Max Rose Memorial Sculpture
Soon after Max's funeral Gayle Rose called me and we met in Max's room at her home. She told me a lot about what had happened and about what civilians might call the many "coincidences" surrounding Max's transition. I began to remember the friendship my son had with Max in school and how they laughed and cut up together. Gayle asked me to think about a memorial sculpture for Max to go at Elmwood. It wasn't long after this that I had a clear vision of what his sculpture might look like and I made an ink sketch of the basic composition. I knew that angels provided comfort, safety and salvation when nothing else could. I saw Max with one hand up towards that higher place and the other down to serve others. He was the channel of energy in between the two worlds and his angel would be his comfort and his guide. I could envision his parents holding him at his feet, supporting him and letting him go with her.
When I was a child my father told me that during the war he was on a ship that was attacked and sunk in the Pacific Ocean. I asked him how he survived and he said, "we were picked up by angels." Having gone to mass six days a week for many years growing up I was very familiar with angels, and with sculpture, so it made complete sense to me.
When Gayle and Mike asked me to do this work I immediately knew why I was here, why I was still alive and what my ultimate purpose was. I sensed quickly that this was going to be a work of art that I could put my whole heart and soul into and that it would be an immensely meaningful journey into the highest purpose of art; healing the human spirit. I knew this would be a work free from everyday routine constraints, free from all that is mundane or superficial. I knew we would journey into a deep, powerful and emotionally charged realm where emotion and intuition rule and where art breathes.
I am very grateful that during all of this journey my mind and my hands have been guided by something outside of me. I have had a lot of help from many others, especially with technical considerations. I know I have personally been a tool of a greater, incomprehensible force outside of me that has never failed to send guidance on how to create this work in all its stages.
After Gayle and Mike approved the initial sketch I built a scale model of the sculpture in bondo over wire. When this was completed and approved there were countless days from the very beginning that Gayle and I, sometimes with others, would meet in the studio to compose the sculpture together. I would work on it during the week and we would make adjustments and refine it on Saturdays. The studio became a warm, sacred space for group healing for family, friends and myself. This work brought together all the technical, creative skills and techniques I have learned in my past.
From the very beginning I have been moved and reminded of the power and the human effect that art has on others in the community. This monument gave me new emotional understanding and new knowledge of techniques and creative possibilities that I had not yet uncovered in myself. Max helped me stretch and grow as an artist and a man to a place of both greater fulfillment and much deeper purpose.