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About John Lundmark

On this page you will be able to read about the life and art of John Lundmark, photographer.

John Lundmark has volunteered with the co-op for over 20 years.   From Merc News, March 1996 (newsletter of the Community Mercantile Grocery.

This month (March 1996) we introduce you to our mild-mannered stocker, John Lundmake.  Mr. Lundmark is a bit of a landmark in the co-op movement, as he was one of a handful of people who formed the local buying club which eventually became the Community Mercantile.  He was a working member (back when all members were required to put in two hours each month) of our first little storefront in the 800 block of Massachusetts Street, as wel as at our second location at 615 Massachusetts.  While John remained a loyal co-op member, he didn’t resume working at the Merc until September of last year, and he says he truly enjoys being back.

John moved to Lawrence from his hometown of Washington, DC in 1971 to study Fine Arts at KU.  To supplement his formal art training, John formed a small gorup of life drawing students who took turns modeling.  Besides forming the drawing circle and the buying club, Joyhn co-founded the People’s Energy Project, which actively opposed construction of the Wolfcreek nuclear power plant.  The group marced at the state capitol, and John designed all the artwork for the group’s T-shirts, etc.

John still keeps artistically active with photography and collage work, and he is currently designing the set for the English Alternative Theater’s production of Sartre’s “No Exit”, which will be playing at the Lawrence Arts Center this month.  John’s artistic talent can also be seen here at the Mercantile in a variety of signs he is always creating for our end-cap displays.

In addition to his artwork,  John likes to read travelogs (particularly of Asia) in preparation for his eventual travels abroad, and he has a small flower and herb garden which he enjoys tending.  Mr. Lundmark recently added some duties from the cooler/freezer department to his regular stocking duties, so he keeps fairly busy throughout the entire store.  We certainly hope John’s future with the co-op is a productive and extensive as his past.

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9 Comments
  1. janice melland permalink

    Dan, It’s so exciting to see these wonderful works of John’s preserved . I think the still life/landscape/object section best captures his sense of composition and reverence for the “ordinary”. Such a tragedy that he experienced so little public recognition for his talent in his lifetime. It strikes me that some of the photos of Lawrence would be valued by Watkins Museum for their historical significance. So sad to see so many of John’s cohort already gone, but warming to see their pictures in the blossom of their lives….Clyde and Bill. What’s the story on the Yule Parade ?!!!?; is that Susan Hamilton? Thank you again for this labor of love, a true tribute to John. Janice

  2. Hello Janice,
    Yes, that is me, now Susan Hale. I wrote about the Fool Parade on the page dedicated to it.
    I too am so moved to see these photos of John, Lawrence and many friends from when I lived there.
    Thank you to all who have posted this tribute.
    Blessings,
    Susan

  3. Richard Linker permalink

    I just found this page today while looking for something of mine online. I thought at first that John had put it up but when I read “This site dedicated to his life and art” my heart sank. So I googled John and learned the very sad news of his death.

    I don’t know who put this blog up, but thank you. And if you have any further information on what happened to John in those last years, I hope you can tell me.

    Thanks, Richard

  4. Richard Linker permalink

    I just found this today and as a result have learned the terrible news of John’s death. Though we had been out of touch for many years, I have never forgotten John and have frequently thought of him over the years. I wish I could understand what happened.

    Thank you for putting this up.

    Richard

    • danielbbentley permalink

      Hello Richard. I’m sorry you had to learn of John’s untimely death this way. I tried to find you but no one I knew had your address. I was given John’s negatives and some left-over art work by John’s family after the memorial service that Kat and I planned….hence this web site.

      As per John’s last years. I don’t know the last time you saw him but he went through a very bad patch. He wasn’t able to hold down a job and he had some good ones….but he always seemed to do something to make it untenable. Likewise with living situations. Also he alienated his friends and even his family one by one till he was left with very few options. I helped him through several moves and other transitions until he basically used me up too. We were still on good terms but didn’t really see each other much. He was living in a small room up on Ohio street and eternally looking for a job. I think alcohol played a big part in his destructive behaviors. No one really knows what brought him to the decision to commit suicide but Derold was probably the last person to see him alive and in that conversation he had said to him “it just isn’t going to get any better, is it?” I guess he just didn’t want to suffer anymore. It is sad still to think of his massive talent and how he could never really harness it. Too bad he couldn’t have made a living off of it but somehow there was always self-sabotage involved in John’s activities. I don’t know what that was about.

      I plan more text and stories with this web-site but am managing four others so the text has taken a back-burner. You might also have known Bill Hatke, if so, take a look as billhatke.wordpress.com

      I hope you are well. Please add more comments.

