My Most Unforgettable Character

KleinmanThe first time I laid eyes on John Kleinman I was shocked…I expect most people were.  One side of his face was taken up with a port wine birthmark and the scars that were the results of attempted removal. After a week of getting to know him I never saw that awful burden he carried again…his personality over road it

He was a funny, funny man. I expect in part it was  because he learned early that if he laughed at himself first maybe others wouldn’t laugh at him. Case in point…he was probably at least a hundred pounds overweight and behind his office desk was a huge picture of himself, high on his toes, in a pink tutu! His rich laughter still rings in my ears.

John graduated from the Art Center in Pasadena  and went on to teach at the University of California in Riverside. He taught me over many years…I could never get enough.

Oh, the things I learned from him!. I learned to see light in a whole different way. I learned to climb trees and get down on my belly to get the shot. I learned that when there was a storm coming and everyone else was heading for shelter that was when you headed into the storm.  I saw colors in richer hues than ever before. It changed the way I will see the world forever!

I’ve never met anyone that embraced his ‘inner child’ as much as John. He truly saw the world through the eyes of child. The way a kid will get down on this stomach and watch a colony of ants…that was him. And he drew you right into that child’s world.

I will always miss the remarkable, exuberant, giving, funny, talented man who gave his knowledge and caring in equal measure. He was my teacher and my friend…


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