In Memoriam: Thom Shaw

I was out of town, actually out of reach of internet, when artist Thom Shaw died in early July, but my Facebook mail was full of the news on my return. Death is always a surprise, even after lengthy, brave fights for health as was the case with Thom, but what I thought of immediately was an exchange we had on my return to journalism after a long time away.

It seemed strange, just then, to be back in the writing business. I felt as though I was starting all over again. When an early assignment brought me in touch with Thom I said “I don’t know if you remember me. . .” only be to have him cut me off. “Remember you! Of course I remember you! You were the first person to write something about me. I’ve got it with me now,” and he pulled from his wallet a badly creased newspaper clipping. “I carry it with me all the time.”

So – my writing about Thom let him know that he was noticed. His remembering me let me know I hadn’t been forgotten. It was an exchange that still brings warmth in memory,
If mine was first public notice of Thom Shaw’s art, I don’t think what I’ve written here will be the last. His strong, compelling work will have a life beyond that allotted to him.

-Jane Durrell