I recently learned of the death of the artist Stuart Jackson. It was covered on news sites and SF blogs. The only reason I know of Stuart is because of this picture he sketched of my friends and I enjoying a beer at Vesuvio.
We were enjoying a few beers and good conversation. That kind of flowing conversation you have after a long day of hiking with a good friend you’ve missed for too long. That day we explored Point Bonita’s Lighthouse. Our friend, Shaheen, was visiting from Montreal. This was his first time visiting SF. My fiancée, Ahran, and I wanted to show Shaheen the beatnik mecca of North Beach. “San Francisco’s the kind of place you can do what you want, just as long as you’re not telling someone else what they can do.” “People seem to take their own path here.” Those things you say when you’re inspired by something and want to share it with a friend. As we left, we realized Stuart had been sitting close by, sketching us the whole time. We paid him some money for the sketch out of genuine gratitude and surprise. This artist took the time to capture our meeting. That act by Stuart cemented in our minds how meaningful that experience together was and what a special place San Francisco is.
Stuart’s simple act of humanity is what makes the senseless act that resulted in his death even more painful. I’m writing this as a small memorial. I did not know him when he was alive, but he made an impact on how I think about the world and for that, I am thankful.