Things I remember:
I remember giving my friend Eric a big hug at Creative Electric Studios, another Northeast gallery, during the Lutefisk Sushi B opening in 2006. I purchased lucky box #13 (woo!), and we loved his Dead Fucking Last mini-comic so much, the original now hangs on our wall at home.
I remember Eric’s grandma at the Bike Art II opening in 2007, right before she bought one of his prints in what was officially the most adorable purchase ever. (“I’d like to buy my grandson’s print, the one on the wall to the right?”)
I remember talking to Eric about getting back into bicycling since moving to Minneapolis. He gave me tips on having more confidence on busy streets and safer ways to turn to avoid being in the blind spot of cars.
I remember getting phone calls from him with random ideas from time to time, which I loved/hated (depending on the hour of the call). One call in particular came around 2:00 a.m., and I’m guessing PBR might have been involved: “Jamie, I had this awesome idea for next year’s Bike Art opening! I don’t normally like performance art, but I was thinking, what if . . . what if during the reception, I just brought my bike in and rode around in circles over and over while everybody saw the show. Just around the gallery. I’d be, like, part of the exhibit.”
What a terrible idea. I kind of wish we could have made it happen, though.
Friday, July 27th, 2007
(LiveJournal post titled “time is passing . . .”)
It is with a heavy heart that I come to update this journal.
Eric Lappegard, an artist, cycling advocate, and friend, passed away on Monday July 23rd after an auto collision. It is hard to find the words to talk about this. I want to say something timely, or beautiful,or comforting for friends, for family and even for me—but I’m at a loss for words. This is the fourth passing I’ve endured in the past year alone. The older I get and the more people I meet the reality of the impermanence of all things including life becomes excruciatingly painful.
Eric will be more than missed by his friends and family and everybody that loved him. In my own selfish little world I’m going to miss a lot of things about Eric. I’ll miss his encouragement to me to be a braver cyclist… I’ll miss pushing him to keep creating new works so I could proudly show them at Altered Esthetics… I’ll miss his hugs… his e-mails with random artistic ideas…his character and quirky charm.
No words justify or reconcile these things, you know?
His funeral will be held tomorrow, and there are plans for a wake in Minneapolis for the folks that won’t be able to attend the services, and I plan to attend. My prayers and thoughts are with his family and loved ones.
A group of community members, with the blessing of Eric’s family, will be planning a benefit for Eric on September 8th. The benefit will include an alley cat race during the afternoon, a silent auction, and music later in the evening. If anybody is interested in donating works or volunteering your time or energy for the benefit, let me know.
A group of cartoonists and I gathered outside Diamonds, a coffee shop near the gallery, to plan the event on his behalf. We discussed what everybody could bring to the table and how people wanted to help. We organized a silent auction of artwork, printed copies of his Schmapples webcomic and put together a book compiled of works from friends and acquaintances. Sarah Morean, who would become a close friend, helped organize this book—Alley Cat: Cats on Bikes (with Ninjas), a Tribute to Eric Lappegard.
We raised money for his family as we celebrated a life cut too short the only way we knew—with friends, art, bikes, and beer.
This group of friends is still in my life, a core part of my Minneapolis family. We’ve since done a lot of group camping, barbecued, celebrated each other’s weddings, witnessed the birth of our kids. Not a cartoonist myself (“just a curator!”), I consider myself lucky to be among their company. With each passing year my memories of Eric fade a little bit, which makes me sad. I try to recall them often, to bring the presence of his spirit to the front of my mind.
Eric’s number is still in my phone. Whenever I’m scrolling through and see it pop up I smile when I think about how I was a little annoyed he called at 2:00 a.m. with a drunk idea. Who did this person think they were, waking me up at all hours?! But looking back, I’m grateful we had established that kind of friendship, and I’m glad that he knew he could just call me at random. At best I’d be up anyway, working; at worst I’d just be annoyed if he woke me up and give him hell about it later. I always remember that 2:00 a.m. call whenever I see his name in my contacts, smile, and leave his number there.
Sometimes the stupidest ideas are the most fun, and sometimes the things that annoy you about certain friends might be the things you miss the most.
This post is adapted from It’s Never Going To Work: A Tale of Art and Nonprofits in the Minneapolis Community with illustrations by Athena Currier. Post graphics by Jamie Schumacher. ©2018 Jamie Schumacher.
It’s Never Going To Work is a light-hearted, illustrated book that offers real-life insights on founding a community space and nonprofit. It provides tools, tips, resources, and camaraderie to community organizers and anybody attempting something new.