      Daniel Bentley

      • Richard Linker permalink

        Hi Daniel – Thanks for getting back to me. This news was very difficult as it must have been for everyone who cared about John. Although I have not spoken with him in at least 15 years and probably more like 20 or heard anything about him, I never forgot John. I have never stopped loving him. I have been partnered with no one else since him. I had no idea he had alienated so many people. My last conversation with him was very unhappy as he told me he wished I hadn’t contacted him, even though he had told my friend Fran to tell me hello for him when I visited Lawrence that time. (You know Fran Beier, right?) I always knew John was uncomfortable, if that’s the right word, with…life? People? I knew he was in pain, but I never dreamed it would come to this. And self-sabotage, o yes. I used to beg him to let me buy him photography and art supplies and to let me show his work around, but he would never consent. I never understood that as he did, as you said, have a massive talent. I can still see him working on things, bringing objects right up to his face peering over his glasses when he had to see something close up. Do you remember that? It was so endearing. His meticulous attention to detail in all things – do you remember the shelves he made with knotted rope and boards? They were at that place he lived that was kind of out in the country. He moved there after I came to San Francisco, but the first few years I visited Lawrence after I moved, John still wanted to get together with me. He was living in that house.

        I showed a couple of the blog photos of him to a work friend. Her comment, “Wow, he’s beautiful.” Yes indeed. And loved by so many, even those of us he alienated who still love him. It’s a tragedy.

        Somehow, looking into all this today, I also came across Bill Hatke’s memorial page. Do you know how he died? Funny, I was always jealous of how much John liked Bill.

        I have added a couple of comments indicating that certain pictures were taken in my bedroom at Pooh Corner. I also have two poems about John, one from years ago and one from last year (as I said, I still think of him – smile) that I could put up if you like. Also is that John’s friend whose name I think is Lawrence – in the dumpster photos? And is that David Speakman in a couple of others? And, Susan, if you’re reading this, I remember you too.

        Sorry for the double post above.

        And I am well, Daniel, and hope you are too. And again, my thanks for doing this.

        Richard

  5. Amy Bethel permalink

    Hi, I’m John’s youngest sister. Thanks so much for putting this site up. I found it a while back, but have spent some time going through all the pictures. He had quite an eye, didn’t he? I wish he could have seen how beautiful he was, too, inside and out.

    I appreciate this site being here, for anyone that looks him up, hopefully will come across it. Had he ever wanted it, he probably could have had some fame and money from his art, and while that’s not the path he chose, I’m glad some of it can live on this way.

    We miss him dearly. He never alienated his family, but just chose to stop communicating with us, making the loss that much more profound. We lost another brother earlier this year, Paul died suddenly and unexpectedly, so we are grieving them both.

    I have some family pictures of him up at http://is.gd/hxv0v. If anyone has any others to share, we’d love to see them. I can be contacted at akb000 @ gmail.com also.

    Thank you

    Amy~

  6. Don Cotton permalink

    Thanks for creating this site. I was deeply saddened when I heard of John’s death. I worked with him on several photography projects and still have some of the negatives, including some that produced a few of the prints on this site. I’m trying to find out about the negatives from a series which featured me and another man. I would love to get high-resolution scans of them. I might have some photos of him you could post on this site as well.

  7. Here is a poem by Mark Larson written for John during their brief affair. If you’re offended by frank description, don’t read this.

    John I know you.
    Blue eyes I know you.
    You look steadily, directly into mine.
    Your head covered with, dark, short, bristly hair, I know you.
    Your voice that ranges from baritone to high tenor, I know you.
    You bring color and beauty around you:
    a glass collage, colored rocks in a jar, bottles on the windowsill,
    cobalt blue.
    You know exactly the love seat you want.
    You are definite in your preference of music: Baroque, Romantic, Classical. Definite too in your archetectural tastes.
    Pecicely and carefully you work, framing Danny’s art, painstaking and well, with hours of care.
    You are thorough and conscientious.
    You know you deserve to be respected and your anger rises when you aren’t. Now you are letting people know what you want and don’t want.
    You let me know. You are a friend.
    You greet birds and blue skys as friends too, your companions for your day.
    I know you, John.
    Buttocks supple, belly firm and hairy, small of your back hairy too.
    Skin smoothe on your shoulders.
    My hand slides, follows your contours.
    bony-hard chest, hairy to my delight.
    Thin arms; strength is in your legs, in movement, in standing on your own.
    Strong legs, moving legs, walking legs, hard, strong legs, standing on your own.
    I know you a little, John. I know you.
    Your cock curves up, a satyr’s prick, erect for pleasure.
    A man with balls, hairy chest and rough bearded face.
    I love you John, all together.

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