Fragments of John Galusha, A Tribute
Sunday, April 13, 2003 7:23 PM
by Michael Mason
The same mad nightstorm that rattled homes and shook apart fences last Saturday was the same storm that undid a universe of lives in Tulsa. Amid the hail and thunder, John Galusha’s breath slipped away, and I can’t remember feeling so weighted. John was an artist unbound by method and medium; his life and his art blurred together, making it impossible to distinguish between the two.
Over a February beer, John once explained to me that he didn’t so much paint a painting as breathe one. He’d let the brush rest in his fingers, fix his eyes past the white, and somehow let the canvas draw the colors from his hand. The important thing, he said, was to relent, to not interfere with the process, but to let it move through your breath. A close look at his recent Portland series reveals his very breath in motion. The abstractions of blue swirls and crests suggest a sensitivity and insight to which all artists aspire.
Pronounced softly, the Latin word for breath, spirare, feels like a rolling breeze. It finds its wings in words like inspiration, or in-breath, and expiration, the out-breath. Since I’ve known John, I’ve drawn inspiration from him. We made films together, we ranted about local injustices on Brady barstools, and more often than not, he’d encourage my own efforts with his trademark exclamation, “Outstanding!”
Once, after a satisfying dinner at Binh Le’s, John pulled a fortune from its casing, tearing it cleanly in half, claiming that the fragments were almost always more beautiful on their own. I remember mine read “…and go to the end of your thoughts.” John smiled. He knew intrinsically that the fragments were fine on their own feet, as though they didn’t need completeness in order to fly.
Now that John’s life has passed, all of us who knew him are left with similar fragments—parts of memories, paintings and sketches, notes and scribbles. The fragments are more than beautiful; they’re inspiring. And with the inspiration comes the in-breath, John’s breath, once gone, and not gone at all, but present as our own spirits.
Documentary Project About Tulsan Something to Yell About.
TULSA, OK – The Yelling Man Project has been raising a stir ever since the launch of its Web site in September 2000. Some find it offensive. Some find it innovative. Despite argument from some mental health experts, the Yelling Man Project continues to generate new dialogue about the homeless in Tulsa.
The idea first came to John Galusha, the project’s founder, after he encountered a unique homeless individual known to many Tulsans for his dramatic and unusual interactions with passersby. “I was intrigued by his wit and his unabashed vocalizations,” said Galusha. “I just had to know more about him.”
After obtaining the subject’s permission, Galusha created a Web site and documentary to unravel some of the mystery behind this person, getting up close and personal with the one nicknamed the “Yelling Man.” Galusha notes that the Web site and film are not meant to poke fun at nor exploit the “Yelling Man;” rather they celebrate him as an extraordinary individual and give others a new appreciation for someone they might otherwise shun for being “different.” Galusha also claims to know the man’s real name but chooses to protect his identity with the “Yelling Man” pseudonym.
The Yelling Man Project is especially unique because it is not a fund-raising effort by a charity to raise support for the homeless. Instead, it is an amateur documentary project that provides insight into a curious individual who interacts with Tulsans confidently and often lightheartedly despite apparent homelessness. Galusha and the people behind the project personally have decided to donate profits from the project to the Yelling Man after operating expenses have been met.
Since its kick-off, the Yelling Man Project has done much to enlighten people about the “Yelling Man,” as well as the homeless in general. “I have passed Yelling Man and others of his kind and never gave them a second look,” said Cindy Gipson of Tulsa. “But since my husband shared the site with me, I have become fascinated.”
The Yelling Man Project is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. John Galusha and his team hope to use their project as a means of raising awareness about the Yelling Man and other homeless persons, encouraging people to look beyond stereotypes and embrace their value as individuals.
Yelling Man: the trailers