The untimely death and timeless inspiration of Chris Al-Aswad

by DRM

Love of beauty is Taste. The cre­ation of beauty is Art.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s a pur­pose to this great thing that the Inter­net has spawned beyond the cre­ation of com­merce engines, mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and wealth beyond our wildest imagination.

The world has become too large, genius too widely dis­trib­uted, sto­ries too impor­tant and cre­ativ­ity too vital for the tra­di­tional gate­keep­ers — pub­lish­ers, edi­tors, pro­duc­ers, cura­tors — to do the job of find­ing, shap­ing and pre­sent­ing Art.

Into the breach step unknowns, dri­ven by pas­sion, per­sonal aes­thetic and generosity.

Chris Al-Aswad was one of those souls.

Now he’s dead.

I woke up early this morn­ing, while the night dark still cloaked the yard and every soul in the house was sleep­ing. In the kitchen, I checked Twit­ter. @escapeintolife had died.

It’s a strange thing to reg­is­ter the death of a per­son who exists wholly as a live, vibrant con­cept, whose voice you never heard, face you never saw, skin you never felt. I was saddened.

You can learn about Al-Aswad. Start at Escape Into Life. It is one of the most dis­tinc­tive cre­ative sites I’ve encoun­tered on the web. The spirit is of dis­cov­ery and inclu­sion, exactly the way that life of the cre­ative soul should be approached. Al-Aswad was the founder and dri­ving force behind it.

Escape into Life hosts over 1000 con­tem­po­rary artist pro­files, and is also an online arts jour­nal with con­tri­bu­tions from nearly 25 dif­fer­ent writ­ers. Many of our contributors—ranging from well-known pub­lished authors, uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sors, and free­lance journalists—continue to pub­lish art reviews and art his­tory essays month after month.

The sad­ness I feel is a tes­ta­ment to the mark that Al-Aswad made in the world in his short life. I mourn the pass­ing of a pure aes­thetic and a gen­er­ous soul. I wish his fam­ily strength dur­ing this time.

But I’m also reminded that the end of Al-Aswad’s life comes at the begin­ning of a great rev­o­lu­tion for cre­ativ­ity, and that one dis­tinc­tive legacy he leaves behind is the power that comes from approach­ing this world of free­dom and dis­cov­ery with respon­si­bil­ity and dignity.

God rest his soul.