Last words to Paul van Brunschot

Norway is a small country. A vulnerable one. In our field, among graphic designers and illustrators, we can’t afford to lose anyone. And so we stick together and take care of each other. We are a close community, our clan. Our tribe of Indians.

The standard of quality here in our little country is impressive. Not only are we relatively many and increasing in number, we also hold ourselves to a high international standard. And so it is with great sorrow that I stand here today and take note that Paul is no longer among us. He has left us entirely too soon.

Paul was one of the chiefs of our Indian tribe. Because he allowed others to be the big chiefs. He was in fact best at making other people shine. Even though he was one of the most creative and energetic persons I have ever met, he stubbornly insisted that he wasn’t the creative one. Even though he was one of the most natural and inspiring leaders I have ever met, he stubbornly insisted that it had nothing to do with him, it was all about the students.

Teaching became his chosen path. He drove students to their utmost, and he was able to draw the best out of them. Students were influenced by Paul, bore his imprint, I might even say. No one could remain untouched by Paul’s methods, Paul’s enthusiasm and Paul’s energy. Collapse may have been imminent, but Paul had left his mark. He took no prisoners.

I had the good fortune to get to know Paul in connection with Studio 3’s exhibition, ”Please Wait”, which we had at our gallery. A brilliant idea, fantastically motivated and dedicated students, and the whole of it initiated and orchestrated by Paul. I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart, that it was the best and most interesting exhibition we have had. No other exhibition in the past year here in Oslo, and in this genre, came close to its caliber. Today I am very glad that I said precisely those words to Paul after the show closed. 

On behalf of all graphic designers and illustrators in Norway, I would like to extend our profound and genuine gratitude to Paul for his professional endeavors. You made a substantial and solid contribution to the development of our field. You made an indelible impression on a great number of the professional practitioners who are active now. You have meant so much to so many.

One of our Indian chiefs has left us. A genuine Apache chief. The best Apache chief of them all.

Paul, you will be deeply missed.

In closing I would like to present part of the speech Paul sent me and asked me to hold in connection with the opening of the exhibition “Please Wait”. The speech in its entirety was very long, so hence this shortened version. I offer this in remembrance of you, Paul:

To live is to wait...

Waiting to come out of a mother.
Waiting to stop crying.
Waiting to be fed.
Waiting for first words.
Waiting for someone to change your diaper.
Waiting for first steps.
Waiting for your first day at school.
Waiting to understand written language.
Waiting to get corrected.
Waiting for understanding.
Waiting for the rain to stop.
Waiting for a dream to come true.
Waiting to be asked to dance.
Waiting for public transport.
Waiting for something to make sense.
Waiting to understand modern art.
Waiting to be struck by lightning.
Waiting for someone to be happy for you.
Waiting for a shower to turn cold.
Waiting for a funeral speech to be over.

Martin Biehl, Grafill