LaMarche, Doug

The best way to start his story is with a direct quote from Doug: “I’d been there and done that. Rescued the maiden, outwitted the villain, one-upped the mad ex-CIA agent who built a bomb so bad it could blow up the atmosphere. Somebody’s always holding somebody hostage, or at least telling some folk to sit at the back of the bus; colored folks. They pump out decay; I quickly outsmart them. Try and push death rays on school kids and I counter with a one-two punch of love.” Let me preface this outline of Doug’s life by saying that speaking with him is akin to speaking with a “ray gun” that shoots bursts of sunshine into your heart and brightens each day despite any negatives that would dare confront this eternal sunrise. Doug sits proudly in his wheelchair which he has occupied since he was 16. It was an accident. He fell off a cliff about 100 feet down and landed in a pool of water not being able to move and afraid he would drown. He had broken his back and would never walk again. He was from a dysfunctional family, a mother and father that would yell and scream at each other relentlessly and then say to Doug on Sunday to get ready for church. Doug, of course, would turn and say to himself why bother with church it did not help the two of you. About a year after the accident his parents finally got divorced and Doug was thrown out onto the street to fend for himself and do the best he could. Somehow he drew on inner strength and became a powerful force despite not being popular in school and not being loved by his parents. But the greater the affliction the greater the strength for “Sunman”. He describes his art emerging out of the magic of poetry and the poetry being art in its pure existence. Doug takes the simple stuff in life that most people throw out or give away because they see it as no longer useful and he sees within it a new and more impressive existence. A life as art. An old pot and pan, broken down doll, old toy or just about anything, spray insulation, old rags, nails, screws and on and on. Although his legs can’t move and carry him on journeys his eyes and his imagination take him much further. Just look at him and you will see the sun come from his eyes. A sun that has seen a millennium of trips in the universe and can see the beauty in all things that most people discard as garbage. I started with a quote by Doug and so I will end with another one by him: “Creation is the expression of God. Love is the expression of Creation. Appreciation of this expression: the artist, the human” Oh by the way you can meet and talk with Doug almost every day on the boardwalk at Venice Beach painting and creating his little and not so little works of art that entice and draw the viewer in.