The human condition, I suppose, is to be capable of deep, thorough, feel-it-ache-in-your-bones love, and to be mortal anyway, and know you’ll someday lose it, one way or the other. It is, inevitably, not fair.
My partner/husband/best friend/co-conspirator/co-writer/better half/true love of my life, Karsten Soltauer, left us Monday morning. But he also left behind a body of artwork that speaks even more loudly now that he has lost his beautiful voice.
I used to love talking with Karsten on the phone. I’d call him from the car on my drive home, even though my office is only about a mile away, because it gave me a few minutes to hear his voice on the phone. It was so sexy and soothing. I wish I had a recording of him telling me he loved me forever, as he did many times each day.
Before we met, he’d experienced a loss of his own: his ex-girlfriend of nearly eight years had left him about a year prior, and he was nursing a broken heart. He channeled that pain into working through a series of marbled paper found-image pieces. Karsten spent 80 hours per piece studying the random curls of color, shading the contours of the swirled patterns to reveal images. Like watching clouds for shapes, but then tracing them with marker into the sky so other people could see what he saw.
Despite many, many experiments with style, form, and media, this was the central theme of Karsten’s life-long artistic vision: finding what no one else would have spotted, or bothered to look for.