Saturday, November 04, 2006

John Howlin RIP


We heard today with much sadness that our old friend John Howlin died in France the other day. We have few details at this point. John Howlin was a fantastic painter. We met John many years ago after his Ruby-Fiorino Gallery on Queen St. West in Toronto changed over to an artist's co-operative called Workscene. Over the years he remained a wonderful, cantankerous friend through thick and thin. He eventually made a permanent home in recent years in France. Always finding a way to keep in touch. His crazy drunken phone calls to friends in Toronto are memories to many. But equally, John took the time to write fabulous letters. He was a painter proud to say he 'sold his work and not his time', and lived by that saying in many ways (it nearly killed him in some of the tougher years, but he always seemed to survive and find his way back into his work. For many of his latter years in France he cared for a great friend of his, Emma Cohn. In a newspaper article he sent us from France there is a wonderful picture of Emma and John at his exhibition and the journalist writes that 'they have an unbreakable bond.' When Emma passed away last year, it broke John's heart. John's words: "I said, imagine a life without imagination! Paradox- I can't imagine a life without my Emma- when I try it's such a desolate picture! I was always worried that I'd die before her and she wouldn't have anyone to take care of her."
John we love you, we miss you. For everyone reading this, enjoy the photos of John and Emma - they are some of the happiest times in John's life.

18 comments:

Tim said...

I'm very sad to hear this news. I met John on many occasions through you and other friends. He was a barrel of fun to know. His work is really fabulous and he will be missed by many. Thanks for your support John! God bless.

Gardenia said...

Awwww, the pics were really touching. Must have been a really special person. The works are so inventive, original, creative. Very nice tribute.

thehealingroom said...

Yes, very touching.
I love hearing about great friendships and love.
Brought tears to my eyes.

peace to you.

* (asterisk) said...

Very nice tribute, Mr A. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

Candy Minx said...

Thos photosa re fantastic. I am sorry to have heard this news. We were thinking of you two all weekend and your loss. I am sorry. Wonderful photos and great set of paintings.

Morbidson said...

I've come to this sad news several months late, after doing a search for John. I'd lost track, other than having heard he was in France.
Howlin was a wonderful painter and a dynamic (albeit, as you've said, cantankerous) man. Things happened around him, ideas flew, artistic or otherwise.
We met in the mid-80s sitting at the bar in the Epicure (not, I think, the night John was banned for rather ineffectively swinging a bottle towards Paul's head, behind the bar), and the conversation, so often nothing but empty theatre gossip in those days (still? I haven't been in lately) immediately got very energetic and very interesting.
His paintings (I'm glad to say that I have one) are immediately, viscerally exciting, but they also handsomely repay long consideration.
I remember one of his own shows at Ruby-Fiorino -- one of the very few galleries named after a rabbit and a car -- which featured very large canvases (about 7 feet square? can't be exact at this remove) abounding in his signature shapes, with flying lines, letters, signs and wonderful colours. The moment I walked through the door I found myself helplessly grinning from ear to ear; there was just so much vital, joyful energy pouring off the walls.
I don't know where these brilliant
paintings are now, but I certainly hope people are SEEING them, benefitting from them (besides, their vibrations would probably shake down the walls of any warehouse that tried to hold them).

mister anchovy said...

morbidson - thank you for your comments

joshc said...

This may seem late, But I have only just discovered the parting of John Howlin from your Blog.
I feel saddened by the news even though i didnt really know him.
I had meet him once in Calgary 1973 and have a picture of him from an exhibition he was showing at the time. In the past ive tried in vain to find out information about him, and would be interested to know more about him and see some recent pictures.
My name is Josh Chalke and I was born in 1971 in Calgary but have spent most of my life in England. He was my Father.
Many Thanks.

mister anchovy said...

Josh, please contact us through my mister anchovy email, which is: misteranchovy@excite.com.

May we ask, what is your mom's first name?

steer said...

Found it interesting reading the blog tried to get in touch personally with mister anchovy but no response. I knew John all his life and would be inetrested to hear more about Josh Chalke and his artwork as I am trying to track some down from past times. Thanks Sophie.

Eugene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mister anchovy said...

I can be reached at:
mister.anchovy@gmail.com
thanks

Anonymous said...

hi, i have some of john howlings paintings for sale. if anyone is interested then please give me a ring on +447807842624

Anonymous said...

Time has gone by over 4 years. i still read these messages and still wonder why sum one claimed that john howlin was his father.Anyway he was a amazing artist and i really need to find sum help in how where to show his work, as like said they are rocking the walls of the warehouse there in. yours ,johns daughter.

Anonymous said...

Nancy(John's daughter): He did have a son born in Calgary about 1971.
jpc

Anonymous said...

Well years have gone by and still trying to find all the where abouts of my fathers work to try to get it all on show ,his work was truly amazing.I asked my dad if there was any other siblings that i did not know of befor he died and gave his word on my life there was not. I believe him. certain thngs dont tally for it to be true.If any one can advise me on where i can find imformation about his exhibitions and work my e mail address is nancy.steer@yahoo.com Thankyou

Eric said...

Nice picture of John in VOGUE:
http://lesliecreasey.blogspot.nl/2012/06/howard-hodgkini-look-at-my-pictures-and.html

Anonymous said...

Nancy, you do have a half brother conceived in Calgary, whatever John told you.
Sorry but you may as well know the truth.