Kurt Simon and The Atelier

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It is not easy expressing the feelings we have for Kurt, a man who was like
no other and who had a profound influence on our lives and career. We met
Kurt while planning to move to California in the late 80's. We moved into
his unique minimalist and cavernous canal-side building that he had designed
and constructed on Venice land he had acquired several decades prior to our
arrival; but he had only recently developed. It was as if he had waited to
build his one-of-a-kind spatially impressive high ceiling, loft-like
environment for us, two New York loft-living Soho artists who he had yet to
meet. 

We later realized what an honor it was for us to be chosen to live in his
architectural monument to simplicity and purity. The honor widened when Kurt
chose us as friends and introduced us to Atsuko, who he took great pride in
sharing with us. We would frequently "double-date" on exotic culinary
adventures, going to: Ethiopian, North & Southern Indian, Macrobiotic
Japanese. The food was an excuse and the restaurant only a background for
Kurt's stories of places he had gone and things he had done. We would listen
like children around a campfire. Never repeating himself, he could enchant
us for hours.

We lived in this magical place for 16 years, surrounded by the high energy
of Venice Beach and the calm rich history of the Venice canals. Kurt's
building was a capsule that allowed our love for each other to grow along
with our creative partnership.

Kurt created an architectural structure and environment that was both
atelier and gallery, it could be whatever we wanted it to be, depending on
what was hung on the walls. As a building, it was an empty canvas waiting
for expression. It allowed us to create art and present it to the world all
in one place. That physical environment would hold the hundreds of people
who would come into our world. Kurt and Atsuko enjoyed that world as much as
we did. They would arrive at one of our frequent people-packed art events,
beaming ear to ear - eyes sparkling - taking it all in. Kurt loved our love
and loved our success.

When we had emptied ourselves in Venice and it was time to leave, the most
difficult aspect of that departure was knowing we would not have this
incredibly special relationship any longer. To this day, that void has not
been filled.

Tony & Karen Barone
Palm Springs, CA

© The Macwhisperer 2015