Farewell Michael Gross 1945-2015

He saw how I was struggling with trying to design my own cover for Recasting Bigfoot’s second edition. The name Bigfoot conjures the ludicrous and inane, the crackpots and kooks, sadly. But he thought I was a cool philosopher in spite of my interest in Kolchakian mysteries. I was posting image after image on Facebook as I tried to get a good cover to work. He left a comment. Basically it said, give me some of your artwork and I’ll do a cover for you gratis.

You don’t say no when John Lennon’s art consultant says that to you.

A few envious “Wows”  were posted  by others afterward.

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Michael Gross and I had mutual friends through a group of  artists in Portland I call The Portland Rat Pack. For years we had been “friends” on FB, each in the same core group that communicated with each other on there. His message to me about my book cover was not the first. One day, I forget over what, he messaged me and gave me his phone number. He said “Call me.” When I did he said it was time that we talked. We simply chatted. He said he loved FB and that he had put his life on there, and in some ways he had. He was outspoken, caring, brutally honest sometimes, sometimes quite ornery. But he had a life that merited it all. He was not just an artist, but a significant art director, putting on the map National Lampoon.  He then turned movie producer, then traveler, then artist again. His photography was superb. His subtle blending of colors defies any descriptive word.

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Some of my favorites.  Michael loved Joshua Tree National Forest.

Michael Gross is what FB was truly about. He was real, genuine, without airs, someone you would wish to get to know, and he let you interact in his life. It was to interact with someone who had his slice of fame and fortune at one time, but managed his own page.  Each Monday night we got to see pictures of his in-home art class, where 2 students were taught to draw. We saw their weekly progress, the bottle of wine they had after, and the three posed together with the sketch pads. We saw his daily photography, and he most certainly had a director’s eye.

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One of my favorite photos by him. He took it off his front porch in Oceanside. 

But I must disagree with him. He didn’t put his whole life on there. He seldom spoke about his many accomplishments.  If you were attentive you picked up on many of them. But it was never an outright statement. He posted pics of his family, travels, behind-the-scenes on movies. But his discussions were more of hardcore philosophy, art, film, current events, politics, and if there wasn’t humor there was always the desire to find some humor in events.

I really can’t say it well here. These articles, however, will give you an idea of Michael C. Gross’ accomplishments. You  will get an idea of and how many have missed a treat by not knowing him, even a little, both in the real world and even on Facebook.

Farewell.

New York Times

BBC

Hollywood Reporter

AV Club

 

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