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A planned documentary about Andy
needs your input. See details below.
Andy Poyner 1963
image courtesy of T Branson, whose mother taught
art in Joplin, Missouri, and bought it from Andy
Andy Poynor All Dressed Up and No Place to Go 1992
oil on masonite 12 x 15 inches
Andy Poynor The Artist's Widow 1993
oil on canvas 30 x 30 inches
Andy Poynor Alpha Omega 1993
oil on canvas 20 x 24 inches
Andy Poynor Had It! 1992
oil on rag board 8 x 10 inches
Andy Poynor Dragon Bite 1990
ink on rag board 29 x 23 inches
Andy Poynor In Yer Face 1990
ink on rag board 36 x 24 inches
Andy Poyner was a friend of mine when we both worked at The Austin Sun in 1974-75. My photographs of him drew his friend Bethany Kiele to me via the internet, and together we arranged for this page. I kept hoping to show more recent work, but that may not be possible now.
Andy Poyner March 3 1948 - September 4 2009
Here is a little more information about Andy's life from Linda Wheeler:
After attending art school in Kansas City and Nova Scotia, Andy traveled abroad for a while, then settled on the East Coast. He worked for MIT in the drafting department for about six years. He bought a brownstone in Boston, where he had many friends and took up the practice of martial arts.
When his father became ill, Andy moved to Cape Girardeau to help his mother. His father died in 1988, and he continued to live in Cape for 20 years. It was during those years that he did most of his painting. He said that for 10 years, he was able "to close the door and paint."
His mother became ill about three years after his father's death. He nursed her, first, through breast cancer and then through many years of Alzheimer's. His devotion to her and dedication to her care was outstanding. In many ways, it was his finest hour. She passed away about four years ago.
Andy called me, out of the blue, in August of 2008. He said that he had decided there was no reason to remain in the eastern part of Missouri and was thinking about moving back to Boston. He still had to make a trip to Joplin, however, to inter his mother's ashes. In talking with him, I suggested he might move back to Joplin. He said there were "too many ghosts there." I told him that there are no ghosts here, and he began to entertain the thought of returning home.
So he made an initial trip to Joplin in September of 2008. He said that while he was driving across Missouri, he decided he was going to move back to Joplin. During that first trip, Andy revisited many of the sites of his childhood and youth, and exulted, "You right — there aren't any ghosts here." He was as happy as I have ever seen him, and he remained so after making the permanent move home in October, 2008. Even when obstacles arose, he continued to say how happy he was to be here. "It's my hometown," he said repeatedly.
In late December of that year, Andy began to feel unwell. He had a case if influenza which took a considerable toll on him. We think he may have already had the beginnings of cancer, unbeknownst to him, as he said the glands in his neck would swell up, then recede, for two years previously. He never really regained his strength after the bout of flu, and the swelling on one side of his neck became more prominent. Throughout this time, though, he continued to be a steadfast and supportive friend.
He first received the diagnosis of cancer in March of 2009. He fought hard to regain his health in his own way, but refused standard medical treatment. He moved from his house in Joplin to stay briefly with friends in Neosho, then moved in with another friend who lives in the country near Diamond. Nearly unable to talk or eat, he remained there until late August, when he became so weak he had to enter a nursing home in Joplin. He chose to have a tracheotomy about a week later, and then moved to another nursing home before his death a week later. He received very good and loving care, and his friends were with him throughout his final days.
As Darryl has said, Andy's mind was sharp and his humor intact throughout his illness. Even through the cloud of morphine, he made jokes in pantomime. He also expressed his appreciation, again and again, to everyone who helped him. He was one in a million. A good man. A shining star.
I am writing to you in regard to a short documentary film which is being mounted about the life and work of the artist Andy Poynor. Friends and admirers of Andy's work are attempting to contact various friends and colleagues who may wish to offer comments or observations to be included.
The film will not take the usual documentary form; no remarks will be attributed to any specific person. Rather, a somewhat surrealistic format will be used, with scripted running dialogue using voice-overs and actors portraying fictional characters or images from various paintings. It is felt that, in this format, people may feel more free to be as frank as they care to be in their remarks. Unless they prefer to remain anonymous, names of contributors will appear only in a "Thanks to..." list in the closing credits. The film is conceived as a combination bio and portfolio for the purpose of creating interest in future exhibitions, and may be shown in conjunction with such exhibitions.
