"Art can be a force for change." -Terry Adkins
Just short of one year ago I was working full-time on a night shift while I finished up school in Utah. On February 12, 2013 I flew to Philadelphia for an interview with the University of Pennsylvania with three faculty members. Following my interview I was convinced that I blew it. I thought that I had wasted money and that it wasn’t worth the trip. But after my interview there was a man sitting on a long wooden pew outside of the office. He sat there in a black tunic, no shoes on his outstretched feet. His intimidating countenance quickly gave way as his laughter bounced in the halls. I had read about Terry Adkins and it was endearing to hear him talk about the different schools that I had applied to. After telling me the strengths and weaknesses of the different programs he leaned forward and said, “But when the time comes to make a decision, you want to come here.”
Fortunately for me I was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania. Terry was one of the main reasons why I chose to attend school in Philadelphia. He was responsible for affecting one of my biggest life decisions: where my wife and I chose to make a home, and thus changing the childhood of my two children. My first graduate studio visit was with Terry and he took the time to make sure that I was adjusting to the move from Utah to Pennsylvania, not only as a student but as a father and husband. This tenderness came from a loving father to another father and was a wonderful example to me.
The world lost an incredible man today and the art community lost an extraordinary artist. Terry will continue to be my professor and example as I strive to learn from his life and how he interacted with everyone that he came in contact with. I hope that I can have even a portion of the zeal that he had for life.
You will be missed. Rest in peace, friend.