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Kaji Aso

Post #1337 • April 27, 2009, 9:32 AM

After I delivered my talk at RISD's What We Do, I got to spend some time with David Richardson, a painter, furniture designer, master restorer, and Artblog.net reader. David was a longtime friend and student of Kaji Aso. I knew Aso's name because he died within days of when I moved to Boston, and the man had an extraordinary biography.

Artist, professor, opera singer, Haiku poet, marathon runner, roller-blader, ice skater, and a man whose work is among the permanent collections of museums around the world, Mr. Aso was a presence in his Fenway neighborhood for more than three decades, presiding in kimono at his Japanese tea house, strolling along in his elegant attire and fedora hats, or taking a midnight spin on his roller blades.

Mr. Aso, who had planned to run his 37th consecutive Boston Marathon next month before becoming ill, died March 11 at his Boston home of esophageal cancer. He was 69.

Over a long chat with David that started at a sandwich shop in Providence and ended at his home with his wife and the family parrot in New Bedford, I got to know a little more about him, his good humor, and the profoundity of his teachings, and I felt sorrier and sorrier never to have met him. David kindly sent along this page of photos with kind compliments regarding my work, which I return for his.

An exhibition of Aso's work is up at the studio for the next few days.

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