Martz Memories, by
Welcome Eboigbe Ebony
As part of his
lifestyle, Karl Martz kept ready to offer a warm welcome to visitors who came
to his studios on the
A young prince
from a West African territory arrived and introduced himself. He explained he was an experienced wood
carver, and was not seeking to enroll in classes, but was trying to decide
where he would like to spend a year or two as an un-paid
artist-in-residence. Already, he had
been invited to choose campuses in
To our delight
Felix Eboigbe accepted a position as Artist-in-Residence,
We enjoyed talking with him about customs, food, and life in
his homeland, and his people’s relationships with neighboring tribes in
Part of his time
was spent in the silversmith studio with
semesters, I went home to
As part of Carl Jensen’s welcome to me, he told of his idea to bring several artists together and form an artist community center, and one where members could work with us in the building. He asked if I knew of any artists he should consider inviting, and I thought of Felix. The prince now felt quite comfortable with the American way of life, and he seemed ready to spend more years in this country. Carl invited him, and Felix came with an impressive collection of his carved ebony sculptures.
As Carl gave our guest the grand tour of the building, Felix listened politely, and the cabinet maker enlarged on the idea of the artists’ colony. By this time we reached the third floor which was one huge room of about five thousand square feet, plus two elevators. The walls were bare, but sooty, and the room had little else in it except for a giant crane that traversed on rails at the ceiling. Felix stopped short, looked all around the room, and then explained his interest.
“I have always wanted to make large wooden sculptures, and I considered using tree-trunks, but saw no convenient way to move the trunks while they were being carved. With the crane, I could move them easily. The room is large enough, but the dirty walls give little light to work by. “
That’s no problem,” said Carl, “we’ll have them cleaned and repainted, but what color should the walls be?”
“Light green would give a natural atmosphere. Yes, light green would be nice.” The head custodian had been following us, and Carl called instructions back to him.
“Gil, clean all these walls and spray them a light green.” Felix was impressed, but we could see he still needed time to think, and we parted until dinner-time. For dinner, Carl Jensen had chosen an exotic and colorful establishment and we enjoyed a fine meal. We both felt all had been done to make our artist-friend feel welcome.
However, there were some personal concerns we did not know about, and they came into play to influence his decision.
We did not know
that during his stay as Artist-in-Residence, Felix had fallen in love with an
African-American girl who was completing her doctoral studies. The couple was engaged to be married, and
although he would have enjoyed working on tree-trunk sculptures in Carl’s
building, the desire to be with his betrothed was the stronger, and it remained
so. They married and moved to
The artists’ colony never developed. Carl Jensen retired to live in
My own existence
has been blessed with generous companions, and their examples of unselfish
giving. Carl Jensen gave me thousands of
square feet of studio space, and my own keys to the building. Felix Eboigbe sold the ebony portrait of
“Head of a Beautiful Young African Girl” for half-price, although his
sculptures were his financial “bank”.
Karl Martz gave the warm welcome that helped the young prince to decide
Thank you, Life.