Dedicated to remembering much loved and admired,
and vastly talented Charlie Harrison A.K.A.
Charlie Frank “outsider” artist and musician.
Charlie had a very “deep” (for lack of a better word) sense of humor. This bumper sticker was a hand out at his first show at BagelWorks in Keene. There are pictures further down the page of that day.
He also created one that said “what will I think tomorrow.”
and another “walk with a new shadow.”
Here is a new addition to this archive. June 2, 2009.
A young woman named Bridget sent it to me and I think it is a sweet portrait of her. She was Charlie’s girlfriend. She sent me this note:
I remember him telling me that he went to an all boys private school in new york and that at one time he was #1 in his class. they told him he was head and shoulders above the second student. he was dyslexic so that was quite an achievement. he just learned to compensate in other ways and he worked really, really hard. i had read that a lot of dyslexic people are good artists and inventors because they have a better aptitude for two-dimensional visual representation and three-dimensional constructs so i guess it worked in charlie’s favor! i remember a conversation he and i had through email. i asked him about his dyslexia and he wrote, “i don’t have dyslexia anymore, k.o.?” i thought it was funny anyway!
he also befriended a mentally retarded girl in eighth grade and they remained friends until he died. i asked him how they became friends and he said a lot of other kids would pick on her and that he knew by making just a little effort, he could make her so happy just by talking to her. he said she had such a capacity to empathize with people, more than the “average” person. he would go out to pizza with her and visit her at her house occasionally. he did it out of the goodness of his heart;
he had a huge heart.
I bought a few of his paintings and featured them on the cover of my newsletter, The Blues Audience. This first one was on the cover of the June/July 2007 issue in which I wrote about his passing.
This is a self portrait that Isaac Hall lent me. It was on the altar at the church in Nelson, during the service. That was a very sad day and there were many tears all around.
His painting style was free and he was not afraid of color. He did many sculptural and multi dimensional works that are unfortunately not included here. He went through a phase when his work
was very “dark” and cerebral. Many of his more recent paintings had a sense of fun, eventhough you can see his “tear in the eye” theme in may of his paintings of people and the above self portrait. His untimely death has left those of us who knew and loved him, at a loss for words. He was intelligent and inquisitive.
He loved gettting new information, new music, learning.
He loved to play slide guitar and he studied the techniques of the great slide bluesmen. He had a lot of soul and depth of character. He also loved Bob Dylan, and looked a little like a young Bob Dylan, with beautiful curly brown hair and big eyes,
and he had the brightest smile!
These appeared on the cover of my newsletter, The Blues Audience, where Charlie worked for me for a few months building “The Blues Audience Archives” a huge collection of information about, and pictures of, blues musicians, blues clubs and record companies.
I will be adding more images of his other work as I get them. There are lots of beautiful portraits and abstract paintings and scultpures out there. If you have one I do not have, take a picture of it and send it to me. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific instructions of how to make it into something I can use here on the web.
He was a proilfic painter, painting on anything he had around at the time.
Charlie was 30 years old when he succumbed to an asthma attack in his apartment in Keene, NH.
I received this email in May of 2008:
I used to know Charlie Harrison aka Charlie Frank and found out about his passing on the information you posted. It was very sad and shocking, I live in burlington vt and was wondering what he was up to. He is very influential to me and one the most interesting and awesome artists I have met and ever will meet. His art is very refreshing now-adays. Please post these images of his work that I have. Thank you so much. (the second one,he painted over an old paintings of jesus but kept the eyes)I’m an artist living in Burlington VT and have been greatly influenced by him. He’s amazing.
(Charlie had a deep sense of “humor” in this painting. Blind Willie McTell was blind and Charlie gave him sight by painting this painting over a print of Jesus giving Willie McTell sight!) What a great frame and I love what he did with it. He never overlooked anything.