Written by Marilyn Brakhage and Released March 10, 2003.
Brakhage, James Stanley (Stan). Died Sunday afternoon, March 9, 2003, about 2:10 PM Pacific Time at Victoria Hospice in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, after a brave and difficult struggle with cancer. His wife, Marilyn, was with him.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1933, Stan grew up chiefly in Denver, Colorado and lived for many years in Rollinsville and later in Boulder, Colorado, as well as spending earlier periods in both New York City and San Francisco. Most recently of Victoria, British Columbia, Stan was a world-renowned artist, a creative genius whose complex, brilliant and amazingly prolific body of work in both film and writing earned him a place of prominence within the American avant-garde film movement as well as the entire contemporary art world. With major collections of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Oesterreichisches Filmmuseum, Vienna, the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin, and other museums, universities, and private collections around the continent and the world, Stan has been an inspiration to countless students, fellow artists, and so many others, through his films, his writings, his lectures and public appearances, and his work as Instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Most especially, Stan has been an enormous presence in the lives of all who knew him, "a giant among us," as a friend said. His great love for family and friends, and unending wonder at the world, the strength of his physical presence, the challenge of his mind, the integrity of his being, the light in his eyes, the amazing life-force that he was, will be a huge loss for all of us.
True to form, Stan spent his final weeks and days scratching on film and drawing pictures of his visions, both internal and external, as he worked through his illness. He expressed much love and kindness, and gratitude to others, and said, "I've had a really good life," and "Life is great." He worried for the world, and he continued to care for and to protect his art, and that of others.
In his well known Metaphors on Vision of 1963, Stan had written of film artists creating "where fear before them has created the greatest necessity," and that "They are essentially preoccupied by and deal imagistically with — birth, sex, death, and the search for God." Speaking recently of his life, he stated that most of all he had wanted to GIVE something to people — through the arts, through music and painting. He said, "I wanted to give them God."
Stan is survived by seven children and 14 grandchildren. He will be deeply missed by his wife, Marilyn, and sons Anton and Vaughn, and by his first wife, Jane, and their five children, Myrrena, Crystal, Neowyn, Bearthm, and Rarc.
Funeral services will be held at St. Mary's Anglican Church on Elgin Road, Victoria, British Columbia, on Friday, March 14, at 3:00 PM.