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Art Review

An Artist's Perspective: Remembering Charlie Lavacek


Wichita artist Charlie Lavacek died on January 31st of this year. My friend Charlie chose to die on the day of a total lunar eclipse with a super-blue blood moon, a sky spectacle not seen in more than 150 years. 

I am betting Charlie had this pre-arranged just for his wife, Molly, and their four beautiful daughters, known as “The LavaChicks.” Charlie danced with brain cancer for 22 years and was only 52 when he left.

Through his relationship with brain cancer, Charlie chronicled his emotions, physical feelings, seizures, and energies involving the illness using paintings and drawings as a means of communication. Right up to the end of his life, unable to use his right hand, and confined to a wheelchair, Charlie made his art. He felt that the chronicle could somehow help others in dealing with this illness.

The results are fascinating-- paintings and drawings rendered in notebook after notebook, telling his story. And now the works are being organized by Molly Lavacek and three assistants into a dynamic exhibition that will tell the tale of a modern-day shaman, to the many who knew him, who made the art that tells the bittersweet story.

Charlie Lavacek said: “Travel light, live light, be the light, spread the light.” Look for the poignant exhibition for Charlie Lavacek in the coming months here in Wichita.