The face and body art world is a small community, we share ideas, we complain about impatient mothers, and we can all agree that Nick and Brian Wolfe have inspired us in one way or another. I remember taking my first class with them in Daytona, Fl. The two day class was my first official class. I remember on the drive up Marcela was telling me about what awesome guys they were and how I am going to be amazed. Little did I know, that class would change my life forever.
I can honestly say I fell in love with face and body art that day. I loved painting but these two guys had a way of making you LOVE face painting. I had never met such fun, generous, talented, giving people as Nick and Brian.
A few months later Marcela decided to start a magazine. She called on Nick and Brian and they willingly jumped in, a few years later, she called on Nick and Brian again to teach at our convention again they jumped right in. Fast forward a few years, and I had just purchased Silly Farm. I was 22 and eager to build my business. I called on Nick and Brian for help, I asked for pictures and support, and again they jumped right in. When I brought them the idea of FABAtv, no questions asked they got in their car, drove down and gave me 10000% percent. In every single case, when we asked they gave, and NEVER once said “What’s in it for me?”.
Nick and Brian gave everything from the heart. When they taught, you felt it. When they post images online and artists re-create it without giving them credit, they never complain. If you had the opportunity to get painted by one of them, you could feel the power in their brush. Even after a decade of taking classes with Nick and Brian, my jaw still dropped in amazement.
When I saw the first news online about Brian’s diagnosis I knew it was our turn to try to repay a piece of all that they have done for us. I organized the Paint-A-Thon and started spreading the donation link for Brian. Together our small community raised over $50,000 in the first month. That money didn’t just help him receive treatment, it showed Brian that his work in our community was undoubtedly appreciated. Brian battled Pancreatic Cancer for over a year. His positive outlook on life coupled with the love and prayers from our community helped keep him strong and prepare his family for this colorful goodbye.
Brian was a father, a husband, a friend, a brother, and the most genuinely loving, giving, happy spirit I have ever met. I remember standing in my office shortly before my wedding laughing about tying the knot and the ball and chain. Brian looked at me and said, “DO IT! The day I married Dara was the best day of my life”. Brian was a dedicated father, who loved showing pictures of Trinity and sharing all her school accomplishments. Brian was a brother that never missed an opportunity to tell us how Nick was the real superstar. Brian was a person that took home the trophy at the World Body Painting Festival and when I called to congratulate him, he said Yeah it was fun to rock on stage. Brian was more than a friend, more than an artist, he was my hero. He reminded me to treat people well, give as much as you can, let go of the stuff you can’t control, and follow your passion.
When I first spoke to Brian after the diagnosis I couldn’t speak. I cried because it hurt my stomach that my friend, my mentor, my idol was going to struggle until his untimely passing. He told me that his only regrets were that he wouldn’t have enough time to enjoy Dara and Trinity. He said he felt in his heart that he lived the best life imaginable. He traveled the world sharing his passion of art, met the coolest people, ate the best food, married the love of his life, and had a blast. He asked me not to cry, because he was not sad. He asked me to help him celebrate his life after he was gone, and I will keep my word.
For those of you that took a class with Brian, for those of you that never had the opportunity to meet him, for those of you that met him in passing. I ask that you say a prayer for his family, let him know that he is celebrated, appreciated, loved, and will always be remembered.