expect within the art scene.
A few of the short stories of immediate reminiscence I have then.
Though we’d been introduced once in passing many years ago, like a lot of aspiring artists I’d hoped to get on his radar, but for whatever reason, nothing had really stuck. Hopes dashed then, and just as I’d all but called ‘time gentleman please’ on any future aspiration in that regard, fuck me if the man himself didn’t wander into La Bodega gallery one day, and spying my art through the window, make a beeline for my studio.
Looking around at the art lining the walls, with that rare kind of awe you can only hope to imagine a doting parent might exact, he stopped short to see me sitting gobsmacked in the corner, before extending a hand with the humble and self-effacing introduction -‘Hi, I’m Greg, and I’d love to put you in my next show’.
Later, after he’d left to go next door to the Mexican restaurant ISalud, he returned to rave about the tacos, and show me a video he’d taken on a recent trip to Galway, because he remembered I’d said I was homesick.
In the weeks that followed he sent me a video message, turning the pages of the promotional spread in Juxtapoz for the show, Dark realism/dark surrealism. I was thrilled and honored, and in the background, he made a whistling sound like a firework ascending. Which is kind of apt when one thinks about it, because he certainly put a rocket through the post Rothko/Pollock dribble that dominated the white box, until low brow shone a beacon like a neon diner on a midnight highway.
And now he’s left the diner, before pudding some will say, but still he paid the bill and even left a generous tip.
He’s on the road to the next destination.
His fedora and his many other hats will be sorely missed.
I certainly doff my cap to him.