|Ed Leeper at his home in Pacific Grove, Calif.|
I got news over the weekend that a longtime, close friend of mine passed away.
Ed Leeper was a self-proclaimed "serial" artist and peace activist. On Tuesdays, he could be seen on the corner of Franklin and Alvarado streets during the Oldtown Monterey Marketplace giving away tons of free books for the pure reason of getting more people to read.
I never really knew either of my grandfathers and Ed sort of filled that role for me. I spent a lot of time photographing him and he was always up to work with me in the pursuit of art and making art. I knew I could always call him up on a whim and he would be game to make and talk art.
He would always get excited when I pulled out a film camera, wanting to test out a new lens or lighting idea. He would pull out some obscure art piece he made and explain it. His yard in Pacific Grove was filled with absurd art pieces and random wood, paints and books for future projects and endless ideas.
According to his stepdaughter, Kira Godbe, "Ed died yesterday sitting in his comfy chair, reading an article about one of his favorite artists, [Robert] Rauchenburg. He was completely at peace, his legs crossed, his glasses on and his eyes closed and that is it."
My editor Mary Duan wrote a very lovely obituary about him tonight.
Below is a video I shot of him talking about what is "art" to him.