Wes Martin, guy most of you never knew, a guy that I didn’t know brilliantly well, has passed away.
When first I met Wes, I knew him as a musician. He played assorted folk instruments and even put out a solo album. I met him at a meeting of the Lancaster Twitterati in perhaps 2009/10. I remember then thinking what a warm and funny character he was.
We lost touch a bit since I moved away from Lancaster. I knew that he went through a breakup and that he’d reinvented himself as an artist. He painted scenes from the Lancaster and Lakeland countryside that were so achingly evocative that you could almost feel the crisp winter air (or — this being Lancaster — the driving summer rain).
When he put out his solo record I emailed him and asked if he’d like to collaborate on making some images inspired by tracks he’d written. I remember him being intrigued and cautious, but also enthusiastic and, I hoped, pleased. We never got around to doing it, of course. I moved away, and life went right on stealing away the time you think you have, as it always does.
in more recent years Wes and I had corresponded on Twitter or Instagram from time to time. He always had encouraging comments to make on my evening.camera pictures. More importantly he would often give me encouragement when I posted about the voice in my head that tells me to give up, to jack it in, to stop trying to be an “artist”.
I miss Wes. I wish I’d known him better. I resent the loss of opportunity to collaborate together, and I’m sad that I’ll never get to see more of his beautiful work — and that I never got around to buying one of his paintings from him, since I love them so much.
We only have the time we have. It’s tiny and insignificant and fragile, and we can miss out on so many things just by getting too busy, or telling ourselves that these always tomorrow. The truth — being very zen for a minute — is that the past is just an unreliable memory, and the future is solely in our imagination. The perfect time is now, and we need to make our art and say what we need to say before we don’t have the chance any more.
So long, Wes. Even those of us who didn’t know you well will miss you.