Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Harold Balasz -- Another Hero Gone

Today's Seattle Times had an obituary for Harold Balasz.  I had the pleasure (and it certainly was a pleasure) of being on staff with him for one of the annual Centrum Foundation workshops for gifted high school students.  Apart from being an exceptionally talented, skilled, hardworking artist he was a splendid human being -- warmhearted, open minded, funny ...  I wrote about my portrait of him in my blog  in July 2014 (complete with misspelled "portrait" in the title that I just noticed.

Another "Harold" anecdote that I just remembered.  At the end of the class days at the workshop we of the staff were likely more tired than the students -- they were a lot younger and overcharged with the experience of being in a group of kids each as motivated and eager as they were.  One of the older students -- high school senior -- was badgering Harold to draw her portrait.  He was tired and ready to throw in the towel for the day but she wouldn't give up.  He finally said "Oh, all right.  Take off your clothes and I'll draw you."  She, flustered, gave up.  At the faculty meeting that night somebody asked Harold what he would have done if she had taken off her clothes.  Shrug of shoulders -- "She's 18, I would have drawn her."

Harold didn't put up with much socially or politically either.  Here's my favorite of his posters -- hanging proudly on the wall behind me as I write.

As the saying goes -- I shall not meet his kind again.