About Gary Carlson

(a portrait of the artist as a young pup)

I was born at a very young age to my two parents. The only thing bad about my childhood (other than getting housebroke) didn't happen until I was about thirty-five years old. That's when I learned that my great-great-something grandfather was a pirate on a sailing ship. What a marvelous thing to find out in middle age. Chicks really dig that sort of thing and I could have made good use of that info in grade school.

I'm sure my interest in found object art began because of my dad's job. He was a cashier for a bus company for decades. He was also in charge of the Lost and Found, and the volume of stuff that people leave behind on a bus is almost unbelievable. After 30 days (or whatever the policy was) all the stuff was up for grabs. So just about every day the clock ran out on a batch of stuff and it came home with him (he rode the bus).

Lots of stuff, over the years (I was eleven before I knew that the right glove was supposed to look like the left). But far more interesting than gloves and umbrellas were the smalls: jackknives, jewelry, keys - all manner of trinkets. I grew to like playing around with stuff and graduated to just liking stuff for its own sake.

I used to think people who needed pathways to get around in their house were kind of mental but I don't think that anymore. Some people just like stuff around them. I suppose some are making up for childhood deprivation but not all are. Take a moment and look up some pictures of Alexander Calder's studio. I'll wait for you.

(dum de dum ... do-dah ...do-dah) There. See what I mean? That's my kind of guy. My kind of studio. Looks like a tornado in a hardware store.

That's about all you need to know about me for now.

Background photo courtesy of Sonya Carlson Kerlan, daughter of Gary Carlson

Video: Side Show - Art Gutz

"SideShow" 2012 by:
Abigail Kent & Leland Drake

Gary's Obituary

(a note from the artists wife, Anita K. (Bunn) Carlson (1945-2019), posted on Facebook October 10, 2013)

Gary left us last night to wing his way to Science Care in Colorado. He will be missed greatly but leaves us with fond memories that will always make us smile. If he made you smile, tip a glass in his memory. He did it his way and had a pretty darn good life. And now, his self authored obituary:

Gary L. Carlson, 66, died October 9, 2013 at home after a not particularly courageous battle with rheumatoid arthritis and lung cancer. In accordance with his wishes there will be no funeral or calling hours, his body will be chopped up for medical research and donation.

He was born June 28, 1947 to Pat and Fay Carlson in Minneapolis Minnesota. He attended Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis and Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. An army veteran, he attained the storied rank of E-4 during his military service. Know to many as "Pa", which he didn't like, he tended bar for 27 years at the Side Show, making many cherished friends over the years. He was the creator and curator of the Side Show Metropolitan Museum and had great fun taking people on tours of the studio art there. In his spare time he avoided playing euchre, golf and bowling.

A lifelong atheist, he managed to live a life of honor and integrity (or so he thought) without fairy-tale promises of reward or threats of punishment. Predeceased by Christopher Hitchens, Elvis and several thousand others. Survived by Anita, his pretty wife and stalwart friend of 40 years, sister Marian Anderson, daughters Heidi LeMaire, Angela Liberatore, Sonya (Josh) Kerlan, grandchildren Mia, Sam, Madison, Elle and Boo the cat.

Background photo courtesy of Sonya Carlson Kerlan, daughter of Gary Carlson