My mom and dad came to visit me in Utah not long before dad’s death. He loved all things ancient and, as difficult as it was for him to walk across the rocky desert, there was an ancient site we could drive to most of the way, so he made it out to one of my favorites. I’m very grateful for that.
Dad was an artist who didn’t get to pursue his art. On his deathbed I held his hand and told him how sorry I was about that. But I thanked him for giving art to me and I told him, from that day on, I would make art for the both of us. That’s when I took his name, George, as part of my own. Although I made him that sincere promise, how much better it would have been had he lived his creativity himself. His own particular drawings, his own paintings died with him, never to be birthed into this world. I want those of you who are struggling to get to your art to think about that. May we all make the art that is in us, and in only us, while we still walk upon this earth.
Many months later a show of mine was opening in Utah on a Saturday night. My mom was going to call Sunday morning to see how it went. She always used one of those calling cards, which appear on caller ID as, “caller unknown.” The Saturday morning of my show mom called. She was confused, thinking it was Sunday morning, which was a little odd by itself, but here’s the magical thing that helped make sense of it: The caller ID said “George Zakus.” That was my dad’s name. I asked mom if she had used her phone card and she had. I think it was dad “calling” to let me know he would be there with me at the opening that night.
It took two years to build my house in New Mexico and leave Utah. I called it the long goodbye. I know I needed all that time to let go. Utah still holds a special place in my heart and I miss her. I offer this photo tribute to the land I was privileged to be a part of for eight years.