How great thy art
BY DALE BOWMAN September 10, 2013 7:38PM
Updated: September 10, 2013 9:04PM
F ish silhouettes are interspersed with the drawings Larry Green made of his arm during hours of dialysis. The sketch books are not ghoulish, just a fascinating juxtaposition.
They mirror the complexity of Green himself. Or humans in general.
This weekend I spent time with Green while he manned a booth of his art (drawing, paintings, photography, book) at the Ultimate Outdoor Show along the Kankakee River, a connection to his kidney transplant.
When Green found out he needed a kidney, there was a five-to-seven year wait in Illinois. To be proactive, he went on craigslist. Eventually a woman had the proper match.
“When you meet someone who is willing to give you a piece of themselves, how humble you are,’’ Green said.
The transplant took place March 28, 2011. You can understand why Green is a staunch supporter of Donate Life
Green would bring his waders to dialysis, and afterward, Charlie Mack picked him up and it was time to wade the Kankakee.
Fishing ties flow from the experience.
Because Green couldn’t work his interior landscaping business, he turned to fishing and founded the Humboldt Park Fishing Society, which blossomed into a loose group of a couple hundred on Facebook.
Green is an African American, a rarity when it comes to fishing muskie in Wisconsin and Canada. His race has drawn some hilarious responses. He has been asked if he was catfishing and caught the muskie accidentally.
“Even though it had a bucktail in its mouth,’’ Green said.
Complexity, once again.
HPFS, much like Humboldt Park, is a mix of Hispanic, white and black; of catch-and-release advocates as well as fish keepers.
“Everybody has a story,’’ Green said.
In his quiet voice, the implication was that everybody has worth. He thinks the society can grow bigger and better, and in other ways.
As might be expected, his art has grown with the kidney experience.
His water tank images are my favorite, in part because they are in the lineage of Charles Demuth, a modernist from nearly a century ago.
Green ties naturally into art history well.
His book, “Water Tanks of Chicago: A Vanishing Urban Legacy,’’ came out a few years ago. Photos, drawing and paintings of water tanks have become his iconic image, to the point that Green said, “It’s like Monet’s Haystacks.’’
It’s not a casual comparison.
When the young man from southern Indiana ended up at the Art Institute, one of his instructors said, “You paint like you’re in the 16th century.’’
Green was OK with that.
His oils, especially the landscapes (the willows of Humboldt Park are prime images), draw Green’s interest more and more.
Last week, his numbers came back OK. He will not need a biopsy on his kidney.
Saturday has kids fishing, north and south.
Fishin’ Buddies! and Forest Preserve District of Cook County Fishing Derby is at Wampum Lake, Lansing. Preregister at fbderby2013.eventbrite.com.
Salmon Unlimited’s Kid’s Fishing Derby (salmonunlimitedinc.com/kids.php) is at Waukegan Harbor.
Chicago baseball is a darkening king, ripe for the snagging hook; the Bears season is a 4-pound spring coho.