Franklin Terrace, former home of VCU's Art Foundation Program

It always rained on studio days at Franklin Terrace.

All of my friends hated you. You gave them Cs and tore up their drawings. I didn’t know what to think when I got better. You liked one type of woman who was always the model. The others were silent or crying.

Outside, you smoked. You once told me how you’d worked for Calvin in NYC like it wasn’t a big thing. I saw later why it wasn’t for you.

There was an ultimatum dealing with a certain type of marker, 329-LF, which is still etched on my brain. If you didn’t have this, you didn’t come to class. 20 or so of these firing off at the same time with closed windows was enough to make anyone sick. Your obsession with chisel points and drawing like a scarecrow rubbed off on me and I still love newsprint.


I would stay after they’d gone, and check out a skull to reference from. You seemed surprised that I was still there.

One day, I saw you with an elderly lady in the lingerie section at JC Penney. You were helping her. There was a convalescent center near the mall where I worked. Your beat up, tarnished-bronze, Firebird was often there. There was no question it was you. Maybe your attitude was cover.

I signed up for more of your classes and learned more from you than anyone else there. We hardly spoke.

You faded away and I lost track of you. I went looking again for you today and a quote came up from your latest exhibit from which I was immediately inspired.


I kept wondering why it was so important that I found you. You understood the why. Sometimes there are internal voyages we’re on that no one else sees or understands. You’re still on one. I hope our ships pass one another again.

“In search of inspiration, I am sitting on a rock. There I question my ability, trying to find the truth in myself, as well as my work. I see, but I do not understand. Can I find the truth? I am excited — this is my inspiration. Questions and answers — I have to question all. These are my dreams, my loneliness, and my peace of mind. I sit and wonder — with all of this I draw. When I look at my work, I feel like I am living on the edge of life, holding a butterfly net, trying to catch dreams as they go by — I am a romantic.” ~ Don

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4 Responses to “pusher”

  1. Foster? He kicked me out of his class the first day after we got in an argument. We had a mediation session with the dean where her walked out. I could tell the dean was not sure how to handle him and told me to just show up to the next class and everything would be fine. I was so angry at him the rest of the semester that I worked harder than ever. We never talked until the last day of class when he walked up to me and shook my hand. I was stunned. He said he was sorry about the start of class and how he was pleased I had stayed. I have always wondered what happened to him. Where is he?

  2. LOL, No, but you’re close. I never had as much beef coming from him. He did frequently tell this story that I was totally impressed with that dealt with him hanging out with Jimi Hendrix and his entourage. I did some research trying to find him too. Looks like he might still work there…, if you’re talking about Robert Foster. “Large to small” used to be his mantra. You know you’re a mentor of mine too. The vector master.

  3. No wait! I meant Donald Early. It has been a few years since that class.

  4. aww man, you had a run-in with Earthquake Foster? i don’t think i ever saw him upset!

    i really wanted to get Don Early though – he seemed like he didn’t take any crap and he knew his craft – which was really quite appealing.

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