Remembering Harold

I heard this morning about Harold Balazs and thought back on the afternoon I spent with him and his wife Rosemary. In 2014 I’d been asked to photograph Harold for a magazine piece from our shared alma mater. I didn’t know much about him then, other than by the countless number of installations he’d done around the Northwest and by his slogan: “Transcend the Bullshit.” Other than that, he was a mystery.
 
His space was enraptured with art – it was on the walls, and in the walls – his home was built of it. I followed as he plodded through his studio, pointing a rounded finger at a wall of history, stopping every few feet to scribble or scratch or bend or paint on a piece that was somewhere between an idea and a Balazs original.
I wouldn’t even realize it until later, but that unrelenting work ethic was not driven by success or notoriety, but an unquenchable desire to make. It’s a spirit that seems very much alive in his city. A city whose unofficial slogan can be found in coffee shops and hidden in is his art.
 
We’ve certainly lost a great man, a rare, visionary artist. But what he’s left behind has shaped this city, and given so many of us some instruction and more importantly, inspiration.
 
Transcend Harold, transcend.

Harold Balazs
1928-2017

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