It’s a great joy to me, even in these circumstances, to say anything about Eduardo because I have been his ardent fan for about forty years. I knew him when he was a young man at UCLA and I instantly knew that he was an extraodinary human being of great gifts and he has just continued to demonstrate that the rest of his life. I’m happy I got to see him after UCLA and got to see and enjoy his work.
He had the one thing that I think is necessary: he had a sense that he possessed the whole universe of painting and he moved around in it without any kind of hesitation. He had a feeling of freedom into that universe which is absolutely remarkable for a painter because most are tied down to this or that, mainly to their own egos. Marvelously, Eduardo had very little ego, truly a marvel. But he was an immensely strong person and it was evident even when he was a young man.
I’ve given my interpretation of his life many, many times to other people exhorting them to follow his path. What happened was he applied for a grant. He applied for a grant because he loved Hieronymous Bosch. He was absorbed by him I mean passionate about him. And he didn’t get the grant. Now, you know, what do most people say? Oh dear, I didn’t get the grant, what will I do? Apply for another grant! What he did was earn money in a very difficult way, he had to bicycle down to the middle of L.A. to work like a Billy-O in a machine shop for I don’t know how long. And he got the money together and he went to Spain because that is where Bosch is. He simply submitted himself to Bosch and in that submission, of course, he became enormously powerful as a painter.
The worst thing that can happen to people is they never submit themselves to anything, and there they are floating in a kind of limbo and it doesn’t matter what they do. The power to submit yourself and through that become strong is the greatest thing anyone, a painter or anybody, can do, ceratinly anyone in the arts at the present time when there is no powerful traditionn to make you this or that. You are on your own to create not just yourself but the whole meaning of your life, in terms of art. So, he was able to do that. It’s a great gift, of course, to be able to do that. He left for us such a glorious view into the world of painting. There is not any painting that you can look at that isn’t marked by joy. This is what he was in person, a kind of marvelous sweetness and strength and joy lived in him all his life. This ia such a rare quality that our loss is enormous. Even the people who never knew him, never saw him or had anything to do with him have lost something of immense value, and something that will not be repeated anytime soon.