We cannot guarantee that any specific remarks will be included in the final script, due to time constraints. However, we wish to present as complete a portrait as possible of the personality and experiences of the artist, and how they may have affected his work at various times in his life.
As I've said, please be assured that any remarks you may wish to contribute will be kept strictly confidential. Let me also assure you that, should you wish for any reason to decline from comment, you will not be troubled again.
Thank you very much for your time,
Just happened to click back by here; I realize it's late in the day but thought someone had probably contacted you already.
There's a "memorial" (My God, how he'd have hated that term!) reception at the Spiva Center for the Arts here in Joplin, on Fri September 25, 2009 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. NOT a service! He'd hound me to hell for that, but just a few of his favorite pieces out on view and a lot of friends gathered around.
FYI — Andy told me in so many words — well, wrote it to me, he couldn't talk much by then — "Just the cheapest cremation you can find, and dump me someplace creative." I can think of at least two or three ways to do that, and am open to suggestions as well. Still missing him every day,
Jeez, in looking for your email address, I came upon the sad news about Andy. A while back, Marty had sent me a photo of him from you, I guess...at his show. I had often wondered what happened to him, and had Googled his name a year or so ago and only found an ancient listing from the '60s, before he even got to Austin. I always admired his manic rabbit drawings, and had assumed he'd made some kind of mark since then, but it seems he was quite isolated and un-findable ... a strange life he had, I would guess. Very sorry to hear about his passing. Especially since I was going to try to contact him about this ... PARTY we're going to have.
I just previewed your page on Andy. It's great to see pictures of him during one of the happiest times of his life. I found out last night of his passing. When he didn't answer his cell phone last week and then the phone was disconnected I searched him on the internet and found the Obituary.
Andy was a dear friend of mine for the last 4-5 years. I met him in Cape Girardeau and found a kindred spirit. My husband and I drove to Joplin in June to see his wonderful exhibit and though his health was deteriorating he was happy. I was glad to see that! If there is anything I can do please let me know. I loved him very much!
Hello J R
I graduated from Joplin High School in 1966 with Andy. His death has come to a surprise to all of the classmates and my family. We commissioned him to do 3 painting one of me and my two sisters which were black and white on wood. My family and all of my classmates considered Andy to be a genius artist and a special person.
We are wondering if you know if he had any family left. The Class of 66 in Joplin want to do a memorial service and can't find any family or really much about him in his later years. I was wondering if you had any family contact for him or thoughts in general.
My last remembrance of him was at a Rock Festival in Pittsburg KS in 1968. And yes I don't remember much about the "60's" being an OH (original hippy)
This is the link to JHS Class of 66 website where we have posted Andy's obit. http://www.joplinhighschool.org/docs/obit/poynoran.pdf
for your time
I loved the pictures you have
from the late '70s of Andy Poyner!
And the great pictures of some of his paintings.
I could not tell when you put up the site, you said, he was "ailing" and living in Neosho.
I just got word he died and I feel so broken-hearted!
He was a wild and crazy guy and I sure had a great affinity for him!!
Thanks for the photos, they mean a lot to me!
Ms. S.E. Coleman
I came across your website just now, and thought I should let you know that my most dear beloved friend Andy Poynor died yesterday morning (September 3 2009) of a rare type of cancer. He kept his wicked humor to the last moment of his consciousness, and left a great big hole in a bunch of lives up here in Joplin, particularly mine.
I asked Darryl about Andy "keeping his wicked humor to the last," and emailed back:
He'd been unable to, or I should say uninterested in working for some weeks, or I'm sure he'd have come up with some surreal caricature of himself with a tube in his throat; luckily or tragically, however you want to look at it, his mind was completely sharp and clear through the whole ordeal.
At least until the morphine took over; he'd consented to that and was being dosed regularly for the pain. As it was he contented himself with grins and winks, (he was unable to talk at all by then and his notes weren't always legible) and tried to dance for the nurses to startle them.
The time came when he no longer responded at all to any of us (mostly due to the drug, I suppose) and early the next morning that was that. It's hard to tell all this, but it was a hell of a lot harder going through it with him.
since June 20 2009
Digital Images provided by the artist.
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