walldog 2: what we leave behind

This is the second of several posts based on the things I saw at the rather wonderful International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum in Pontiac, Illinois.  One of these things moved me profoundly.walldog2-kingcardThe sign painting kit of J.P. King is housed in a wooden toolbox marvelously labeled and pinstriped by the artist. It’s a beautiful object in its own right, covered with the patina that gathers on something that has been well used for its intended purpose, and almost certainly been deeply loved.  The box was displayed with its drawers closed, all the better to see those gorgeous stripes.  But that’s only half the story.

You can guess where this is going.  It was a quiet day, and the woman at the museum was friendly, and, well, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am utterly shameless.  I asked if I could open the box.

Some of the drawers were empty.  He had a toy duck, perhaps a mascot based on his nickname.  He had two decks of cards, and a pink eraser.  A church key.  A razor knife.  A white pencil.  Two dried out rolls of very narrow blue tape.  A T-square. Some liners, and what I’m pretty sure was a dusting brush. Presumably there were  things in the empty drawers, perhaps more valuable or just still useful, which got passed along to other artists.  This is what was left.  He was an artist.  This was his stuff.

I feel very honored to have been allowed to see it.  I didn’t dare touch anything except the drawer pulls.

This entry was posted in comics and cartooning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to walldog 2: what we leave behind

  1. Jane Diaz says:

    This is the box of Pat King or as he like to call himself, PK Duck. (That explains the duck in there.) He was a sign painter who was quite a character! He had lots of stories to tell but one that I will share is he wore a little banjo pin on his knee and if you happened to notice it he would say, “Yes I come from Alabamie, with a banjo on my knee.” His first walldog meet was Bellvidiere IL and after that he was HOOKED and attended many more. Anyone who knew him was blessed.

  2. Pam Bliss says:

    I feel a bit blessed myself to have seen, shot and touched his toolbox. There is something about an artist’s tools that is so evocative to anyone who uses similar tools herself. We all know that we will leave behind a similar box, although mine is not nearly so elegant.

    Thank you very much for sharing the story!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s