Dear Kurt Halsey Frederiksen,
You are missed. By your loyal (read: cultish) fans.
I am one of those fans. Though, I don’t think I’m cultish. I have no altar. But I do have one original that I bought on eBay with money I didn’t have to spend. And I once drove over 250 miles with my friends to go see your art opening.
Look! We took this photo together!
Oh. I forgot. I have a tattoo of these two birds on my hip.
Every now and then I look for new art from you to see if you’ve resurfaced.
Still not yet.
Maybe not ever.
Or maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, and if I were a true fan, I’d know where to look.
A couple years ago, someone asked about you on Live Journal. Remember when LiveJournal was a thing?
Anyway, they posted, “Does anyone know what happened to Kurt Halsey?”
Some people responded:
“I think he kind of disappeared after what seems like scamming people.”
“ last i heard his divorce hit him pretty hard.”
“ Yeah, he scammed a bunch of people, never sent stuff out, disappeared, reappeared to release a book of his last works, last time I checked he was posting originals for sale on his webstore again, but not to the same degree as before.”
“ A]rently stuff got ugly when it came to people getting what they paid for. I never had any issues, even at the end. I know Art Star had stuff and they sent me multiple free prints with my order. Not sure if it was a nice gesture or them trying to get rid of his merch. I know one time i waited a lozng time for an item and I emailed Kurt. He was quick to respond, apologetic, and I received the print very soon after. [sic]”
“ Yeah, his website is officially closed down now.”
Or make it right.
My 16-year-old self that still exists in my 33-year-old body craves your art to help make sense of the joys and the pain and the burdens and the desires of life. I’ve had a lot of new loves, and new ends, and I love having your art to navigate me through those feelings. But now, as an adult,my life doesn’t revolve around who I’m going to date. I’m coping with other pains — estrangement from family members, my father dying, losing a job. And I feel like maybe you would have created new art to reflect experiences that happened to you in your life that also didn’t revolve around dating… maybe your experiences would be similar to mine. I feel like I’m flashing the Bat Signal into the Gotham sky.
I wish I understood why you disappeared even though I know I’m not entitled to your answers. You don’t owe your fans answers, but they’re still waiting for you to answer them.
Brené Brown says the cure for shame is empathy, and I have tons to offer. We’ve all done fucked up shit. I’ll happily tell you about all of my mistakes if your misery would like company. If it would make you feel less shitty about your mistakes. If it would make you feel more human.
I’m a writer, if you couldn’t tell by this self-indulgent dribble of an open letter. And the thing is, no one gives a shit about the things I write — mostly plays, a couple children’s books, and poems that no one wants to publish (Literally over 125 literary journals said no. Owning my shame **self high five**). But if people DID give a shit about the things I wrote, and I stopped writing because of divorce or depression or shame or fear or all of those things, and someone who loved my writing, someone I didn’t even know, wrote an open letter to me saying they wished I would write again, I hope that I would at least take it under consideration.
Okay, I’m almost done being melodramatic. Just one last bit: I hope that you’re okay. I hope that if you’re still hit hard by divorce or depression or shame or if none of those things were accurate, if you’re still hit hard by whatever it was that made you drop off the face of the earth, I hope that you have support. I hope that you are doing something you love if it’s no longer art. I hope that whatever you’re doing brings you joy. I hope you have joy, in general. My self-serving pie-in-the-sky ego hopes that you’d collaborate with me someday. But most of all, I hope that you come back to art. And post it everywhere. A giant middle finger to everyone who didn’t show you compassion. (Maybe a middle finger to your past self who didn’t show you compassion.)
There’s a community of people who misses you and misses your art that makes the world a little less terrible. And we don’t care about any of the bullshit.
Thanks for considering.
(P.S. I swear I am like not at all a creep… or at least 98% of me is not a creep… I hope.)
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