The Dutch Giant
This week saw the passing of a good friend, Justin Van Hoy, aka The Dutch Giant. Justin was really tall – maybe 6, 4” with shaggy bright Orangey-Red hair and a Jesus-like beard. He had been engaged in a long fight with Cancer, but died suddenly outside of his home on Wednesday. Justin was an extraordinarily talented designer and illustrator, but more importantly was a selfless lover and promoter of art. He was also a gallery owner and curator for his space This, Los Angeles.
I was introduced to Justin a couple of years ago through a mutual friend, as a potential designer for a book of my work. With no promise from me, Justin jumped in and begin to connect the dots of my own creative history in ways that I myself couldn’t see. He saw the links between graffiti, graphic design, creative direction, and fine art very clearly. This was a breath of fresh air to me, and made me see my own life’s work differently.
Justin’s passing was shock to everyone, because only a little over a week earlier he hosted a book release at the Gagosian gallery for the new book Milk & Honey, Contemporary Art in California which he edited and designed. This weekend friends and family gathered to celebrate Justin’s life. The celebration was held in a big loft space in Downtown, LA, and I was really happy to see that there were hundreds of people, standing room only.
Many people spoke about Justin’s heart, his talent, his bravery, and his commitment. The one thing that several people spoke about, which I know from experience, was that from the moment you first shook Justin’s hand, you knew he was a friend.
To paraphrase a poem that was read on Saturday-
“Death is nothing at all…., All is Well”
You can see some of Justin’s work here: http://work.thedutchpress.com